Week 3: Honey

5 lbs of Honey and 1.25 lbs of Molasses


After this week, you should have 3 lbs of Honey and 1.25 lbs of Molasses stored. The program goal is 10 lbs of honey and 1.25 lbs of Molasses.
We will address Honey one more time (in week 22). This is the only week we address Molasses.

Honey and molasses are two traditional sweeteners with considerable similarities and differences. If you are unfamiliar with these ingredients, you might be surprised about what they have in common and how they differ.

The main difference between honey and molasses has to do with their sources. Honey comes from the nectar in flowers and is made by bees while molasses is a byproduct of sugar being crystallized from sugarcane or sugar beet juice.

The flavor profiles of honey and molasses are very different due to their different sources. Honey’s flavor is mostly floral, but it can have notes of the flowers that the bees visited to draw nectar. As a result, the flavor of honey can differ from location to location. The honey from bees that visited orange blossoms won’t taste the same as honey from bees that visited clover plants.

In comparison, all sugarcane molasses has a deep caramel/toffee flavor with a hint of bitterness. The depth of the caramel/toffee taste and the bitterness vary depending on the stage in the sugar production process. The first boiling of the sugar cane juice will produce light molasses, which has a sweeter taste to molasses from the second and third boilings. Both honey and molasses are sweet, but honey is noticeably sweeter and lacks the bitterness that molasses provides.

Honey

This wonderfully rich golden liquid is the miraculous product of honey bees and a naturally delicious alternative to white sugar. In addition to its reputation as Nature’s nutritive sweetener, research also indicates that honey’s unique composition makes it useful as an antimicrobial agent and antioxidant.

Selection:

Raw honey that has not been pasteurized, clarified, or filtered - provided it is of the highest organic quality - is your best choice. Look for honey that states “100% pure.” While regular honey is translucent, creamy honey is usually opaque and is made by adding finely crystallized honey back into liquid honey. Specialty honeys, made from the nectar of different flowers, such as thyme and lavender, are also available. Remember that the darker the color, the deeper the flavor.

Warning: The quality of “raw” honey is a function of the plants and environment from which pollen, saps, nectars and resins were gathered. Other substances found in the environment - including traces of heavy metals, pesticides, and antibiotics - have been shown to appear in honey.

Do not feed honey-containing products or use honey as a flavoring to infants.

  • Note: Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey (The Bear which we buy at Walmart) is packing only 100% pure raw unfiltered honey.

Benefits:

  • Kosher approved

  • Helps control allergies

  • Good for replacing sugar

  • A good sweetener that can be used in coffee, tea, and smoothies

  • Honey is composed primarily of carbohydrates and water, and also contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins and minerals

  • Carbohydrate ingestion prior to, during, and after exercise enhances athletic performance and speeds recovery

Storage:

It is important to keep honey stored in an airtight container so that it doesn’t absorb moisture from the air. Honey stored in a cool dry place will keep almost indefinitely. One reason for this is that its high sugar content and acidic pH help to inhibit microorganism growth. Honey that is kept at colder temperatures tends to thicken, while honey that is kept at higher temperatures has a tendency to darken and have an altered flavor.

Crystallization:

Crystallization is the natural process by which the glucose in honey precipitates out of the liquid honey. Different varieties of honey will crystallize at different rates, and a few not at all. If your honey crystallizes, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve; or place the honey container, with the cap open, into hot water (I try not to exceed 160° as some plastic containers will melt if exposed to higher temperatures); or place the honey in a microwave-safe container with the lid off and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve. Be careful not to boil or scorch the honey as this alters its taste by increasing its hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content. Also keep in mind that you can eat the honey in a crystallized form. Just scoop out of the jar and spread it on your toast or use it as a sweetener!

Substitutions:

Honey makes a good replacement for sugar in most recipes. Since honey is sweeter than sugar, you can use less (one-half to three-quarters of a cup for each cup of sugar). For each cup of sugar replaced, you should also reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-quarter of a cup. In addition, reduce the cooking temperature by 25ºF since honey causes foods to brown more easily.

  • 1 tsp regular sugar = 1/2 to 3/4 tsp honey or molasses

  • 1 cup Corn Syrup = 1 cup Honey

For each cup of honey, decrease liquid called for in recipe by 1/4 cup. In baked goods, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey substituted and lower the baking temperature by 25ºF. For cookie recipes using eggs and no additional liquid, increase the flour by about 2 tablespoons per cup of honey. Chill before shaping and baking. Half of the sugar in cakes can be replaced with honey. Two-thirds of the sugar in fruit bars can be replaced with honey. When making cakes or cookies, first mix honey with the fat or the liquid, then mix in other ingredients. If this is not done, a soggy layer may form on the top of the baked product.

Quick Cooking Ideas:

  • Use honey in place of table sugar as a sweetener.

  • Drizzle apple slices with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.

  • To enjoy sweetened yogurt without excess sugar, mix a little honey into plain yogurt.

  • A delicious sandwich that is enjoyed by kids of all ages is a combination of peanut (or almond) butter, with bananas and honey.

  • In a saucepan over low heat, combine soymilk, honey and unsweetened dark chocolate to make a deliciously nutritious chocolate “milk” drink.

