We all know what honey is - that sweet yellow stuff that comes in a plastic bottle shaped like a bear. Yeah you know the one, but do you know just how awesome honey really is?
First of All, What is Honey?
Honey is a sweet, viscous food made by honey bees. These bees produce honey from plant nectar which is then stored in wax structures known as honey combs. Honey can be collected from colonies of wild bees or from domesticated bee hives which is a practice known as beekeeping.
Oh So Sweet
Honey gets its sweetness from both fructose and glucose which has essentially the same level of sweetness as common table sugar. Something that makes honey unique as well is that most microorganisms cannot grow in it due to its acidity and low moisture content. So as long as you keep it sealed, your honey won’t spoil!
Honey is a very popular component in baking and has a distinct flavor when used as a sweetener for various desserts, cooking, or when mixed into a beverage. Mixly Cocktail Mixers are a great example of how honey can be used as a natural sweetener. These cocktail mixers have just a touch of honey to balance and compliment the all-natural fruit juices that make up these unique and fun mixers.
Honey Simple Syrups in Cocktails
Honey syrup can be used in cocktails just like a classic simple syrup but this variation adds a bit more complexity and flavor. Different types of honey can even create different flavors in the syrup. Clover and alfalfa honeys are more mild and lend themselves to brighter cocktails while syrups made with buckwheat honey are more suitable to dark-spirit drinks. Many drink mixes have too much added sugar which makes them over sweetened but with honey simple syrup, that problem can be easily solved.
How to Make Your Own Honey Simple Syrup
The best part about honey syrup is that it’s so easy to make. You’re first going to start with a 1:1 ratio of water to honey. Place that into a small pot and bring to a boil. Once the mix has boiled, reduce the heat so the mixture is just simmering and leave it there for 10 minutes. After the ten minutes are up, remove the syrup from heat and let cool before transferring to an airtight container.
Benefits of Honey
Though honey contains mostly sugar, it also contains a mix of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc and antioxidants. It has shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-bacterial agent. The level of “brightness” in honey is directly related to how high the antioxidant properties of the honey are. The darker the honey the higher the level of antioxidants.
How to Use Honey
Sweetening Marinades and Salad Dressings
Honey is a great alternative for sweetening marinades and salad dressings because it incorporates so much better into the liquid than crystal sugar does. This results in a better taste and consistency in your recipe. Adding just a little bit of honey to these things also helps to balance out the different flavors and make your recipe pop!
Add to Your Drink
For those of us who like our drinks a little bit sweeter, honey is a great alternative to other sugars and syrups. A little goes a long way when it comes to honey so you can use considerably less than you would with other sweeteners. The unique taste of honey can also boost the flavor of your tea and coffee and make it a whole new drink.
Honey can also be a great addition to your breakfast smoothie for an added boost of nutrients and flavor. Let’s be honest, not all smoothies taste delicious especially when you add ingredients like kale and ginger. Though those ingredients have numerous benefits, they can make smoothies bitter and not very fun to drink. By adding a small amount of honey, you can make a large difference in the way it tastes and make it a lot more enjoyable.
A Topping for Toast
Using honey as spread for your toast is a much healthier, and frankly tastier, option compared to sugar and preservative packed, conventional options found on grocery shelves. Honey also pairs very well with natural nut butter spreads and fruit toppings to take your breakfast to the next level!