Apart from eating honey right from the jar, or for that matter right from the bee frames, here are our favorite ways to use honey.
Steve and I began our beekeeping adventure last spring after researching the hobby for several months. Beekeeping seemed daunting to us, to say the least. There was so much information and every apiarist seemed to have their own way of doing things. We felt overwhelmed.
I checked out every beekeeping book from the library and pulled several late nights reading online forums. A local flower farmer even invited us over for dinner and gave us some great resources and a brief introduction to it. With many questions still unanswered, we decided to just jump in and order a few established nucs. Thankfully, we found an experienced mentor to answer our questions and guide us in the right direction.
Much to our amazement, we harvested honey our first year! And not a little, but a lot! We knew we were officially hooked on the hobby and there was no turning back. I shared some honey with our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members along with friends and family but knew we had to think of new ways to use honey. Here are our favorite ways to use honey along with tips for how to store it.
1) Baking. Before I had honey readily available, I used sugar for sweetening. Honey is far more beneficial for you than sugar and less goes further. To convert a recipe using sugar to honey just follow this conversion chart shared from Billy Bee Honey. Don't forget to also add 1/4 tsp of baking soda for each cup of sugar replaced. Along with reducing the liquid ingredients by a 1/4 cup and lowering the oven temperature by about 25°.
2) Food and drink sweeteners. Using honey in tea, on bagels or toast, in oatmeal, etc. are all great ideas. Not to mention that honey also tastes great as a dip for fruit!
3) Canning strawberry jam with honey instead of sugar. Though I have always used less sugar then recommended for canning jam, I wanted to try not using sugar at all this season. I canned jam using this recipe from Waxing Kara. It turned out great and was not overly sweet. The possibilities are endless with using honey in canning recipes!
4) Cough suppressant. When our girls have a cough, we mix a teaspoon of each; warm lemon juice and honey. Note: Do not give honey to children under one year old.
5) Gifts. Even though we have honey readily available we still love giving and receiving honey! Honey tastes different depending on what nectar is local to the bees in the area. We have made it a point to find local honey whenever we are on vacation and it never disappoints.
Honey should be kept at room temperature and not stored in the fridge. Over time, honey will naturally harden and crystallize. This is inevitable with real honey and does not mean that the honey is bad. To return the honey back to its liquid state, simply set the jar in a pot of warm water for 10-15 minutes or until you are able to stir the honey.
As you can see there are countless ways to use honey! What are some of your favorites?