A thick, luscious sweetener, honey is the product of bees, made from the nectar they collect as they travel among various flowers.
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 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.
Store honey in an airtight container at room temperature. When stored at too cold a temperature, honey may crystallize.
To substitute honey for sugar
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 ratios, 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, yogurt, or sour cream). Reduce the oven temperature by 25F 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 the honey in a dark, dry place at room temperature. However, if it has crystallized, you can liquefy it by putting 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, and loosen or remove the top to allow steam to escape.
To prevent honey from sticking to a measuring cup or spoon
Coat 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 lid threads and the jar rim.
Fascinating facts about honey
To make a pound of honey, worker bees must forage nectar from millions of flowers. To communicate the location of nectar sources the bees perform several different and distinct dances.
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