Bees use an enzyme known as glucose oxidase to make honey. Glucose oxidase breaks glucose (sugar) down into hydrogen peroxide, making it a great anti-septic used to fight germs. The amount of hydrogen peroxide is limited, occurring where the moisture contacts the honey, creating a fine oxidizing layer which literally “rusts” the germs to death…along with dehydrating them. Honey’s slight acidic Ph (between 3.5 and 4) also discourages the growth of bacteria.

Honey as an antiseptic???

Honey (like sugar) is hygroscopic (draws moisture from its surroundings) in nature, and through osmosis, kills bacteria. Bacteria that come into contact with honey lose their moisture content through osmosis to the surrounding honey and die. You can apply honey (or sugar) to a would as it will act as an antiseptic. Place it directly on wound. Honey (and sugar) over time loses its hygroscopic ability along with its bacteria killing osmotic pressure. Clean thoroughly and reapply. This may have to be repeated several times.

The U.S Army Field Manual 3-05.70 Survival:

  • Sugar— place directly on wound and remove thoroughly when it turns into a glazed and runny substance. Then reapply.

  • Bee honey— use it straight or dissolved in water.

  • Syrup— in extreme circumstances, some of the same benefits of honey and sugar can be realized with any high-sugar-content item.

ScienceDaily (Oct. 19, 2007):

Honey has a number of properties that make it effective against bacterial growth, including its high sugar content, low moisture content, gluconic acid — which creates an acidic environment — and hydrogen peroxide. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 7, 2006):

Substantial evidence demonstrates that honey, one of the oldest healing remedies known to medicine, produces effective results when used as a wound dressing. Scientists performed 22 trials involving 2,062 patients treated with honey, as well as an additional 16 trials that were performed on experimental animals. Honey was found to be beneficial as a wound dressing in the following ways:

  • Honey’s antibacterial quality not only rapidly clears existing infection; it protects wounds from additional infection.

  • Honey debrides wounds and removes malodor.

  • Honey’s anti-inflammatory activity reduces edema and minimizes scarring.

  • Honey stimulates growth of granulation and epithelial tissues to speed healing

Who knew???

Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a dark, viscous syrup with a bittersweet flavor. It is the byproduct of the refining of sugar cane into table sugar. The darker the molasses, the more crystalline sugar has been removed. Until white sugar became popular, molasses was the sweetener of choice.

Benefits & Uses:

  • Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you. Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup (which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive individuals), blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health.

  • Boost your energy with molasses. Not only does it taste good, but it’s also a rich source of iron (one tablespoon contains 4.5gms of iron), which means it’s particularly good for pregnant or menstruating women, vegetarians and people suffering from anemia. It’s much healthier than many other sources of iron because it is low in calories and completely fat free. Molasses is also a rich source of calcium, which strengthens bones, teeth and heart muscles. It’s also rich in copper, manganese and potassium.

  • The easiest way to use blackstrap molasses is to dissolve a teaspoon full in a glass of water and drink it every day.

  • Baste your Thanksgiving turkey with molasses for a rich roasted flavor, golden brown color and crispy skin.

  • Add a tablespoon of molasses to vegetables or meat stock to make a base for soups and stews.

  • Spread a thin layer of molasses over buttered toast. It makes a great energizing breakfast.

  • Molasses gives a great, rich flavor to cookies and cakes and goes especially well with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

  • Jazz up a baked potato by mixing 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses with 2 tablespoons of nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Brush over the potatoes and bake for a sweet taste.

  • Use its distinctive flavor in a marinade for spare ribs or barbecue sauce.

  • Stir a couple of teaspoons of molasses into your baked beans for a traditional, hearty flavor.

  • The best choice in blackstrap molasses is the organic kind because it has no added sulfur, as some people are sensitive to this chemical.

Cooking Tips:

  • If surface mold develops, remove with a spoon.

  • If a recipe is non-specific, use dark molasses.

  • Coat utensils and measuring cups with cooking spray; molasses will be easier to stir and pour.

  • Some crystallization may occur with age. To remove, place in saucepan, heat on low, and stir gently.

  • When using darker molasses, foods will change color accordingly. Lower the baking temperature (no more than 25ºF) to prevent an unpleasant darkening.

Storage:

Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or cool area. Unopened jars will last up to a year, while opened containers will last for six months.

Substitutions:

Cane molasses is a common ingredient in baking, often used in baked goods such as gingerbread cookies. There are a number of substitutions that can be made for molasses: for a cup of molasses the following may be used (with varying degrees of success):

  • 1 cup honey

  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar

  • 1 cup dark corn syrup

  • 1 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 cup water

  • 1 cup pure maple syrup.

Also try:

  • 1 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup molasses

  • 1 teaspoon regular sugar = 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon honey or molasses

  • 1 cup regular sugar = 1 cup molasses plus 1/2 teaspoon soda (omit baking powder or use very little).

  • Substitute molasses for no more than half the sugar. Reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of molasses.

Overview:

Switching from nutrient-poor sweeteners like white sugar or corn syrup, or from potentially harmful fake sweeteners like aspartame or saccharin to nutrient-dense blackstrap molasses is one simple way that eating healthy can sweeten your life.

Page updated: 10/13/20