Greece produces excellent honey, from thyme, conifer trees, wild flowers or orange blossoms. It has been collected by humans for consumption for over 10,000 years. Even the Gods of Olympus ate “ambrosia” that is honey, and drank “nectar” a liquid produced by plants which is rich in sugar. The bees collect the nectar to make the honey we – and Winnie the Pooh – love so much to eat. And in the Old Testament Israel is referred to as the land of milk and honey! It seems that these people could appreciate the value and goodness of honey.
Honey is healthier than sugar and as its fructose content is high it is much sweeter, therefore you need much less to sweeten your favourite beverage. It is used as food, baked into cakes and biscuits, is drizzled over sweets, used in a variety or recipes or as an ingredient for salad dressings. It is also used for medicinal purposes – think of a warm glass of milk with honey, or a teaspoonful of honey in a cup of tea or chamomile. It is good for a bad cough, and it helps you get a good night’s sleep. Many cough syrups have honey as one of their main ingredients.
And let’s not forget that it is used for cosmetic purposes. There is honey in some shampoos and hand creams. It can be combined with other ingredients such as yogurt and lemon to make lotions straight out of your kitchen.
It is a bit difficult to measure honey for a recipe. It helps if you use cooking spray of vegetable oil on your measuring spoon or cup, before pouring the honey. This way the honey will slide out easily.
Never put the honey in the fridge and always keep it at room temperature. Don’t worry if the honey crystallizes as it is a natural process. The crystals disappear if you place the jar with the honey in warm water for a while. If you can’t wait, you can place the honey in a container that’s microwave-safe and microwave it for 2 – 3 minutes. You must stir it every 30 seconds.
Have you tried walnuts with honey? Or even yogurt with honey. These are marriages made in heaven. Simple and healthy sweets fit for a king and of course the queen and all the princes and princesses!