CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Honey is an ooey-gooey, drippy, sticky gift from nature. Bees work tirelessly to make the sweet stuff, then we steal their reward. What a racket. No wonder the bees are disappearing.
Nevertheless, honey is a sweet staple in homes around the world. Honey has been used in food, medicine and cosmetics for thousands of years. It's been called the world's perfect food, because of its versatility and seemingly eternal shelf life. Thousands of people and thousands of years can't be wrong.
The sugar content of honey is comparable to white sugar, but nutritionally, honey far outweighs sugar. Unlike processed cane sugars, honey contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. We all want more bang for our buck. Honey is the way to go.
Many people swear by using local honey to fight seasonal allergies. "Local" takes on different meanings, depending on who you ask, but the general consensus is within 50 miles of where you live. Local honey contains pollen that's specific to an area, hence its allergy-fighting properties. Another benefit of local honey is that it's generally raw, meaning it went straight from hive to jar. Heating and filtering honey removes the pollen and enzymes that are thought to relieve allergies.
Honey from the grocery store is heated and processed in order to give it a longer shelf life as a liquid. If honey is kept away from humidity, it will remain in its viscous state indefinitely. If your raw honey becomes crystallized, simply put the honey jar in a pot of hot water until it becomes liquid again.
Next time you buy honey, try to get a jar straight from the beekeeper. If it's unfiltered it will have bits of stuff suspended in the golden goo. That's what real, raw honey looks like. Hopefully it will include a chunk of honeycomb. Serve the comb on your next cheese, fruit and cracker platter. So fancy.
Honey keeps baked goods moist, making it a great alternative to sugar when baking cookies and quick breads ahead of time. Replace 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup honey, and reduce the other liquids by 1/4 cup.
Pumpkin honey bread
1 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In large bowl, cream honey with butter until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Sift together remaining ingredients. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Divide batter equally between two well-greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pans for 10 minutes; invert pans to remove loaves and allow to finish cooling on racks.
Adapted from honey.com
Honey mustard-glazed salmon fillets
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets
Salt and ground black pepper
In an oiled shallow baking dish, combine lemon juice, Dijon, honey and lemon zest. Stir together. Season both sides of salmon fillets with salt and pepper, and place in the baking dish. Flip salmon to coat in glaze. Bake immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 10 minutes or until fish is fork-tender.
Honey-pepper bacon pops
12 wooden skewers
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) package thick-cut bacon
Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes. Drain just before threading on bacon. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. For honey-pepper, in small saucepan warm honey to liquid; stir in soy sauce, five-spice powder and pepper. Set aside. Thread each bacon slice on a skewer; lay kabob on rack of broiler pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Brush generously with honey-pepper, turning to coat each side. Return to oven. Bake 5 minutes longer or until crisp.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
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