As we enter the harvest season, prior to the holidays, it’s natural to consider honey as a sweetening agent in place of granulated sugar. In many recipes, honey is an absolute essential. It’s important to learn about honey; how to use it, store it, and keep it useful.

Honey need not be imported to be good, though honey from different regions of the world have unique flavors.  When shopping for it, determine what flower influenced its production. For example, if bees gathered pollen from lavender, then the honey will have a mild lavender scent and flavor, and so too from orange blossoms, or other sources. Honeys range from light clover honey to very dark buckwheat honey. Read the label before you buy and know your honeys.
Honey has both culinary and medicinal uses. It may be applied to small open wounds, where its natural antibacterial properties will prevent infections, sealing out bacteria. Dab a little on a bandage and you’re set to treat burns, scrapes, and cuts!

The natural enzymes in honey produce a substance like hydrogen peroxide, which will help to disinfect wounds. It can also help to reduce swelling.

1. Honey is one of the few food low in pesticidal contamination. Contaminated bees die before they reach the hive. Honey is also free of preservatives, artificial flavors, colors and will not mold.

2. Honey will not freeze, so store it almost anywhere in a solid container with a tight lid. If crystallized, place honey jar in pan of hot water. Don’t heat very hot as flavor and nutrition changes dramatically. Also,honey that has been diluted with water will ferment. Fermented honey is a medieval drink known as Dry Mead.

3. Freezing bread with honey used as a sweetening agent is not advised, since honey deteriorates when frozen. This can cause “mushiness” upon thawing.

4. Always mix honey thoroughly with other recipe ingredients before turning mixture into baking pans. This will prevent a too moist, over sweetened layer from collecting on the top.

Make it a rule to combine honey with the liquid ingredients to assure complete distribution in the mixture.

5. When using honey is a substitution for sugar in standard recipes, a general rule is to reduce the amount of another liquid ingredient by 1/2 cup for each cup of honey used to replace sugar.

6. Honey can generally replace 1/2 of the required sugar without changing the proportions of the other ingredients in the recipe. Honey absorbs and retains moisture, thus retarding the drying out and staling of baked goods. This is especially important when you want to bake in advance.

7. Be sure to keep honey covered. When left uncovered, honey picks up other odors and loses its own aroma. Honey is storage usually gets darker in color and stronger in flavor, but remains useful as ever. So if you plan to store honey it may be better to start out with a light colored honey.

8. Pure honey usually becomes granulated as it ages, or if stored at cold temperatures. Granulation is a natural aging process and does not affect the honey except for color and flavor. The honey is not bad or wasted if granulated so don’t discard it — repair it.

To bring granulated honey back to liquid form, simply place the container of honey in a pan of warm water until the granules disappear. If more heat is required, keep the container off the bottom of the pan of water, by putting a rack under it, and setting the pan over low heat. Be careful not to overheat granulated honey, since too much heat causes the honey to change color and flavor. It’s easier to degranulate smaller amounts of honey.

Keywords: Information, Accompaniments, American, Honey, Spreads, Condiments, Jams and Jellies

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