FAQ’S About Honey

How do I convert baking recipes to use honey instead of sugar?

When substituting honey for granulated sugar in recipes, begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe
Because of its high fructose content, honey has higher sweetening power than sugar. This means you can use less honey than sugar to achieve the desired sweetness.

Generally the lighter the honey, the milder the flavor. If a stronger flavor is desired for your recipe, use a darker, stronger flavored honey; if a more delicate flavor is desired, use a lighter, milder flavored honey.

Due to honey’s ability to retain water, products made with honey tend to remain moister longer than similar products made with sugar or other sweeteners.

Some minor adjustments may need to be made to a recipe when substituting honey for sugar:

1. Use equal amounts of honey for sugar up to one cup. Over one cup, replace each cup of sugar with 2/3 to 3/4 cup over honey depending upon the sweetness desired.
2. Lower the baking temperature 25 degrees and watch your time carefully since products with honey brown faster.
3. In recipes using more than one cup honey for sugar, it may be necessary to reduce liquids by 1/4 cup per cup of honey.
4. In baked goods, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe. This will reduce the acidity of the honey, as well as increase the volume of your product.

Moisten a measuring spoon or cup first with water, oil, or an egg before measuring the honey to prevent it from sticking to the measuring utensil. Honey is heavy by weight. A 12 ounce jar equals one standard 8 ounce cup. A quart weighs 3 pounds.

Info sources: National Honey Board www.honey.com AND www.cooks.com
For recipes using honey, visit our recipes page.

How do I store honey?

Store honey at room temperature – your kitchen counter or pantry shelf is ideal.
DO NOT store honey in a REFRIGERATOR as it accelerates the honey’s crystallization.
Crystallization is the natural process of glucose sugar molecules aligning into orderly arrangements known as crystals and is not an indicator of spoilage, impurity, age or quality.

How do I get rid of the crystals in a jar of honey?

For GLASS containers of honey, simply place the honey jar in warm water, and stir the honey until the crystals dissolve.
OR, place the glass container into water that has been brought to near boiling (212° F ) but has been REMOVED FROM THE HEAT SOURCE.
1. Bring a pan of water to a boil
2. Turn off the heat, and remove the pan of water from the heat source
3. Place the GLASS container of honey into the water – with the cap open on the honey jar
4. Leave until both water and honey has cooled
5. Repeat as needed.

For PLASTIC containers, it is best to use tap water instead of a pan of nearly boiling water.
1. Fill a container ( bowl/pan ) with hot tap water
2. Loosen the cap on the honey container
3. Place container of honey into the water
4. Leave until both honey and water have cooled
5. It will likely be necessary to repeat the process
Source info: National Honey Board

Can I use a microwave to warm up or de-crystallize honey?

There are many debates over the subject of microwaving honey; relative to whether it destroys beneficial enzymes or not.

The problems with microwaving honey include:

1. melting a plastic honey container ( and possible release of PCBs )
2. uneven heating by the very nature of microwaving / inability to control even heating
3. if accidentally overheated – can “explode” – which is a serious burn concern in that it is hot sugary stick-to-your-skin substance. In fact, even if a plastic container does not explode – the honey can become dangerously hot in some areas within the container.
4. Yes, it can destroy enzymes
5. Due to the uneven heating of microwaves, often times the crystals still remain in portions of the container.

Some facts:

Heating honey can change both the color ( darkens it ) and the flavor. This is especially true if the temperature exceeds 100-105 degrees throughout.

The American Bee Journal, March 2007, states that microwaving honey does destroy beneficial enzymes.

Some sources say it is “ok” to microwave honey, IF MICROWAVE POWER IS REDUCED to 50%

So… what is our recommendation? Don’t Microwave Honey.

( see FAQ concerning how to de-crystallize honey)

Can diabetics eat honey? Is there a benefit to using honey vs. sugar in a diabetic diet?

With appropriate control, many diabetics and pre-diabetes (people with blood glucose levels higher than normal person but not high enough to be considered diabetic) are still able to safely enjoy natural honey. Before incorporating honey into their meal planning, find out how much can be consumed on a daily basis. Each diabetic is different and should learn how his or her body reacts to different foods containing carbohydrates. Bear in mind that the total amount of starches or carbohydrates in a food is the key consideration, not the amount of sugar. Honey is a carb food as well, just like rice, potatoes, thus just keep in mind that 1 tablespoon of honey has approximately 17 grams of carbohydrate, and taking that into account when counting your total daily intake of carbohydrates, diabetics can work it out just like any other sweetener or carbohydrates

http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/diabetic-diet.html

Generally, there’s no advantage to substituting honey for sugar in a diabetes eating plan. Both honey and sugar will affect your blood sugar level.

Honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you might use a smaller amount of honey for sugar in some recipes. But honey actually has slightly more carbohydrates and more calories per teaspoon than does granulated sugar — so any calories and carbohydrates you save will be minimal.

