By DEBRA J. MORRIS
Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association
California honey is a wonderful source of quick energy and is also valued for its antioxidant properties. It is composed primarily of carbohydrates and water, and also contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
Make sure you are purchasing pure California honey. Many jars of honey in grocery stores have been found to have added sugar and high fructose corn syrup! The FDA is currently creating new guidelines for labeling these “blends” as not pure honey. We’ll keep you updated.
Cooking with Honey
For best results, use recipes developed for using honey. When substituting honey for granulated sugar in recipes, begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe. With a little experimentation, honey can replace all the sugar in some recipes.
Because of its high fructose content, honey has a higher sweetening power than sugar. This means you can use less honey than sugar to achieve the desired sweetness. When measuring honey, coat the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil before adding the honey. The honey will slide right out. A 12-ounce jar of honey equals a standard measuring cup.
Store honey at room temperature – your kitchen counter or pantry shelf is ideal. For practical purposes, a shelf life of two years is often stated. If your honey crystallizes, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Or, place the honey in a microwave-safe container with the lid off and microwave it, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve.
Note: Honey should not be fed to infants who are under one year of age. Honey is a safe and wholesome food for older children and adults.
Find pure California honey at the year-round Sunday Farmers Markets in Martinez.
Classic Honey Mustard Dressing
1-1/4 cups fat-free mayonnaise
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup finely minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.