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World’s Oldest Food

January 27, 2010

Bees make honey from the nectar of flowers, which gives honey its delicious flavor. The nectar is taken back to the colony (hive) and turned into honey.  When bees are exposed to a particular nectar source, such as orange blossoms or the famous tupelo blossom then the honey can be called by that name.  A typical colony of honey bees has about 60,000 bees and can produce up to one hundred and fifty pounds of honey in one season.  Honey does not spoil as many foods do and will remain wholesome for decades.

Check out some dos and don’ts for using and storing honey below:

Tightly cover honey because it loses aroma and flavor and absorbs moisture when exposed to air. Honey also darkens slowly after many months, but is still useable. Keep honey in a warm dry place (where you would keep salt) at room temperature 70 – 80 degrees is best.

Crystallization is a natural physical change in honey and all forms of honey, including liquid honey, will crystallize naturally over a period of time. The crystals can be dissolved by placing the jar in warm water, or by microwaving 1 cup of honey in a microwave safe container on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Generally, storage temperatures from 45-60 degrees F. encourage crystallization.  Storage temperatures from 70-80 degrees F. discourage crystallization.

Honey retains moisture to a greater extent than sugar. Substituting honey for sugar gives a longer shelf life to cakes and cookies. Goods baked with honey remain moist longer than those baked with sugar.

Honey caramelizes at a low temperature and causes baked products to brown quickly. Use low to moderate oven temperature for baking. Usually bake at 25 degrees less than suggested in the recipe to avoid over browning.

When baking with honey, remember the following:

Reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.

Add l/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used.

Reduce oven temperature by 25°F to prevent over-browning.

Because of its high fructose content, honey has a higher sweetening power than sugar. This means you can use less honey than sugar to achieve the desired sweetness.

Visit the National Honey Board Site

See the Many Benefits from Honey

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