Honey is "manufactured" in one of the world's most efficient factories, the beehive.
Bees may travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to
gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey.
The color and flavor of honey differ depending on the bees' nectar source (the blossoms).
In fact, there are more than 300 unique kinds of honey in the United States,
originating from such diverse floral sources as clover, eucalyptus and orange blossom.
In general, lighter colored honeys are mild in flavor; while darker honeys
are usually more robust in flavor.
Cooking with Honey
For best results, use recipes developed for using 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. With a little experimentation, honey can replace all the sugar in some recipes.
When baking with honey, remember the following:
Reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.
Add 1/2 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.
When measuring honey, coat the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray or
vegetable oil before adding the honey. The honey will slide right out.
A 12-ounce jar of honey equals a standard measuring cup.
Store honey at room temperature – your kitchen counter or pantry shelf is ideal.
Storing honey in the refrigerator accelerates the honey’s crystallization.
Crystallization is the natural process in which liquid in honey becomes solid.
If your honey crystallizes, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Or, place the honey in a microwave-safe container with the lid off and microwave it, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve. Be careful not to boil or scorch the honey.
Color, Flavor and Form
Honeys differ in color and flavor depending on what blossoms the honey bees visit in
search of nectar. Honey color ranges from almost colorless to dark amber brown
and its flavor varies from delectably mild to richly bold. As a general rule,
light-colored honey is milder in taste and dark-colored honey is stronger.
Honey comes in a variety of forms including liquid, whipped and comb. Free of any crystals or wax, liquid honey is extracted from the comb in the hive by centrifugal force, gravity,
straining or other means. Whipped honey (also known as creamed honey) is finely crystallized
so that it remains creamy and spreadable. Comb honey is honey that comes as it was produced – in the honey bees’ wax comb.
Research has shown that unlike most other sweeteners, honey contains small amounts
of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants.
Honey, a rich source of carbohydrates, provides a quick source of energy.
Honey’s unique composition makes it an effective antimicrobial agent, useful for treating minor burns and scrapes,
and for aiding the treatment of sore throats and other bacterial infections.