Honey, nature’s syrupy nectar, is a luscious substitute for sugar or other sweeteners in both desserts and savory dishes. For a truly novel and natural honey flavor, opt for artisanal honey. Not only will this special honey be made from local bees, buying locally-sourced honey will also help sustain small farmers, while giving you a taste that only nature can provide. Keep reading for honey recipes and more on artisanal honey.
What is artisanal honey?
Artisanal is just another way of saying a product came from a small farm, whether it be honey, cheese, nuts, or another food product. Artisanal also implies that great care was taken to make the product with minimal — if any — use of chemicals, making it organic.However, you must be careful because organic does not always mean artisanal and vice versa. Further, it is nearly impossible to monitor the bees that make honey — they may just as easily frequent an organic field as one sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.In the case of honey, artisanal can sometimes mean raw honey. Raw honey is honey that has not been heated or filtered, as is typical of the mass produced honey you find in grocery stores.
Benefits of artisanal honey
The main benefit of raw honey is its natural taste, freshness, and indefinite shelf life. Honey, stored in a cool dark place can literally last for centuries (although once you taste raw natural honey, it may only last on your shelf for a few days!).Raw honey or artisanal honey typically has a more natural and fresher flavor because it is usually bottled within a few days of collecting it from the bees. This honey can generally be sold a mere three to five days after the bees produce it, resulting in an ultra-fresh flavor.Artisanal honey also supports the small farms and farmer’s markets where it is sold. Additionally, buying artisanal honey produced without chemicals is better for the environment. So, where can you buy this delicious natural honey? Most farmer’s markets will have a natural honey producer, or you can search online for an artisanal honey store.
How to substitute honey for sugar
Honey is a great all natural substitute for sugar in cooking and baking — but for successful results, you must change your recipe a little to accommodate for honey’s syrupy consistency. It is more liquid than sugar and it also causes baked goods to brown quicker.According to the National Honey Board, “when substituting honey for granulated sugar in recipes, begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe. For baked goods, make sure to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F. to prevent over-browning. Reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used.”Although you may think this technique is more trouble than it is worth, substituting honey for sugar gives your baked goods less of a sugary flavor and more of a natural sweetness (it’s a hard flavor to describe, but try it and you’ll understand).
Honey is more nutritious than sugar
Honey does have more calories than regular sugar, but because honey is sweeter, you will need less of it, thus consuming fewer calories.Also, honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar, which means you will digest the honey slower and won’t experience that typical sugar high and crash. Finally, honey contains small amounts of vitamins and nutrients, making it a more nutritious choice compared to sugar, which has no nutritional benefits. Substituting honey for sugar can almost make you feel good about eating those couple extra cookies.
Honey recipes with artisanal honey
Honey Glazed Chicken Breasts
Makes 4 servingsIngredients:
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup raw or artisanal honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breastsDirections:
1. Combine soy sauce, honey, garlic powder, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice and ginger in a small bowl. Place half of the honey mixture in a separate bowl and add chicken, coating well. Save the other half of the glaze for basting.2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill chicken for 10 minutes, about 5 minutes per side, brushing with sauce a few times, until chicken is fully cooked through. You can also cook chicken in a preheated 350 degree F. oven. Let chicken sit for 5 minutes before serving to allow juices to redistribute. Serve warm.
Makes 5 dozen cookiesIngredients:
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup low-fat milk
2 cups raw or artisanal honey
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon anise extractDirections:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine baking soda in milk. Beat eggs well and beat in honey, flour, baking soda mixture and anise.2. Spoon dough onto cookie sheets at least 1-inch apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool on wire racks. Store completely cooled cookies in an airtight container.
Honey Nut Quick Bread
Makes 2 loavesIngredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup raw or artisanal honey
1 cup mashed bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnutsDirections:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two loaf pans with butter or cooking spray.2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes before removing from pans.