October 18, 2016

Cooking with Honey is Pretty Sweet

Honey can be the perfect thing to sweeten and enhance your dishes.

Austin culinary arts students have opportunities to participate in events dedicated to celebrating and preserving local honeybees this fall. As the Austin Chronicle reported, those gatherings include the American Honey Bee Protection Agency’s Queen Bee Drag Show fundraiser and the Honey Fest presented by Texas Keeper Cider and Two Hives Honey.

Events like these spotlight the many tasty culinary uses for honey. Anyone enrolled in cooking courses can find plenty of uses for this ingredient, adding flavor to everything from baked ham to a cup of tea. When you learn more about what makes honey special, you may find plenty of ways to include it in your own dishes.

Know your honey varieties
When you stock up on honey, you may be surprised by just how many different types are available. According to the National Honey Board, there are over 300 kinds of honey available in the U.S., each drawn from the nectar of a different flower, plus countless blends. Which one is best depends on the applications you’re using it for and personal taste.

If you’re ready to explore the multitude of honey varietals, Epicurious provided guidance with descriptions of several distinctive examples:

  • Clover is widely available and has a mild flavor that’s great for a wide range of uses.
  • Acacia is clear and exceptionally sweet.
  • Orange blossom features a hint of citrus flavor.
  • Buckwheat has a brown color and molasses-like taste.

If you stock up on a few different kinds of honey, you can pick the right one for each dish. As long as the nectar is properly stored, there’s no need to worry about it spoiling. The Smithsonian Magazine noted that honey’s acidity and hydrogen peroxide content give it an extremely long shelf life.

Use honey to make an irresistible glaze for ribs.Use honey to make an irresistible glaze for ribs.

Adding sweetness to your dishes
You can put your honey to work in variety of tasty items. For instance, it makes a great basis for a glaze, as in a recipe for ribs offered by Southern Living. Combine a half cup of honey with soy sauce, lime juice, dry mustard, butter, ground ginger and an Asian chili-garlic sauce.

A touch of honey also steps up many desserts. Bon Appetit suggested a pie featuring a peanut butter filling in a graham cracker crust and a topped by honeycomb candy with chocolate and peanuts. Prepare the candy by cooking the nectar with corn syrup, sugar and baking soda.

Culinary academy students can try many different kinds of honey in their dishes, exploring both the most common local types and rare flavors. Each will contribute its own sweet, comforting touch to your cooking.