Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's a matter of.....Honey

(Image courtesy of sushizombie.files.wordpress.com)

Since our topic is Honey this week, let's learn more about it. Some folks are curious how to store honey....
is there anything special that has to be done?
What type of shelf-life does it have, etc?

Containers: Glass is preferred, however Stainless Steele and Food Grade Plastic are also recommended. Honey reportedly can absorb particles from non-food grade plastic or metals, so the afore-mentioned materials are best. Also, metal can oxidize honey.

Temperature: Honey should be stored at room temperature and not in a refrigerated environment. Store between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit

Light: Store in a dark location, consider wrapping a clear container in a bag to avoid light. Honey can deteriorate when exposed to light for long periods of time.

• Honey can absorb orders and moisture

Crystallization: Honey can turn cloudy or crystallize. Raw Honey will crystallize faster than pasteurized honey. To use, either place the glass jar and warm in a pan of hot water on the stove, or place the non-metallic container in the microwave to melt. In the microwave, heat for 20-30 seconds at a time to avoid boiling the honey.

Equivalents:  One pound of honey is about 1-1/3 cups. A 3-pound container holds about 4 cups honey.

Using in recipes: Some recipes use honey as the main sweetener; others use sugar. Honey can be used to replace some of the sugar called for in many recipes. Use these guidelines for cakes and cookies. Cakes: One-half of the sugar in a cake recipe can be replaced with honey. For every 1 cup of sugar replaced, leave out 1/4 cup of liquid. Cookies: The amount of sugar that can be replaced with honey varies with the kind of cookie being made. For brownies, half of the sugar can be replaced. For fruit bars, honey can replace two-thirds of the sugar called for in the recipe. Only one-third of the sugar can be replaced in gingersnaps. When making either cakes or cookies, first mix the honey with the fat or the liquid. Then mix it thoroughly with the other ingredients. If this is not done, a soggy layer will form on the top of the baked product.

Baking:  Products made with honey brown faster than foods made with other sweeteners. So when you bake products made with honey, set the oven temperature 25 degrees Fahrenheit lower than what is indicated in the recipe.

Infants:  Honey and products made with honey must not be fed to infants younger than one year, because honey can cause "infant botulism." Spores of the bacteria that cause botulism are present in honey. When these spores get into the intestinal tract of an infant, they grow and produce a toxin that results in serious illness and death. Remember that these spores in honey are not destroyed by regular cooking or baking methods.

(Sources:  http://www.armadillopeppers.com/how-to-store-honey.html, http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodstorage/a/honeystorage.htm, http://www.slashfood.com/2008/08/30/tip-of-the-day-store-honey-appropriately/. http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=GH1120)

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