If you’re seeking health and happiness at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market look for Rick Green of Ballston Lake Apiaries. His tireless bees produce a few varieties of honey including the most common, clover honey, and buckwheat honey that gets its dark color from the iron in it. Many people seek out his raw honey which is unheated and unfiltered retaining more of the natural health qualities of honey.
Honey has been used for centuries to treat symptoms of the common cold. This old remedy was tested in a 2007 research study by the Penn State College of Medicine. The results showed that honey may offer parents an alternative to cough medicine. The study found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given before bedtime provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children than an over-the-counter cough suppressant. Honey also has antibacterial properties; the darker the honey (such as buckwheat), the greater its antibacterial properties. It’s no wonder why the ancient Egyptians used honey for wound healing.
Few things in life make us happy faster than sweets. Ask any parent who’s given a cookie to a crying child. To use honey in baking look for recipes developed for using honey. You can substitute honey for sugar in other baked goods recipes, but it might take a few tries before you get a recipe you like. Start your new recipe development by substituting honey for half the sugar in the recipe. In some recipes honey can replace all the sugar in equal quantities. Also remember when substituting honey for sugar in a recipe to reduce the liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup for each cup of honey used. Add about ½ teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used. And reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning.
It’s best to store honey at room temperature. Storing it in the refrigerator will cause it to crystalize faster. Crystallization of honey is normal and not an indication of spoilage, impurity, age or quality. If your honey does crystalize, simply place the honey jar in near boiling water that has been removed from the heat and stir until the crystals dissolve.
Honey Chai Iced Tea
2 cups water
2 black tea bags
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup honey*
2 cups milk*
To make Chai Tea Base, in medium saucepan, combine water, tea, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and honey. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags. Cover and refrigerate Chai Tea Base. Pour equal parts of Chai Tea Base and milk over ice cubes.
Tip: This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. Chai Tea Base may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Source: The National Honey Board
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. For information about food and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995 or email email@example.com.