This age-old sweetener is turning up in savory seafood and salads alike
When my father took us to his beehives, the best part was chewing on the honeycomb. The flying bees didn’t upset me, and I was never stung. That said, I do have a healthy respect for both bees and honey. So when I found Liquid Gold raw honey for sale at a Mounts Botanical Garden plant event, I purchased blackberry honey, clover honey and bamboo honey, which sell for about $8 a quarter-pound.
All taste different, and all look different. Honey has sweetened more than tea in our lives, with strides in holistic health encouraging higher consumption of this liquid gold.
The list of benefits from eating local honey—where the bees gather nectar from plants and flowers in your area—include helping with allergies, contributing to soaps and lotions to help retain moisture in your skin, reducing inflammation, acting as an antioxidant, relieving stress and working as a dietary supplement. Bee pollen is high in protein and amino acids, as well as selenium, known to help keep our livers healthy.
Raw honey is the key to the touted health benefits, along with royal jelly (produced from young nurse bees) and propolis (a healing mixture made with pollen).
Clearly the best part is the taste. Other locally produced flavors include honeys made from saw palmetto, buckwheat, wildflowers, lychees, mangrove, orange blossom and the Florida state honey, rare raw tupelo made from a plant along the Apalachicola River near Tallahassee. The hives are carefully placed by the beekeepers away from people and pesticides.
While the most common use for honey is in tea or to help make medicine palatable, it can shine in a recipe or be used as a background ingredient to instill a richness and depth into dishes.
Try a drizzle over your next salmon dish, or use it in a salad dressing. In a sauce for chicken or shrimp, it can crystallize if grilled, adding a sweet crust. Try this recipe for Honey Grilled Shrimp from allrecipes.com. It’s one of my favorites, but I add crushed red pepper to the sauce instead of garlic powder.
HONEY GRILLED SHRIMP
Original recipe yields 3 servings
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or crushed red pepper to taste)
- 1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons Italian-style salad dressing
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails attached
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
In large bowl, mix together garlic powder, black pepper, 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, wine and salad dressing; add shrimp, and toss to coat. Cover, and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat grill for high heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.
In a small bowl, stir together honey, melted butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Set aside for basting.
Lightly oil grill grate. Grill shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque. Baste occasionally with the honey-butter sauce while grilling.
Here are local honey sellers, along with beekeeper organizations.
BEE HEALTHY HONEY FARMS, INC.
7396 Skyline Drive, Delray Beach; 561/921-1475; beehealthyhoneyfarms.com
3111 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561/379-4404; worldsfinestrawhoney.com
LIQUID GOLD RAW HONEY