Fall harvest adds fresh supply of honey


Mary Morris, director of Chowan Cooperative Extension, makes one of her favorite recipes with honey.


By Mary Morris
Chowan Cooperative Extension

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Honey is one of my favorite topics to talk about. I am a beekeeper and enjoy the harvesting of our honey in the spring and this fall. We have only been keeping bees for a little over a year and still have much to learn, but I have learned how much I love honey. September is National Honey month so I thought I would highlight some health benefits of honey and ways to use it in cooking.

Honey Nutrition

Honey has about 64 calories and 17g of carbs per tablespoon and consists primarily of glucose and fructose (both are carbohydrates) with 18 percent water. The buzz words — organic, all natural, local — all apply because honey it is completely made by bees.

Unlike other sweeteners, honey has trace vitamins and minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and zinc. Antioxidants are also found in honey. Flavanoids and phenolic acids found in honey act as antioxidants scavenging and eliminating free radicals. Darker honeys tend to have higher quantities of antioxidants. Honey also makes an effective antimicrobial agent for treating sore throats and other bacterial infections. Source: Nancy Ostiguy, Pennsylvania State University

No Honey for Babies

There is no safe honey for babies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend not feeding honey to infants under one year old. Honey, a known source of C. botulinum spores, has been implicated in some cases of infant botulism.

Replacing sugar with Honey

Honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you might use a smaller amount of honey for sugar in some recipes. But honey actually has slightly more carbohydrates and more calories per teaspoon than does granulated sugar — so any calories and carbohydrates you save will be minimal. If you prefer the taste of honey, go ahead and use it — but only in moderation. Be sure to count the carbohydrates in honey if you have diabetes. Source: www.mayoclinic.org

Cooking with Honey

When substituting honey for granulated sugar in recipes, begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe. Because of its high fructose content, honey has higher sweetening power than sugar. This means you can use less honey than sugar to achieve the desired sweetness. Generally, the lighter the honey, the milder the flavor. If a stronger flavor is desired for your recipe, use a darker, stronger flavored honey; if a more delicate flavor is desired, use a lighter, milder flavored honey.

Due to honey’s ability to retain water, products made with honey tend to remain moister longer than similar products made with sugar or other sweeteners. Some minor adjustments may need to be made to a recipe when substituting honey for sugar:

1. Use equal amounts of honey for sugar up to one cup. Over one cup, replace each cup of sugar with 2/3 to 3/4 cup over honey depending upon the sweetness desired.

2. Lower the baking temperature 25 degrees and watch your time carefully since products with honey brown faster.

3. In recipes using more than one cup honey for sugar, it may be necessary to reduce liquids by 1/4 cup per cup of honey.

4. In baked goods, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe. This will reduce the acidity of the honey, as well as increase the volume of your product.

Moisten a measuring spoon or cup first with water, oil, or an egg before measuring the honey to prevent it from sticking to the measuring utensil. Honey is heavy by weight. A 12-ounce jar equals one standard 8-ounce cup. A quart weighs 3 pounds.

So go on out to your local farmers market or roadside stand and grab up a jar of local honey. You can also call your nearest Cooperative Extension office for a list of your local beekeepers that may have honey for sale. Contact Chowan County Cooperative Extension for more information 252-482-6585 or email: mary_morris@ncsu.edu .

Mary Morris is family and consumer sciences agent and director for Chowan County Cooperative Extension.