It is National Pollinator Week, which means it is a time to recognize and celebrate the bees, butterflies, moths, wasps and birds that play a crucial role in agriculture. Without pollinators, we wouldn’t have the bountiful harvests we enjoy today.
Bees, which are often called the spark plugs of agriculture, also provide us with delicious honey. Ancient Greeks called honey food for the gods. As bees spend this time of year making honey in their hives, honey could be seen as the essence of summer.
The N.C. Beekeepers Association provides us with the following tips for cooking with honey and a few recipes to enjoy this summer.
- The lighter the honey the milder the flavor. If a stronger flavor is desired in your recipe, use a darker honey.
- Store honey at room temperature. Honey that is stored in the refrigerator will crystallize more rapidly. Honey does not spoil.
- To get rid of crystals in honey, place the jar in warm tap water and stir until crystals dissolve.
- If you want to substitute sugar for honey in a recipe, use half the amount of honey for the amount of sugar needed. Honey has a higher sweetening power so not as much is needed.
- Moisten a measuring spoon or cup first with water, oil, or an egg before measuring honey to prevent it from sticking to the measuring utensil.
Honey Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon brown sugar
Blend everything well and refrigerate until ready to use.
Ginger Honey Salad Dressing
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
Shake ingredients in covered container. 70 calories per tablespoon.
Balsamic Honey Mustard Dressing
- 1/3 cup red balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Whisk vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk constantly until smooth.
For more information on how the N.C Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is working to increase pollinator habitats, visit www.ncagr.gov/pollinators.