MI just realized after I read this that I was always microwaving my honey so if you already know this stuff it is just a reminder and if I show someone that didn't know then here you go.
Natural Honey has been used by mankind for 2500 years. It's numerous health benefits have made it an important part of traditional medicines.
In many foods and drinks, sugar can be replaced with honey. The sugars in honey are very easily digested.
Honey provides us with some trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, depending upon the flowers the bees used. It needs to be treated with care, and , unless using it in baking, should not be heated above 140 degrees, since higher temperatures may destroy some nutrients and cause darkening of the honey. (Using a microwave oven to soften crystallized honey should be avoided.) The most gentle method of softening honey is to place the contained honey in a bowl of boiling water, replacing the cooled water again and again with boiling water. This can take all day! (You can also put it out in the sun on a warm day.)
The flavors and colors of honey are varied, depending on the plants from which the bees feed. Generally the lighter the honey, the milder the flavor.
Honey has antioxidants, as do most fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are non-nutritive agents that can decrease the activity of cell-damaging free radicals. (Free radicals have been linked with many chronic diseases.) The darker varieties of honey, in particular, can contain large quantities of a particular antioxidant called flavonoids. these are the same substances, found in red grapes, that have been linked with the lower risk of heart disease. Honey is also a preservative and can slow rancidity in foods.
Although honey is used as an affective dressing on infected wounds, burns and ulcers, the honey purchased for culinary purposes should not be used in this manner, as it contains spores that may cause infection. The honey used in wound healing has been sterilized, generally with gamma radiation.
While honey's nutritional value may be less than some like to believe, it has many other desirable properties.
Here are some tips the newsletter listed:
To replace sugar with honey in a recipe, substitute 3/4 of a cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar and reduce the liquid 1/4 cup, or add 1/4 cup additional flour.
For culinary uses, one cup of honey is considered the equivalent of 1 1/4 cup of sugar.
Berry Flavored Honey
16 oz light colored honey
1 1/2 cups raspberries or strawberries
In a small saucepan stir honey until warmed through. Gently stir in berries. Pour into heat-proof jar. Cool to room temperature. Cover tightly. Let stand at room temperature 3 days, then refrigerate. This makes a thin product, more like a syrup than honey. Serve it over waffles, pancakes, or with nut breads. KEEP REFRIDERATED.
*courtesy of The Wooden Spoon Newsletter April 4, 2007 Vol.2 No. 8