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Deliciously sweet honey also has health benefits

Honey is the oldest known sweetener and remains pop-ular today.

A small amount added to tomato sauce and soup balances the acidity. Adding fresh herbs such as rosemary, lavender, thyme or sage can flavour honey.

It is also delicious drizzled over ricotta or goat cheese and served with crackers. Honey also acts as a dough enhancer when making bread.

Honey does not require refrigeration and will keep a long time, but it may darken with age and crystallize. Placing the jar in a hot water bath until it returns to a liquid easily re-verses crystallization.

Honey is 20 calories per teaspoon (5 mL) while sugar has 15 calories.

However, it ranks higher on the sweetness scale so you can use less.

Nutritionally, honey contains trace amounts of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It is slower to raise blood sugar levels and is favoured in a diabetic diet. The flavonoids and phenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits.

There have been recent cases of fraudulent honey imported from China containing sugar syrup and high fructose corn syrup.

Buy local to be assured of pure, quality honey.

Apricot Jam with Honey

This is my farmers market recipe and it has quickly become popular.

  • 8 c. coarsely chopped apricots 2 L
  • 4 c. sugar 1 L
  • 1 c. honey 250 mL
  • juice and grated peel of one orange
  • 1/8 tsp. salt 0.5 mL

Combine ingredients in a heavy bottomed large pot and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently until thick, about 30 minutes. Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch (6 mm) headspace. Wipe jar rims to remove any stickiness. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (make adjustment for altitude, if necessary). Yields about eight cups (2 L).

Sarah’s Granola

I alter this with nuts and dried fruits. I sometimes add freeze-dried sea buckthorn to the butter and honey mixture for added nutrition and flavour.

  • 3/4 c. walnuts, pecans or combination of favourite nuts 175 mL
  • 1/2 c. sliced natural almonds 125 mL
  • 4 c. large flake rolled oats 1 L
  • 1/4 c. sesame seeds 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened 60 mL
  • finely chopped coconut
  • 2 tbsp. flaxseed 30 mL
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter 125 mL
  • 1/3 c. honey 75 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt 1 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. chopped dried fruits or raisins in any combination 310 mL

Preheat the oven to 325 F (160 C).
Line a shallow 17×12 inch baking sheet (43×30 cm) with parchment paper. Coarsely chop the nuts.
Mound the oats, nuts, sesame seeds, other seeds and coconut on the baking sheet and stir to mix.

Melt butter and honey over low heat and add salt. Drizzle this over the oats. Stir well with a rubber spatula, then spread out in an even layer.
Bake the oat mixture for 30 minutes, stirring once with the spatula halfway through. After stirring, press it into the pan. Bake until the oats are lightly coloured. Let cool. The mixture will clump as it cools. When cool, pour into a large bowl and add the chopped dried fruits. Mix.
Store in an airtight container. Makes about eight cups. Use within four weeks or freeze up to three months.

Brenda’s Honey Citrus Pound Cake

Brenda and Kevin Epp and their family have been raising bees since they moved off the family farm. They sell their honey at farmers markets and trade shows in the Swift Current, Sask., area. This is one of Brenda’s creations.

Cake:

  • 1 c. butter 250 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. honey 375 mL
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 c. flour 750 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. lemon-lime soda 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lime zest 15 mL

Glaze:

  • 2 c. icing sugar 500 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lime zest 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. water 15 mL

Cream butter and honey, beat in eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients and zests. Slowly incorporate the soda. Pour into a Bundt pan or two loaf pans. Bake at 325 F (150 C) for about an hour.
Test for doneness with a skewer that comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert on a cake plate while still warm. Drizzle with glaze while warm.

Oriental Meatballs with Honey Garlic Sauce

Serve this as finger food at a party buffet table.

  • 1 lb. ground pork 500 g
  • 1 lb. ground beef 500 g
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped green onions 60 mL
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce 30 mL

Sauce:

  • 1/3 c. honey 75 mL
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. Sriacha 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 15 mL
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan 10 mL

Mix first five ingredients and form into one-inch (2.5 cm) balls. Cook in a cast iron pan over medium low heat until browned on all sides. Finish cooking in a 350 F (180 C) oven until done.
Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk until smooth. Gently heat on medium low until the sauce bubbles. Continue cooking for a minute or two.
Toss the cooked meatballs in the sauce until evenly coated. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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