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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Raw Honey

One of the first things I do when trying a new recipe is to adjust the sweetener. If a recipe calls for granulated sugar, it is replaced with either organic sugar in a lesser amount if possible or honey. One of the reasons for this is reducing heavily processed foods where possible. The other reason is flavour. White granulated sugar adds only sweetness, no flavour and is heavily refined. Honey is by far my favourite sweetener for cooking or baking. Not only does it add flavour but also health benefits.

Raw Honey

I buy my raw honey from a local beekeeper several times a year. Local honey is important because there is less chance of developing an allergy to it. The best time to buy honey is in the summer and fall months when it is freshest. The colour of the honey will range of a pale amber to a deep golden amber depending on what flowers the bees collected the nectar from. The darker the honey the stronger the flavour. If buying honey in the stores, look for 100% pure.

Honey is about 25% sweeter than sugar because it has a higher fructose content. It is easier to digest than white sugar. To substitute 1 c white sugar use 2/3 c honey. Not only do you get more flavour but you save calories as well. Honey adds moisture that gives a nice texture to baked goods. When baking with honey reduce the oven temperature by 15ºC (25ºF).

Store honey in air tight containers to prevent the honey from absorbing moisture from the air in a cool, dry place. I like to vacuum seal in 500 ml mason jars for storage. Honey will keep almost indefinitely but will crystallize during storage. This does not harm the honey as it a natural property. If this happens, simply warm the container in hot water for 15 minutes. Do not microwave as this will alter the flavour. Store bought liquid honey is pasteurized to prevent crystallization whereas raw honey is not so it will crystallize sooner.

Raw honey is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal as well as having anti-tumour and anti-oxident properties. As a food, honey provides a lot of health benefits. Honey's antiseptic properties have been used for wound healing for centuries. The darker the honey the better it is for burn healing. Honey can be used in homemade skin treatments like facials.

Warning: Honey or honey- containing products should not be fed to infants under the age of one. Honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores and toxin that can cause infant botulism. Honey is safe for those over the age of one year.

With all the benefits honey has to offer, this is one staple that should be on your shelves!


2 food lovers commented:

tweezle said...

EXCELLENT article! I always enjoy stopping by and seeing your preserving articles. You are a true inspiration to me. Thank you :)

Garden Gnome said...

Thank-you for you lovely complements tweezle! I'm glad you are enjoying my blog.

Take care :)