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Honey, I'm in Love With You!

Bees make it, bears love it, and Aristotle called it the nectar of the gods. When found recently in an Egyptian pyramid, it was edible, tasty, and bacteria-free. In our world of artificial food flavors and products, honey (thankfully!) has remained as pure as it was thousands of years ago.

Honey is in your cereal, bread, deli meat, mustard, and facial cream. It soothes a sore throat, helps heal minor skin injuries, and is used as a pre-workout energy source for athletes. Many people have found relief from pollen-induced allergies simply by consuming locally produced honey. The list of uses for honey goes on and on. There are many simple to incorporate this beautiful, healthy golden liquid into your diet and personal use.

Not all varieties of honey look or taste the same. Honey made from the nectar of different flowers can be pale gold or deep amber. Taste accompanies this color variation. The lighter honeys, such as lemon and lavender, tend to be very mild. Darker versions, like buckwheat, have a very distinctive, bold flavor. While the United States offers numerous types of honey, specialty flavors such as lime, rosemary, and lavender are available mostly from Europe.

Honey Instead of Sugar

Haven't we all been told to decrease our sugar intake? Look for ways to use honey instead. While honey is composed of fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose, it also contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Several antioxidant compounds found in honey are beneficial to our bodies, too. Honey is a "sugar", but one much better for you than white granulated. Try honey in your tea, on toast, over cereal, or drizzled on vanilla yogurt, as they do in Greece. Use it as a glaze for chicken or salmon, with carrots, or in baked goods.

Tips for baking with honey:
1. Use recipes developed for honey for best results.
2. If using honey instead of granulated sugar, do so for only half of the sugar the first time.
3. Reduce the liquid by 1/4 cup for each cup on honey used.
4. Increase baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of honey used.
5. Decrease oven temperature by 25 degrees (you may need to correspondingly increase baking time).

Honeyed Carrots
1/4 cup butter
3 cups julienne-cut carrots
1 Tablespoon mild honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add carrots; cover and steam over medium heat until tender. Add honey, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat evenly. Simmer a few minutes and serve.


Oat and Honey Facial Masque
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup almonds
2 Tablespoons honey

Combine oatmeal and almonds in a food processor; grind into a powder. Add honey to form a paste. Apply evenly to clean face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Wipe off with tissue, rinse face and pat dry.
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