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October 16, 2009 7:31 PM   Subscribe

What do I do with bee pollen??

I bought some bee pollen at the farmers market last weekend. And despite being a little delicious over yogurt, I'm not sure what the point of it is. Google searches don't seem to help much and I've found no way to find exactly how I should be consuming it. And why I get gross burps later in the day after eating it. Does anyone have any knowledge about bee pollen to share with me?
posted by Unred to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
From website... the info you are most interested in is the last question, but I couldn't resist pasting all the info:)

"How do bees bring back pollen?
Pollen is gathered, at random, from plants when bees brush their legs against the flower’s interior where it clings to the bees legs so that one can actually see little yellow, red, green, brown, black, purple (pollen comes in all different colors as the flowers are all different) pollen seeds – their legs look like they are wearing puffed up colored socks. The gathered pollen is sticky.

How does the bee keeper get the pollen?
The bee keeper sets up a ‘trap entrance’ which brushes off the collected pollen from their legs when they enter through the grate – it is then gathered in a small tray. The bee is not harmed nor is it bothered. A bee keeper would only set up a certain number of hives for gathering this pollen.

Does pollen make honey?
No. Bees make honey from Nectar - the juice of the plant. Pollen is the 'sticky dust' on the flower which is brushed off as the bee passes from flower to flower (pollination) - these gather on her legs as little pellets/granules (sacks) and the co lour varies from orange to yellow, black to purple, green to brown.... As the flowers are all different. Pollen gathering by the bee is intentional. She goes from plant to plant gathering the pollen in her mouth, then compacts it and puts the pollen onto her legs thus making pollen balls which are very visible as she flies back to her hive.

Do you steal the pollen from the bees?
No - but we do take some of it. The pollen itself is the bee's protein so it would not be wise to deprive them of it. Bee keeping is a symbiotic relationship – we both survive through each other. The bees do not use all that is collected so on selective hives and only at selective times do we use a 'catcher' which is placed at the hive's entrance - the pollen pellets/granules are then brushed off the bee's legs into a tray as she enters. This is a simplified explanation but it serves to answer the question.

How is pollen good for you and what do I look for when buying it?
Some report that it gives them energy. One should look for a variety of color as all flowers/plants are different.

How would I use pollen if I were to buy it?
Sparingly, a little at a time, to begin with - the reason being to see if you will have an adverse reaction such as stomach aches, heat flashes, rash, closing of the throat, increase in blood pressure. One begins with a few pellets each day to 'test' one’s reaction then increases to teaspoons etc. Pollen can be taken with jam /yogurt /in cereal/ tea/ eaten straight (though it does taste pasty)... ALL pollen needs to be kept in the freezer - shelf life 4 months then it gets 'hairy' which means time to throw it out - being kept IN the freezer will not 'block' freeze it so do not worry about the ability to spoon it out. There is none."

These guys are in the Los Angeles area, are successful bee keepers, and sell raw honey at local Farmer's Markets. Email them if you have any other questions - they will answer.

Most likely, it will be Erika, Klaus' wife, who responds to questions. I've met tons of "bee folk," but never anyone as knowledgeable as Klaus and Erika, FWIW.

- Cheers!
posted by jbenben at 7:54 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just eat a spoonful of it straight every now and then.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:59 PM on October 16, 2009

Absolutely! Bee pollen cured my seasonal airborn allergies! I first took it when living in California, a bit at first - a few grains, a few more, a few more at a time - throughout a day, in order to ascertain that I wasn't allergic. With no allergic reactions appearing, that is, I had no trouble breathing, my throat didn't swell...I took about a teaspoon, like you, in yogurt, several times a day over the course of a couple of weeks. Voila! Complete relief from seasonal allergies!

Returning to my home state of Michigan the next summer my familiar and severe allergies flared up again. I dispatched to a health food store for local bee pollen and, again, complete relief! This time within 24 hours!

I know others who have also found complete relief from allergies. (And one friend who found he was allergic. His throat swelled. He'd taken more than one ought at first, and suffered this dangerous reaction. I'm not cautious!) It has to be local to where you are in order to be effective, as my experience each summer visit to Michigan so clearly showed. And you don't have to keep taking/eating it. The cure is near permanent. Every year or two I find I need just a spoonful or two to re-activate the 'cure'.

Another reasons to take/eat it is that it's highly nutritious. At least that's what I've heard.

But it's effectiveness as an allergy my own first-hand experiences: priceless!
posted by sparrowdance at 8:06 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I sprinkle about a teaspoonful of it on my cereal. But you can probably put it on or in anything you like.
posted by Taurid at 9:54 PM on October 16, 2009

For a more nerdy use, you can use pollen to diffract light. If you spread/sprinkle it thinly over a clear sheet of plastic (like an overhead projector acetate, or cling film stretched taut), blow off the excess and any clumps then look through it, you should be able to see a colourful halo around any light sources. Incandescent bulbs should give you a full rainbow effect, and the colours you see around your fluorescent bulbs will give you an idea of what parts of the spectrum they're throwing out.
posted by metaBugs at 5:13 AM on October 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Sorry to disappoint, but bee pollen is useless for treating allergies. The fantasy is that bee pollen will allow you to train your body not to react to pollen by eating the pollen that makes you ill. The reality is that allergies are caused by wind-pollinated plants, which have tiny pollen spores, and the pollen spores of bee-pollinated plants are too large to penetrate your membranes and cause a histamine reaction. Also, eating something to which you have a respiratory reaction would have no effect anyway. The pollen isn't going to enter your blood or anything - it will just be digested. There are many reasons one's seasonal allergies would improve spontaneously - that's why they're called "seasonal."

I beg forgiveness for the derail. I have a thing about medical misinformation.
posted by shifafa at 9:38 PM on October 18, 2009

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