Cooking with Honey

  • Reduce the liquid called for in the recipes by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.
  • Add about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used in baking goods.
  • Reduce oven temperature by 25° to prevent over-browning when honey is added.

The text of a wonderful article that has disappeared from the internet is included here:

Perhaps you want to be able to cook sweets without the negative health effects of refined sugar, honey is an excellent option. Among other reasons, honey is metabolized more slowly by your body, meaning that you are less likely to get a sugar “high” after eating something made with honey.

Honey can be challenging to cook with, though, for several reasons. So many people don’t cook with it because they don’t know how.

Once you know how to use honey in your favourite kitchen creations, it’s not hard at all to use.

The first challenge that honey presents is that it burns more easily than normal sugar. This problem is usually eliminated by doing your cooking or baking at a slightly lower heat.

The main hurdle to cooking with honey is that it is a liquid. Replacing sugar with honey will ruin some recipes if you don’t make an allowance for the extra liquid that the honey adds.

Most muffins, simple quick breads, yeast breads, etc you can make the substitution without any adjustment. Cakes, cookies and some other recipes you should decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe to account for the honey.

Honey is also very easy to use in pies. Since they are already somewhat liquid, you can replace the sugar with honey. If the pie filling seems too runny, just add a little extra thickener before you pour it in your pie shell.

Storing Honey

One of the finest foods we can store for later use is pure, raw local honey. Honey stored under proper conditions will last for thousands of years, and can be used for cooking, canning, and general health maintenance. (Honey has been found in the pyramids that was still good.)

Honey sold in stores, unless otherwise indicated, is not pure, raw honey. It is often blended, heated, and in many cases has been found to not generally be of origin in this country. America is one of the few countries in the world where most honey is sold in liquid form. Note that honey is sold by weight, and not by volume. To attain and maintain a liquid state for a long shelf life in retail stores, honey must be heated, which destroys most of the inherent good qualities of honey. Indeed, the heating produces the chemical hydroxymethyfurfural (HMF), which in Europe is considered an unwanted adulterant, and heated American honey is therefore illegal to sell in Europe due to their pure food laws (Dr. Roger Morse, "Gleanings in Bee Culture," March, 1985).

It has been said that "honey is honey, as long as it has FDA approval, so you might as well buy it from a discount store." Nothing could be further from the truth. The Clinton Administration allowed the importation of Chinese "honey" as early as 1992, which sold for $0.25 per pound, wholesale. Studies in Canada found that Chinese "honey" was at least 40% corn syrup, contained caramel coloring, and Canada joined Europe in banning its importation.

Charles Mraz reported ("Gleanings," Dec. 1978) that unfiltered, unheated honey contains active glucose oxidase which supplies oxygen to the digestive tract. Such natural honey is reputed to prevent botulism poisoning, relieve constipation and prevent congestion in the intestinal tract...and that heating and pressure filtering will destroy and/or remove the valuable enzymes in the honey.

Studies since 1978 have shown that pure, raw local honey is excellent in the prevention and cure of various allergies, as it contains minute trace amounts of pollen and mold spores, and acts as a homeopathic medicine.

Small scale beekeepers (less than 24 hives) remove the honey supers from the hives and extract it at hive temperature (about 94 F), as the viscosity of honey at that temperature allows easy extraction through centrifugal force. Ideally, you would want them to then filter the honey through a fine grade filter immediately, and pour it into food grade buckets you provide. Expect to pay slightly more for such service than you would for store purchased honey, but the expense is certainly justified.

Raw honey as described in the paragraph above can be expected to granulate or crystallize rapidly, the actual rate depending upon the floral source - 2 weeks to 2 months or more. Honey granulates quickest at 57 F, and slower at temperatures above or below 57 F. Proper storage, then, would be at temperatures as close to 57 F as possible, but cooler is preferred over hotter; basement storage is excellent.

Granulated honey is normal. By law, honey is sold by the pound, not by liquid measurements. The reason for the weight measurement in poundage is very ancient. In England, heather honey will gel extremely fast - right in the comb - and could not be extracted by any methods then available. So honey was traditionally sold as a solid block of honey and wax, by the pound, and the weight measurement laws have remained intact for hundreds of years.

To liquefy the honey for normal use, the honey must be heated slowly in a double boiler to below 130F until clear. Just be sure to have a wire rack, a circle cut from expanded metal, or something similar, on the bottom of the stock pot or container used for the double boiler, so that water may circulate under the bottom of the honey bucket. And always loosen the lid of any honey being liquefied, as it gains considerably in volume as it is being heated - it might burst a container!

If honey is stored in glass containers, the water in the double-boiler must be high enough to cover the top of the honey in the container. The honey must be able to expand upwards into the neck of the container, or the bottom of the container might be broken right off.

Honey offers new approach to fighting antibiotic resistance

Date: March 16, 2014

Source: American Chemical Society (ACS)


Honey, that delectable condiment for breads and fruits, could be one sweet solution to the serious, ever-growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, researchers say. In addition, several studies have shown that honey inhibits the formation of biofilms, or communities of slimy disease-causing bacteria.

Honey, that delectable condiment for breads and fruits, could be one sweet solution to the serious, ever-growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, researchers said in Dallas* today. Medical professionals sometimes use honey successfully as a topical dressing, but it could play a larger role in fighting infections, the researchers predicted.

"The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance," said study leader Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D. That is, it uses a combination of weapons, including hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols -- all of which actively kill bacterial cells, she explained. The osmotic effect, which is the result of the high sugar concentration in honey, draws water from the bacterial cells, dehydrating and killing them.

In addition, several studies have shown that honey inhibits the formation of biofilms, or communities of slimy disease-causing bacteria, she said. "Honey may also disrupt quorum sensing, which weakens bacterial virulence, rendering the bacteria more susceptible to conventional antibiotics," Meschwitz said. Quorum sensing is the way bacteria communicate with one another, and may be involved in the formation of biofilms. In certain bacteria, this communication system also controls the release of toxins, which affects the bacteria's pathogenicity, or their ability to cause disease.

Meschwitz, who is with Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., said another advantage of honey is that unlike conventional antibiotics, it doesn't target the essential growth processes of bacteria. The problem with this type of targeting, which is the basis of conventional antibiotics, is that it results in the bacteria building up resistance to the drugs.

Honey is effective because it is filled with healthful polyphenols, or antioxidants, she said. These include the phenolic acids, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid and ellagic acid, as well as many flavonoids. "Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between the non-peroxide antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of honey and the presence of honey phenolics," she added. A large number of laboratory and limited clinical studies have confirmed the broad-spectrum antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties of honey, according to Meschwitz.

She said that her team also is finding that honey has antioxidant properties and is an effective antibacterial. "We have run standard antioxidant tests on honey to measure the level of antioxidant activity," she explained. "We have separated and identified the various antioxidant polyphenol compounds. In our antibacterial studies, we have been testing honey's activity against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, among others."

*This study was presented the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).