Honey is one of the oldest and purest forms of natural sweetener. Even Ancient Egypt and Romans used honey for its medical properties due to its antibacterial ability to help heal wounds. (Desert Creek Honey). Now and days we see honey in little plastic bears on grocery shelves, but with over 300 plus plants in the world, there also is that many honey variations. This article is just but a brief showing of ten of the most known honeys as well as giving hints on how to cook with honey.
Each type of honey can be process in five different ways. While each holds a different texture, the flavor and characteristics of the honey have not changed and are often intensified. Those types of honey processing include:
- Comb Honey: Cut right from the beehive. Honey is stored within the beeswax. It should be noted that the beeswax is safe to consume.
- Liquid Honey: This is the honey that is seen most often one the store shelves. It is produced when the beekeeper takes the caps off the honeycomb and places it in a centrifuge. This machine spins and extracts the honey to be put into jars (and even the little bears).
- Chunk Honey: A piece of the honey comb, with the caps removed, is placed into a jar and honey is poured in around the comb.
- Granulated or Creamed Honey: One part finely ground sugared honey and nine parts of liquid honey is blended and stored until it has the consistency of butter.
- Sugared Honey: This is honey that has been allowed to harden and crystallize. This method is often used when there is too much honey being produced as it allows a longer storage life for the honey.
Given over the 300 plus flavors, that will give a combination of over 1,500 styles – that is a lot of sweetness. The more well known honeys from around the world include:
- Alfalfa: Mild and near white. This is a good table honey. Often is it mixed with other honeys to give a different taste.
- Blackberry: Can range in color from near white to a deep reddish brown. This honey carried a bit more flavor than clover and has a hint of the fruit.
- Buckwheat: Ranges is color from purple to black. A strong honey, boarding on the flavor of molasses. A highly pronounced flavor.
- Clover: Most well known and most popular (this is the one you find mostly in those little bears). Has a mild flavor.
- Dandelion: One of the brightest yellow honeys on the market and keeping with its bright color, it also has a strong flavor.
- Eucalyptus: The colors vary from light to dark. This too has a strong flavor, but also holds a hint of a slight medicinal aftertaste.
- Maple: Colors vary from light to dark amber and much like the syrup has a good flavor. A good sugar substitute for maple syrup.
- Raspberry: a light, almost white honey with a hint of the fruit itself within the honey.
- Saw Palmetto: Widely popular in Florida, this honey is a deep yellow and flavor to match.
- Tupelo: This honey is a light amber color and holding a mild flavor. It is interesting to note that out of all of the honey varieties this is the only honey that cannot be granulated.
Each honey gives a different taste and mouth feel while still being sweet.
- Honey is sweeter than sugar. If using honey in place of sugar, reduce amount called for by one-third to one-half. Also since there is water in honey, reduce any liquids called for by one-fifth.
- When baking with honey, reduce the oven’s temperature by twenty-five degrees to prevent over-browning.
- Honey is sold by weight, thus one cup of honey is equal to twelve ounces of honey.
- A quick measuring tip: when measuring honey, simply spray the measuring container with a vegetable spray (such as Pam) and all of the honey will go into the recipe and not stay in the measuring cup.
- If your recipe doesn’t call for milk or cream add a pinch (less than one-eighth teaspoon) of baking soda as this too will also prevent over browning.
- Use honey as your sweetener if you are planning on mailing your baked goods. The honey will help keep the goods out of the oven fresh longer.
There you have it from mild and bland to strong and pungent as well as colors ranging from black to white. The bees have given us an infinite source of natural sweetness.
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