A healthy natural sweetener, even if you don’t love the taste, you can still find some interesting uses for honey. It is much more than a sweet treat for the table. How much do we really know about this magical substance? Sure, most people think it tastes great straight off the spoon. However, that’s only the beginning.
There are so many things you can do with this special product, it’s hard to know where to begin. Therefore, let’s start at the beginning with a quick look at what honey really is and where it comes from.
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What is Honey?
Honey is a sweet liquid substance that is made by bees mainly from the nectar of plants. It is a natural sugar composed of mainly hexose sugars, including glucose and fructose. Though it may contain bits of pollen, pollen is not used to make honey.
Unfortunately, due to the mystery of this process, people sometimes get the wrong idea about what it really is.
Worker bees bring nectar back to the hive, in a special organ -called a “honey stomach” or crop. This has lead to some misconceptions and the rumor that honey is bee vomit? It is certainly not bee vomit as no real digestion takes place in the crop.
Things You Can Do With Honey
Honey plays a larger role in our everyday lives than you may think. In addition to being used in the baking industry and in many cereals, cookies and snacks it appear in other products too.
Uses Include :
- in special forms (liquid, creamed, comb)
- as monofloral varieties with special flavor
- in many food recipes
- for natural health products such as salves
- in many skin and beauty products
- a healing agent in wound care
Honey is Edible in Several Forms
Okay, raise your hand if you have ever had a chunk of honey-filled comb fresh from the hive! Or maybe, you like to enjoy a big spoon right from the jar?
Yes, eating it in liquid form is the most common way it is used…but there is more so much more!
One of the most natural ways to enjoy this treat from bees is to eat it right in the comb! Yes, honeycomb is edible and creates a tasty food experience.
Biting down on a sweet chunk of comb is a pleasant experience. But, it can be combined with other foods for a special treat. There are many interesting ways to enjoy eating honeycomb too.
After your snack, it’s time to safely store your honeycomb leftovers for later. They will keep for a long time.
In some regions, you may find specialty honey made from one predominate nectar source. One popular example Sourwood Honey . Other varieties include: Clover, Orange Blossom and Tupelo just to name a few.
Crystallized and Creamed Forms
Most jars of real raw honey crystallize over time. This is a natural process and does not mean your it has gone bad.
However, some folks do not prefer the gritty texture. No fear, you can decrystallize honey back to its liquid state easily.
For others, they enjoy a smooth spreadable crystallized product. Also called, whipped, spun or creamed, you can make your own creamed honey to enjoy.
If you don’t care for the crystallized version, be sure to store your honey properly to slow this natural process.
For some people, freezing honey is a viable option as it prevents crystallization and does not cause the it to darken in color.
Create Infused Honey
You can create many special infusions using various herbs and spices.
A local favorite is Hot Honey. You can adjust the “heat” in the recipe by the number of peppers used. Make your own Jalapeno Honey, but don’t blame me if you burn your tongue!
Cooking With Honey
Honey is a great addition to many popular recipes and can be used to create some great healthy snacks.
You can often substitute it for some of the sugar in your recipes. Because it is sweeter than sugar, you may end up using less of it.
From main dishes to the best tasting cookies, candies and more, you can find a lot of easy honey recipes.
Healthy Ways to Use Honey
Honey has long been used in the treatment of illness. In fact, it is one of the earliest natural remedies.
If you feel that next cold or cough coming on, you may already have something in the pantry to help ease the discomfort. This tasty honey and cinnamon drink won’t cure you but it will your cold symptoms.
Another wise use of raw honey during cold season is to pair it with lemon. When a really nasty sore throat arrives, try this – infuse honey with lemon and ginger.
I also enjoy making my own cough drops. They provide some symptom relief and I can pronounce every ingredient in the recipe.
Honey is a common ingredient in many natural remedies used by people for hundreds of years. Scientists may not confirm these effectiveness but don’t tell that to the folks who swear by them.
Honey for Skin Care
Honey has many attributes that aid in having healthy skin. It is antibacterial, antifungal and is a humectant that seals in moisture.
A common ingredient in salves and creams, it is often used for treatment of minor burns or scrapes. You can make your own honey salve with Aloe to have on hand for minor burns.
Looking for a nice homemade bath product? Enjoy the gentle exfoliation and moisturizing properties of this sea salt scrub . Make a batch of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt Honey Body Scrub to use and share.
Honey can even be added to soap making recipes. This one allows you to make soap without lye. Make your own Goat Milk & Honey Soap.
You may be surprised to learn that this popular bath item can contain honey: Honey Bath Bombs. In this tutorial, I used honey powder but you can use a small amount of liquid as well.
Where to Buy Real Honey?
Food marketing is a tricky business. Natural and raw may not mean what you think it does. The more you know the better decisions you can make.
Real, pure, raw, natural-not every word means what you think in regards to products being sold. The easiest way to buy a pure product is to find a local beekeeper or co-op in your area. If that is not possible, read the label very carefully.
Is it better to buy light or dark – does it really matter? In fact, honey color can give you a hint about the nectar source used to make that particular jar. However, it does not mean that one variety is better than the other.
Ways to Enjoy Honey
Wow-that’s a lot of information about honey and this is just the beginning. This gift from the bees can be used in so many ways in the kitchen and beyond. You can even make your own honey powder to sprinkle on ice cream.
Don’t confine that jar of sweetness to food recipes only, it has a lot more to offer. This bee produced product has a story to tell and something to share with everyone.