Cooking with honey
How much honey does your average beekeeper eat? I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t eat that much. Probably more than the average American, but still not much. When I do eat honey, I like it plain and still in the comb. A little cheese doesn’t hurt either.
So when people ask me for recipes, I’m at a loss. For me, when honey is heated or mixed with other ingredients, it losses its identity. Although it still tastes like honey, it doesn’t taste like tupelo, or gallberry, or maple. When cooked, it seems to lose the thing I like best about it—the regional flavor, the contributing flowers, the subtle shift that makes your own honey the best in the world.
What gets me excited is that first taste of a honey I’ve never tried. I am always up for a new varietal or a new regional honey. The flavors are especially strident when compared side-by-side with a honey I’m used to. To me, that is the real joy of eating it.
That’s not to say I never cook with honey. I have a barbecue sauce recipe that requires heaps of buckwheat honey—I’m sure buckwheat wouldn’t lose its molasses flavor if you boiled it for a week, so that one works for me. I also like a balsamic vinegar and honey salad dressing, but in all honestly, the balsamic takes over and the honey is just the sweet part.
Now, I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t cook with honey. I’m just explaining why I don’t have a little tab up there with recipes for humans. (The recipes up there are all for bees.)
But if it’s recipes you want, try The National Honey Board. They have lots of free recipes, usage and storage tips, recipe conversion guidelines, hints on baking with honey, honey FAQs, and even nutrition information. If anyone knows how to handle honey in the kitchen, it the folks at the Honey Board. Give them a try.