Honey is a sweetener that provides natural energy, a balm for dry or irritated skin and can be used as an aid for coughs. It was used in days past as a first aid for cuts and injuries as well. It is a natural product that can't be duplicated by man.
Bees are the driving force that bring in the nectar from the flowering plants, gathering it to make food for themselves and when collected from hives by beekeepers, it is a sweetener for young and old. It was once put into a young baby's drinking water, but this is discouraged now because of allergies.
There are more than 300 varieties of honey in the United States, ranging greatly in flavor and appearance, as noted by the National Honey Board.
INTERESTED IN BEES — Lindsay Dowdle, a member of the Green Valley 4-H Club in Harrison County, displays a frame of bees for a beekeeping project. She received a first in the county and was named to compete on the state level. The project got her interested in attending Harrison County Beekeepers Association meetings, and she now has five hives. Dowdle was stung four times, all at the same time, when she wore dark clothing to check a hive. Bees associate this color with a bear and become vindictive. -- Esther McCoy
It is a product that can nourish the body inside and out. Used as a simple sweetener, it can add balance to any dish, enhancing a variety of foods. It contains 17 grams of carbs per tablespoon and is 64 calories.
Honey can be added to various foods to make a wonderful spread for toast, muffins or a dip for fruits. Try mixing equal parts of peanut butter and honey together or honey and light cream cheese in equal amounts. Another tasty dip is 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons strawberry or apricot jam and 4 ounces cream cheese.
Staying hydrated is one of the most important tools for an athlete. Simply add honey to a bottle of water for an energy boost before exercise, during a workout and after exercise. Consuming honey during a workout helps muscles stay nourished longer and delays fatigue, versus not using any aid or supplement.
A teaspoon or two of honey can be taken to soothe and relieve the irritation of a cough. It is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin and makes an inexpensive facial mask by applying warm honey to the face, letting it remain for 10 minutes and rinse with cool water.
Honey is sweet enough in itself, but it can be made into a caramel candy that is very tasty. This is from the National Honey Board.
1 cup butter
2 cups honey
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Finely chopped almonds, optional
Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with plastic wrap; set aside. Melt butter in medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add honey, cream and brown sugar; mix well. Cook over medium high heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling, stirring frequently, until a candy thermometer registers 250 to 255 degrees, about 45 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Let cool in refrigerator before cutting into individual caramels with a very sharp knife. Roll in chopped nuts or coconut, if desired, and wrap each individually in clear plastic wrap. Store, tightly wrapped in refrigerator for up to one month. Caramels will be soft at room temperature and firm if kept chilled.
Honey gives a nice glaze to pork chops and chicken. There are grilled oranges served alongside the meat for added zest. This is a recipe from Sarah Mastracco.
You can watch Sarah make this dish at marthastewart.com/orange-honey-pork.
Orange and Honey Glazed Pork Chops
2 oranges, 1 zested and juiced, 1 cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup honey
Salt and pepper
4 bone-in pork chops, about 8 ounces each and 1 inch thick
5 sprigs rosemary
In a bowl, whisk together orange zest and juice, vinegar, honey and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place pork, orange wedges and rosemary in a zip-top bag and coat with marinade. Refrigerate pork at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove pork, orange wedges and rosemary from marinade; transfer pork and oranges to a wire rack set on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Season pork with salt and pepper. Transfer marinade to a small saucepan, simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Heat broiler, with rack in upper third. Broil pork and oranges 3 minutes, then flip pork, brush with reduced marinade and add rosemary. Broil until pork is lightly charred and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Brush with more reduced marinade and serve. Makes four servings at 425 calories and 11 fat grams per serving.
An energy bar recipe from the National Honey Board calls for almonds, honey and dried fruit. It is put into a blender, spread in a baking dish and cut into bars. There is no baking. Serves six.
1 cup whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup dried cherries
3 tablespoons coconut
6 dates, pitted
In a high-powered blender, blend honey, cherries, coconut, almonds and dates. Blend on high and stir as needed. Spray an 8-by-8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Put mixture in baking dish and flatten out bars with a piece of plastic wrap on top to prevent sticking. Refrigerate for 2 hours and cut into bars.
Note: Dried cranberries or blueberries could be used in place of the dried cherries.
This is a dry mix that can be put into a canning or decorative jar with an airtight lid and given as a present with directions for completing the making of the bread, along with a jar of honey. It is from the National Honey Board.
Cherry-Berry Bread Mix
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup milk
12 tablespoons butter or margarine, 1 1/2 sticks, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
To make the mix, in a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats, cherries and cranberries; mix well. Transfer to resealable plastic bag, a decorative jar with lid or other airtight container. Store in a cool dry place.
To make the breads, heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray four 6-by-3 3/4-inch disposable aluminum foil mini loaf pans with no-stick cooking spray. Place mix in large bowl. In small bowl, combine honey, milk, butter and eggs with wire whisk or fork. Mix well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Pour into pans, dividing evenly. Bake 22 to 28 minutes or until tops of bread feel firm when touched and wooden pick inserted near center has but a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake. Cool in pans on wire rack. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Store at room temperature for up to two days. For longer storage, label and freeze.
For variations, raisins can be substituted for dried cherries and increase the ground cinnamon to 1 1/2 teaspoons mix. To make two larger loaves, lightly spray two 8 1/4 by 4 1/4-inch disposable foil baking pans with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center has but a few moist crumbs clinging. For mini cakes, lightly spray six mini-bundt pan cups with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly between cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 23 to 27 minutes. Remove from cups and cool on wire rack.
The bread can be drizzled with an orange glaze made with 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel and enough orange juice, 3 to 4 teaspoons, to reach glazing consistency. Or a whipped topping can be made by beating 1/2 cup whipping cream with 1 tablespoon honey and 2 to 3 teaspoons orange liqueur or orange juice, if desired. Beat with chilled electric mixer beaters on low or with a whisk until soft peaks form. Or cut the bread into slices and put a dollop of the whipped cream on top. These mini loaves can be given as gifts in a decorative basket as well.
This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and uses a portion of honey in the whipped egg white portion of the recipe.
Honey Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 cups egg whites, 10 to 12 large
11 /2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup sifted cake flour or sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar
In an extra-large mixing bowl, allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift powdered sugar and flour together three times; set aside. Adjust baking rack to lowest position in oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Add cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until soft peaks form. Pour honey in a thin stream over the egg white mixture and gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until stiff peaks form. Sift one-fourth of the flour mixture over beaten egg whites; fold in gently. Repeat folding in remaining flour mixture by fourths. Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Gently cut through the batter, removing large air pockets.
Bake on the lowest rack for 40 to 45 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake; cool in the inverted pan. Loosen sides of cake from pan. Remove to a plate. Makes 12 servings at 181 calories and 0 fat grams.
The Jefferson County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogy Society is holding an "Ancestor Recipe Contest" at its chapter picnic to be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 14 at Wintersville Park.
If you have a great recipe, mix it up and submit it for judging.
Contact Judy Schmidt for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(McCoy can be contacted at email@example.com)