Saturday, June 13, 2009

Question: What is the only food that never spoils?

Answer: Honey
Question: What is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water?
Answer: Honey

A couple months ago I participated in a world-wide honey swap on Recipezaar. The partner I was paired with lives in Florida and we shopped for items that are honey related and made up packages to send to each other. I did my research on honey, as I didn't want to send her something that she can get in her area. I ordered several jars of raw honey that are produced locally with flowers and berries grown in the Pacific Northwest. Also some diabetic-friendly syrup made with the official state fruit, huckleberries, made by the local company my dad's cousin started when I was a child. My swap partner sent me some Tupelo honey, Chilean raw white honey from South America and raw honey made from the rata flower in New Zealand. I really enjoyed this swap, as I learned a lot about honey; health benefits, history and of course, it’s always fun to get surprises in the mail!

Made by bees as food to sustain them throughout the winter, honey is free of fat, cholesterol and sodium but contains vitamins and antioxidants that help speed healing and fight infection. For centuries it has been used as a topical first aid treatment as well as for digestive disorders. It has no additives, is a natural sugar substitute (especially for diabetics) and is easy to digest.
Honey will vary in color and flavor depending on the nectar source and can be very pale to a dark amber color. Flavors range from mild and sweet to very bold. In North America there are 300 different varieties of honey. The most common nectar sources are clover, sage and citrus blossoms but honey can be produced with everything from eucalyptus and the tea tree to alfalfa and buckwheat nectar.

Honey is amazing in the kitchen as it can adapt to all types of cooking processes and can be used in everything from savory marinades to breakfast muffins. Because of its unique ability to attract and absorb moisture, your baked goods will be moist when baked and stay fresh longer. The only caution is not to feed honey to children less than one year of age as honey can carry botulism spores that can be harmful to young immune systems.

Here I'd like to share with you two of my original recipes, both featuring honey, and created for a Recipezaar contest using a specific list of ingredients.

But first, have you ever wondered where the term honeymoon came from? About 4,000 years ago in Babylon, as part of the bride's dowry her father would supply the groom with all the mead he could drink for the first month of marriage. Mead is a mixture of water, honey and yeast that is allowed to ferment and is considered to be the oldest of alcoholic beverages. It was believed that drinking mead during the honey month would ensure that the couple's first born child was a male. Because their calendar was lunar based, the "honey month" eventually became known as the honeymoon.

Pumpkin Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft, bakery style cookies packed with pumpkin, grated carrot and chocolate chips. Don't expect a crunchy cookie, as these are more like muffin tops.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin, not pre-spiced pie filling
1/2 cup baby carrots, grated
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter (melted)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In medium bowl, whisk eggs lightly. Stir in pumpkin, grated carrot, honey and melted butter. Whisk until combined then stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Don't over mix. Spread a sheet of parchment paper over cookie sheets & drop 1 Tablespoon of batter for each cookie about 2-3 inches apart on parchment. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, and then cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool the rest of the way. Yield: 42 (2-1/2 inch cookies)

Easy Veggie Salad with Asian Dressing

1 (12 ounce) package broccoli slaw mix (or a mix of shredded broccoli stems, carrots & purple cabbage)
1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas, drained (garbanzo beans)
1 cucumber, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup artichoke heart, chopped
3/4 cup tomato, chopped

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

In large bowl, combine all 5 salad ingredients.
In small bowl combine all 11 dressing ingredients. Stir or whisk to combine.
Pour dressing over salad, mix well. Cover and refrigerate til serving time.

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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License