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By Tom Meade
Tips for Cooking
When measuring honey, moisten the measuring cup with water or oil to prevent sticking.
Substitute 2/3 to ¾ cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar in recipes.
When baking with honey, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
Add two tablespoons of honey to a cake mix to make the cake moist and less crumbly.
Use dark honey, such a buckwheat honey, as a substitute for molasses and brown sugar in baked beans.
Please do not store honey in the fridge. Store it at room temperature.
When honey crystallizes naturally, immerse the jar in warm water to liquefy it again.
Please do not feed honey to children younger than a year old. Though honey is a “health food,” it may harm infants whose immune systems have not developed.
Honey adds a delicious new dimension to beverages, salads, main dishes, vegetables and desserts, and it’s the healthy alternative to refined sugar.
Honey comes in an infinite number of varietals, like wines.
Each has its own distinct aroma and flavor, depending on the kind of flowers where the bees were gleaning nectar.(Supermarket honey generally has a consistently bland flavor because it’s blended.)
- The nectar from spring maple-tree blossoms produces a zingy dark-amber honey.
- Clover honey is yellow and pleasantly smooth with a floral “nose.”
- Buckwheat honey is as dark as motor oil and has a real bite.
- On some of the Greek islands, honey bees glean nectar almost exclusively from thyme blossoms, and their honey is spicy.
It’s a treat to sample and compare honey at farmers’ markets and local food co-ops.
Like wines, certain honey varietals are better than others for certain recipes.
Beekeepers Share Recipes
In central Massachusetts, members of the Worcester County Beekeepers Association have been swapping recipes for generations.
The oldest bee-keeping group in the country, it celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2000 by publishing One Hundred Years of Cooking With Honey. It’s one of those wonderful ring-bound cookbooks that contain so many family recipes that cooks cherish. Here are some variations to try!
Thyme and Honey Lamb Chops
Here’s a variation of the beekeepers’ recipe for pork chops. If there is a Mediterranean grocery store nearby, it may have Greek thyme honey which is in a class of its own.
- Enough lamb chops for everyone
- Enough honey to coat both sides of all the chops
- A small bunch of fresh thyme
- Olive oil to coat the bottom of a baking dish
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Dip the chops in honey, sprinkle with thyme leaves. Bake about 30 minutes or less, depending on thickness of chops. Turn once while baking. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.
Honey Ice Cubes
On a hot summer day, honey is delicious in ice tea, so why not put it in cubes for tea and other beverages. The Worcester beekeepers don’t recommend it, but honey ice cubes are great in a light pilsner-style beer to make a version of the British summer drink, shandy.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 cups very hot water
- 2 T. or more lemon juice
Pour in an ice-cube tray and freeze. In a glass, pour beverages over the cubes
In Vermont folk medicine, there is a tonic that is a sure thirst quencher while working outdoors:
Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 2 tablespoons of apple-cider vinegar and 8 ounces of water. Pour over ice.
Honeyed acorn squash
We have added more honey and butter, instead of margarine, to this beekeepers’ recipe.
- 3 acorn squash
- 5 T. melted butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
Pre-heat the over to 375 degrees. Cut squash in halves and remove seeds and pulp. Bake cut-side-down in ½ inch of water for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid from the pan, and turn the squashes upright, and pour some of the honey mixture into each half. Bake another 15 minutes or until tender.
Honey Pecan Pie
- 3 eggs
- 1 T. sugar
- 2 T. flour
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 cup honey
- 1 T. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 cup pecan halves
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put all the ingredients, except the pecans, into a blender, and blend for 15 seconds at medium speed. Empty the mixture into a crust-lined, 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with pecans, and bake for 45 minutes, until the filling is set.
This recipe, also with cider vinegar, is from the Worcester County beekeepers.
1/2 cup honey
2 T. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp. poppy seeds
Combine and shake well. Store in a jar, and dip any fruit into it.