It’s About That Sticky Stuff – Honey…
When Fresh Honey comes out of the bee-hive, it is runny, & sticky. With time, all true pure honey will crystallize or granulate, but honey will never spoil. Honey was found in the Egyptian tombs, & it was still good. Do not refrigerate honey, because refrigeration will hasten crystallization. Honey can be frozen. It will remain liquid when it thaws out. To reliquify crystallized honey, heat it in a pan of warm water, microwave it, (keep temperatures under 110 degrees) or put it on the dashboard of your car on a hot day & watch it go liquid again!
There are many types of honey: Liquid Honey, Creamed Honey (whipped or spun honey which is finely crystallized honey), Comb Honey (which is right out of th ehive exactly how the bees made it. The comb (beeswax) is edible. Just pop some in your mouth & chew… It’s the original candy and chewing gum in one!. Try a chunk of comb spread on a piece of toast or waffle. It will melt right in – eat the whole thing. It not only tastes good, it is good for you too. Chunk Honey is honeycomb immersed in a jar of liquid honey. A sweet idea for a great gift.
Raising Honeycomb is considered to be the beekeeper’s art. It takes the bees much longer to make comb honey. All of the beeswax in honey comb, except for a starter strip one inch wide, is made by the bees. The bees must consume 2 to 3 pounds of honey (which is their food-by the way) to produce one pound of beeswax. In mid-summer, when the honey flow is at its peak, it takes the bees about two weeks to make one frame of honeycomb (3 to 6 pounds.)
Heavy: a 12 oz. jar equals an 8 oz measuring cup.
Sticky: when using honey in cooking, put oil in a cup or spoon so honey comes off easily
Gooey: slightly warmed honey is easier to work with in cooking.
Moisturizing: The bees mix the pollens and nectars and leave about 17% water. Foods prepared with honey stay moist & fresh longer than foods prepared with sugar.
Energizing: Honey contains the simple sugars, glucose & fructos. It is assimilated into your body quickly and naturally, thus it is often used as a source of quick energy.
Fat Free: Honey is a fat free food. In honey, there are 60 calories per tablespoon. Also there are traces of protein in honey (pollen floating in the honey provides the protein.) You will also find enzymes, vitamins & minerals in trace amounts in honey.
Eat it Raw: honey tastes best & is best for you when it is uncooked. At Marshall’s Farm, we never cook our honey. If the honey crystallized in a storage bucket, we have to warm the honey so it can be poured into jars for you. The honey is warmed by placing the bucket in a stainless steel water bath where the temperature gets no higher than 90 degreees. It is hotter than that in the beehive!!
How should honey be stored?
Honey should be kept in dry storage at room temperature. Honey should never be stored in the refrigerator as dong so actually accelerates crystallization, the natural process in which the liquid in honey becomes solid. Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even centuries! However, it may darken and lose its aroma and flavor over time.
Are all honeys the same?
No way! The color, taste and aroma of honey changes depending on the floral source that the bees visit. Dark honeys tend to have more minerals and enzymes than light. Mass-produced “megastore” brands are usually pasteurized and filtered, which destroys much of honey’s natural enzymes and pollen content. Using only raw or unfiltered honey assures you that all of the healthy benefits of the honey are present.
How is honey made?
The fascinating process of making honey begins when the bees feast on flowers, collecting the flower nectar in their mouths. This nectar then mixes with special enzymes in the bees’ saliva, an alchemical process that turns it into honey. The bees carry the honey back to the hive where they deposit it into the cells of the hive’s walls. The fluttering of their wings provides the necessary ventilation to reduce the moisture’s content making it ready for consumption. Honey is a mix of natural sugars (80%), water (18%) and minerals, vitamins, pollen, protein and amino acids (2%). Around 70% of honey’s natural sugar content is made up of fructose and glucose.
Is honey safe for young children and babies?
Do not feed honey or honey-containing products to infants less than one year of age. Their immune systems are not developed enough to handle some bacteria which naturally occurs in honey. Honey is a safe and healthful food for adults and children over the age of 12 months.
Can I substitute honey for sugar?
Yes, honey is a delicious, all-natural sweetener. When replacing sugar with honey in cooking and baking applications, follow these simple guidelines: To Cook with Honey: For sauces, marinades and salad dressings, substitute pure honey for up to half the granulated sweetener called for in your recipe (e.g., replace one cup of sugar with one-half cup of honey). To Bake with Honey: Use pure honey for up to half the granulated sweetener called for in your recipe. In addition, for each cup of honey used, reduce any added liquid by 1/4 cup, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and reduce oven temperature by 25°F. Honey has a higher sweetening power than sugar, so you can use less honey than sugar.
What is the shelf life of honey?
Honey is the only food on the planet that will never spoil, so it has an indefinite shelf life – scientists have found honey in the Egyptian pyramids that is over 2,000 years old! Even at this ripe age, this ancient honey was found to be completely nutritionally and enzymatically intact. Honey will crystallize as it ages, but this does not affect the properties of the honey in any way.
What is the relationship between color and flavor?
Generally, lighter honeys have a milder flavor and darker honeys have a more robust flavor. Even though many exceptions exist (for example, basswood is light in color but has a strong flavor; tulip poplar honey is dark-colored and mild tasting), color is used throughout the industry as a convenient measure of flavor and aroma.
What should I do if my honey crystallizes?
Almost all honey will crystallize after extended storage. This does not affect its quality. Re-liquefy by placing the container in warm water, and allowing to stand for a short period.