Sunday, June 27, 2010
My uncle was a beekeeper so we always had fresh honey. The honey he extracted was very light in color and delicious. Because he and my aunt had their own honey business, we had honey on the table at nearly every meal. We used it in cookies, to make bread, on scones, hot rolls, mixed with lemon juice for colds, on peanut butter and honey sandwiches, spread on saltine crackers for a late night snack, to make our own flavored creamed honey and in honey butter. We almost always had honey butter in the fridge.
When I left home and tasted different honey varieties I realized I had been spoiled. All honeys are not created equal. There are a few fun facts about honey that I learned.
1) The darker the honey the stronger the flavor is, even to the point of a hint of bitterness. Honey made from clover is a totally different product than honey where the bees do not have access to clover.
2) Eating honey that is produced in the area where you live is healthier for you. It may help with seasonal allergies because honey contains a bit of pollen from plants. So if you eat honey that is made by bees in the area where you live, the honey will often act as an immune booster, reducing your allergy symptoms to local flowering plants. It's a good idea to take two to three spoonfuls each day for several months prior to pollen season
3) Honey is a natural antibiotic. If you are allergic to penicillin you are most likely allergic to honey. You probably will not have a severe reaction but usually just an upset stomach. Probably only if you eat the honey plain, not in baked goods.
4) Honey is the only food known to never spoil. It lasts forever.
5) Honey is antimicrobial because of its high sugar content, so it's great for treating cuts and burns to prevent scarring.
6) Honey not only tastes good but is good for you. You're getting vitamins B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Honey also contains antioxidants and vitamin C.
7)Many claim that honey helps them have healthier looking skin and hair. I admit I've never had a desire to put honey in my hair but apparently others have.
Obviously honey is a sweetener that is a great addition to storage because of it's versatility as well as the health and long term storage benefits of honey.
I am including some recipes for you to try using honey. If you would like the recipe and instructions for making flavored creamed honey, leave a message and I will get it to you.
2/3 C honey
2 cubes real butter, (slightly soft but still firm and cool)
¾ C powdered sugar
If you want your honey butter to be fluffy, make sure your butter is not too soft, just soft enough to mix with remaining ingredients. Put butter, honey and powdered sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer till all ingredients are nicely incorporated; scraping the bowl to make sure it is blended well. Store in the refrigerator but serve at room temperature with scones or hot bread.
Everyday Honey Cookies
½ c. butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. honey
2/3 c. flour
½ t. soda
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1 c. quick oats
1 c. coconut
1 t. vanilla
½ c. chopped nuts
Cream butter, sugar and honey together till light and fluffy. Add well beaten egg and blend together. Sift flour with dry ingredients; stir well. Add oats, coconut and vanilla. Add nuts. Dates, raisins or chocolate chips can also be added. Spread in greased 9x13 pan. Recipe can be doubled and baked in a 10x15 pan. Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes. Cut in bars. These are a lot like granola bars but they are softer and chewier.
Note: To bake with Honey: Use pure honey for up to half of the sugar in the recipe For each cup of honey used: reduce the liquid by 1/2 cup Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and reduce oven temperature by 25º.
To cook with honey: For sauces, marinades, and salad dressings substitute pure honey for up to half the sugar in the recipe.1 cup of sugar =1/3 to 1/2 cup honey. (If it is a stronger honey you would use 1/3 cup. If it is milder use 1/2 cup)