Honey Makes Food Better

November 13, 2013

While raking leaves this past weekend, a neighbor walking by stopped me to ask which one of our Bee America honeys would go best in her tea. With the weather taking a definite turn toward chillier temperatures, hot tea seemed just the thing after hours spent outside. However, there are so many more uses for the golden nectar than flavoring a pot of tea. Throughout history, humans (and lots of animals) have been eating honey for its nutritive sweetness. It can be used in everything from baking to cooking to homeopathy—yes, raw honey is rich in important phytonutrients and has valuable anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Our Bee America family’s philosophy is both simple and natural… everything is better and more importantly, sweeter with the addition of honey.

I’ve included five simple suggestions about how to incorporate honey into more of the foods you eat. Additionally, as the holidays approach people tend to think about baking and cooking traditional family recipes. Adding honey to these treasured classics will only enhance their universal appeal.

Honey Butter

Add a touch of honey to bread, potatoes or vegetables by including some scrumptious honey butter on the dinner table. It’s an especially delicious accompaniment to cornbread, biscuits, muffins, and pancakes. Whipping together a batch of honey butter is almost as sinfully easy as it is delicious: just mix four parts room-temperature, high quality butter with one part honey. For a smaller batch, beat together one stick of butter and 2 tablespoons of honey. Store leftovers (if there are any) in the refrigerator for future use.

Sauces and Dressings

Honey is the secret ingredient to a successful grilling sauce or salad dressing.

Instead of using a store-bought barbecue sauce, mix together honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, stone ground mustard and lemon juice for a deliciously tangy and sweet sauce. For your next salad, add a dollop of honey to balsamic vinaigrette to increase its delectability.

Soups

Honey is the magic ingredient for many types of soups including bisques, root vegetables, and curries. Worried about making your soup too sweet?  Well don’t. Honey can actually increase the complexity of a soup and balance out its spices. The addition of honey to certain vegetable soups like cauliflower or parsnip can neutralize their potential bitterness. Or, if a soup is a bit on the spicy side, honey—when drizzled on top—can create a mellow mouthful. The very thickness of honey is also an added bonus when making soup. It’s viscous property helps to add structure to soups so they do not have that “watered-down” taste.

Quick Breads

It seems that everyone has a favorite quick bread recipe. Unfortunately, most of them do not have honey as an ingredient. That is a shame, really, as honey is one way to ensure the creation of a moist bread that holds up on the second and even third day. All types of quick breads—from banana to pumpkin to zucchini to cranberry—can be improved by the sweetness and moisture-retentiveness of honey. As an added bonus, you will also discover that your bread stays fresher longer since honey acts as a natural preservative.

Homemade Granola and Bars

Honey’s lusciousness makes it the perfect glue for granola and moist and chewy snack bars. It is able to retain its moistness, stickiness and flexibility after baking. Honey retains its rich and flexible texture even after baking and thus, granola, trail mix bars and cereal bars are the perfect foodstuffs for mixing in a bit of natural sweetness. By making your own mixes and bars, you can control the amount of sugar and create healthier alternatives to store-bought honey. It’s so easy! Just mix together oats and/or other whole grains, honey, an egg, butter or oil, and dried fruit and nuts—based upon seasonal availability and your own cravings and bake to golden.

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