Cooking with Honey

Cooking with Honey

A thick, luscious sweetener, honey is the product of bees, made from the nectar they collect as they travel among various flowers. When choosing honey, keep in mind that the flavor and color of honey is determined by the type of blossom from which the nectar is collected. Generally, the darker the color, the stronger the flavor.

Commercial honey producers usually blend different varieties of honeys for a consistent color and flavor. Wildflower honeys are not blended but are made from the nectar of several different flowers. Single-blossom honeys are made when beekeepers position their hives so that the bees collect nectar from just a single variety of flower. These honeys tend to have the most pronounced flavors.

When storing, keep honey in an airtight container at room temperature. If stored at too cold a temperature, honey may crystallize. Honey could be substituted for sugar and for general cooking, substitute 1 cup honey for 1 1/4 cups sugar and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup. For baking, use the same ratio, but replace no more than half the amount of sugar in the recipe. Also add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients if the recipe has no baking soda, baking powder or other acid (such as citrus, yoghurt or sour cream). Reduce the oven temperature by 25oF to prevent over-browning. For jams, jellies, or candies, use the same ratios as for general cooking, but slightly increase the cooking temperature to allow the extra liquid to evaporate.

To  prevent honey from crystallizing, store them in a dark, dry place at room temperature. To liquefy crystallized honey, simply put the container in a pot of hot water until the crystals dissolve. Or microwave the honey container on medium power for 5 seconds if cloudy or 10 seconds if crystallized solid. Make sure that the container doesn't have any metal parts or loosen or remove the top to allow steam to escape.

You could prevent honey from sticking to a measuring cup or spoon by coating the utensil with cooking spray or dip it in oil before measuring. Likewise, to avoid sticky lids on honey jars, wipe the lid and rim of the jar clean with a hot, damp cloth. Then spray some cooking spray on both the lids threads and the jar rim.

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