By Sy Maher
My first experience with honey was in my grandma’s kitchen. She spooned it out of a honey jar using a wooden beehive looking spool. It drizzled silently off of the utensil as if it were liquid sunshine, raising the level in my tea cup just a scant. I stirred and watched the sticky liquid swirl around the cup then warm to the temperature and blend together with the hot beverage. The first sip of the Earl Grey tea (my favorite) bathed my taste buds with the flowery aftertaste of orange blossom honey. Tea never tasted so good. I also remember the teaspoons Grandma gave to me to coat my throat when it was sore. Since then, I have developed a love for honey. First in food preparation, then beauty techniques, and finally healing treatments; honey has lavished its goodness into my life, and I am better for it.
A Little History
Archaeologists discovered the planet’s oldest known honey, excavated from an Egyptian tomb dating back some 3000 years ago. Pots found in the burial chamber housed the golden goodness, and what was inside was still edible. Also in the tomb were Egyptian drawings portraying beekeepers. So we know honey bees have been kept for their sweet harvest a very long time.
Honey for Health
Raw, unpasteurized honey provides the most health benefits.
Honey contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and natural hydrogen peroxide. It also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, which make it effective at treating wounds.
According to Prevention Magazine, honey’s sticky goodness can help prevent heart disease when used on a regular basis. Honey, especially the darker varieties, slow the oxidation of bad cholesterol, which is the heart worst enemy.
Also, although not scientifically supported at this time, honey may benefit those who have acid reflux damage by removing free radicals cells lining the digestive tract. Honey may aid to diminish irritation by coating the esophagus membranes and stomach lining. It is natural and can be used with other treatments.
Honey for Beauty
For Penetrating, long-lasting hydration, honey helps moisture absorb into the skin. Rub a teaspoon on face wait 15 minutes, rinse with lukewarm water, pat dry.
Mix two tablespoons honey with one-tablespoon baking soda. Splash your skin with water, and then gently rub the concoction on your face or body in a circular motion. Rinse well.
Recipe for Coconut Honey Sugar Scrub
1/2 cup organic white granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons of solid organic coconut oil
1 tablespoon warmed raw honey
Essential oil (I like to use lemon oil, lavender or bergamot)
* Store at room temperature for one month
*As with all products used on the skin, always test on an inconspicuous spot of your body and only use a very small amount. Wait 24 hours and check the area to see if there is any allergic reaction.
Honey in Food Recipes
1 pound butter
1/4 cups honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spread on your favorite bread, biscuits, or top off pancakes with this yummy spread.
BAKED HONEY BACON BENEDICT
YIELD: Serves 6-8
4 tablespoons butter
1 package English muffins split
1 lb. thick bacon
1/4 cup honey
1 dozen eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
2 packages hollandaise sauce
2 cups 2% milk
1 stick butter
Fresh parsley or chives and paprika for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°
- Spread each muffin half with butter and bake for 10 minutes on a sheet pan, set aside.
- Spread the bacon out on a parchment lined sheet pan and drizzle with the honey. Bake for 20-25 minutes turning once. Remove each piece of bacon to a cooling rack to drain and cool. Cut each piece of bacon in half.
- Prepare the hollandaise sauce according to the package directions and keep warm.
- Place the muffin halves on a sheet pan and evenly divide the bacon over each muffin. Gently break one egg over each muffin half and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the eggs a cooked to your preference.
- Serves immediately topped with warm hollandaise and garnished with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of paprika.
*Tip: You can use the traditional method of poaching the eggs if you prefer, but this method of baking the eggs is much easier and great for entertaining.
The Benefits of Honey
What other benefits will honey contribute to humankind? The mysteries that scientist are yet to discover about this sweet and beautifully shaded substance is still unknown. Its outstanding properties continue to amaze and delight us. No other sweet substance can last in a pot for 3000 years and still be safe for human consumption.
In closing, my favorite way to use honey is dipping a spoon into a jar, and placing same soon in my mouth. Yum!