If you prefer the taste of honey, go ahead and use it — but only in moderation. Be sure to count the carbohydrates in honey as part of your diabetes eating plan.

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-answers/diabetes/faq-20058487

Can honey lessen regional allergy symptoms?

The scientific community resolutely says NO – or Probably Not at best.

Their reasoning for this conclusion is based on several facts – those being :
1. Lack of conclusive, scientifically-controlled clinical testing that has produced empirical evidence to support the claim that honey can lessen allergy symptoms.
2. The knowledge that the types of pollen that are the most irritating as sources for allergies come from wind driven pollen, not from the pollen mostly collected by honeybees. Being referred to are grasses and trees, which even if some pollen is collected, it is not a significant amount compared to the ones honeybees are more attracted to forage upon. As an example, oak or pine pollen may be collected in small amounts by the honey bee. However, at the time they are blooming there are a myriad of other plants blooming which are more attractive to the honeybee, but those are not typically the types of pollen that cause allergy symptoms in humans.
3. While it is true that one type of treatment for allergies is repeated exposure to small amounts of allergens; the ability to know which pollen is in each jar of honey (even locally produced ) is impossible to know, and in what volume it may be present. Therefore, dosages such as how much to take, how often, and for how long cannot be determined.
Sources include: The Mayo Clinic, WebMD, ABC News, and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

So, that’s the bad news… Science cannot / has not supported the claim that honey can relieve allergy symptoms.

If you choose to ignore the scientific community’s conclusions, based on studies or lack thereof; then there are a few things you should do in order to make the homeopathic/home-remedy use of honey to relieve allergy symptoms possibly work.
1. BUY LOCAL, unadulterated honey. Store bought/mass produced honey has likely been pasteurized and extremely filtered which would result in little if any pollen being in it.
2. Buy honey “by the season”; Store for out-of-season usage
Here in the Southeast, beekeepers often pull honey off their hives more than once a year.
Spring Honey – has pollen from maybe November the year before till whenever it is pulled – say June.
Start using this in late December, or early January.

Fall Honey –has pollen from maybe June thru November. Start using in late July or August.
You want to use the honey about 6 weeks in advance of when the pollen (that irritates you) comes around again.

So, buy a jar of each seasonal type – set it aside, to start taking doses of it about 6 weeks prior to that pollen type coming around again.
Don’t expect to buy a jar of local seasonal honey out of season. It would be up to you to procure and store what you need ahead of time.

Why do honey labels say that “honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age?

Infant botulism is a rare but serious gastrointestinal disease caused by exposure to spores of Clostridium botulinum ( C.botulinum) which are found in the soil and air. Bacteria from the spores can grow and multiply in the baby’s intestine producing a dangerous toxin.

Honey, a known source of C. botulinum spores, has been implicated in some cases of infant botulism. In studies of honey, up to 13% of the test samples contained low numbers of C. botulinum spores (3). For this reason, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend not feeding honey to infants under one year old.

Typically, botulism occurs in children less than six months of age, after that time, protective mechanisms and immune & digestive systems are more developed.

According to the CDC, there are about 95 cases of infant botulism a year in the US. ( not all are caused by honey ingestion )

Other sources of botulism include home canned foods, particularly those with low acid such as beans and corn.

Honey Producers are not required to place the “infant precautionary statement” on their labels; however most producers DO place the statement on their labels, and it is HIGHLY recommended that all honey producers do so.

For more information:
http://www.fda.gov/food/foodscienceresearch/laboratorymethods/ucm070879.htm
http://www.cdc.gov/nczed/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/botulism

Can honey be used as a topical treatment for wounds or burns?

The fast answer is YES. Honey’s healing properties are mentioned in the Bible, Koran, and Torah.

How does it work?

Some of the chemicals in honey may kill certain bacteria and fungus. When applied to the skin, honey may serve as a barrier to moisture and keep skin from sticking to dressings. Honey may also provide nutrients and other chemicals that speed wound healing.

Some folks have reported relief and success by mixing honey and aloe together as a topical application for burns such as sunburn; and used alone for diabetic ulcers and other wounds.

There are some things to consider before just slathering honey onto an open wound or serious burn.

Honey can become contaminated with germs from plants, bees, and dust during production, and also during collection and processing. Fortunately, the germ-fighting characteristics of honey ensure that most contaminating organisms cannot survive or reproduce. However, bacteria that reproduce using spores, including the bacterium that cause botulism, may remain. This explains why botulism has been reported in infants given honey by mouth.

To solve this problem, medical-grade honey (Medihoney, for example) is irradiated to inactive the bacterial spores. Medical-grade honey is also standardized to have consistent germ-fighting activity. Some experts also suggest that medical-grade honey should be collected from hives that are free from germs and not treated with antibiotics, and that the nectar should be from plants that have not been treated with pesticides.

Info source: www.webmd.com