Honey, a delicious alternative, is a natural sweetener that can easily be overlooked with the prolific use of artificial sweeteners and granulated sugar. Refined sugar became an inexpensive choice for many, pushing the use of honey further from the spotlight, with the natural goodness and benefits remaining unknown to many. The harvesting and use of honey dates back many thousands of years, some may say the practice dates back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans. It is believed in ancient Egyptian times, it was used as a natural sweetener for many of their foods; honey was even used as a sacrifice to their gods, even as an embalming agent.
The body tolerates honey better than other sweeteners, which results in better blood sugar control, one of the hidden treasures of the sweet nectar. Honey is a perfect complement for cooking, baking and other culinary uses. Some make beer with honey, often called honey beer or honey wine, typically known as mead, has been a favorite and popular beverage over the years. Spices and herbs give the beverage a very distinctive subtle flavor, and depending on the variety of flowers used, produce an unforgettable, impressive brew.
Floral Sources and Varieties
There are just about as many varieties of honey as there are blossoms and flowers. Honey is classified by the floral source, that is, the flowers available for the bees to produce the honey. Just to name a few, one of the more popular varieties is Clover honey, it has a mild, pleasant taste, and is available in many parts of the world. Buckwheat honey is mainly produced in eastern United States and Canada, not as readily available, but is known for its rich content of antioxidants. It is dark in hue, naturally spicy, and a bit stronger in taste as compared to a lighter honey. The delicate, buttery taste of Firewood honey is a great replacement for artificial sweeteners or granulated sugar, which easily blends well and great for baking, glazing, or any number of styles of cooking. It is a mild popular honey found in the woods of Northwest United States. Orange blossom honey is produced locally in the States, as well as Spain and Mexico, it has a subtle citrus scent with a fresh clean light fruit flavor. Macadamia honey comes from its namesake, the Macadamia Nut tree. The honey has a deep color, and teases the palate with a light nutty savory flavor. There are many varieties of honey to explore and enjoy.
Benefits of Honey
The hidden treasures of honey have been known in many parts of the world for centuries and have been used for many conditions and ailments. Honey has antibacterial as well as antiseptic properties and when added to warm water with a small amount of cinnamon powder relieves itchy skin and helps reduce the pain and inflammation from insect bites. A topical use of honey and cinnamon has been shown to give relief, with regular use, from other skins conditions, such as eczema. The use of honey instead of jam or other sweeteners helps reduce cholesterol, and with regular use on toast or other bread, helps to unclog the arteries. One study found that a regular cup of hot water with a couple of spoons of honey, combined with a small portion of cinnamon powder helps relieve the pain of arthritis. People susceptible to colds can enjoy relief of cold symptoms with a spoon of warm honey mixed with a small amount of cinnamon powder. Honey is a time-honored treatment for soothing sore throats and helps relieve coughs. The golden liquid mixed with a little cinnamon has been shown to get rid of the germs that result in bladder infections. Honey helps the immune system as well as helps to heal burns.
There are many benefits of honey that are worth exploring. The list is long, varied and fascinating, and the history surrounding this remarkable food is just as intriguing.