Have you purchased honey recently? If your store or farmer’s market is anything like mine, you’ve likely seen an influx in the varieties of honey available. Sure, there’s the traditional honey bear, but sitting around him are honey’s of all kinds – from lavender honey to orange blossom honey. With over 300 type of honey available in the United States, it’s no wonder your honey-buying experience just got a little more exciting.
Honey and Flavor
The cool thing about honey is that it’s flavor is strictly dictated by the flowers it visits. So, if a beekeeper wants lavender honey, you can expect to see plenty of lavender plants for her bees to play on. Because bees “dine on” different types of flowers, that means their ratios of fructose, glucose, amino acids and organic acids vary. That variation leads to that different, delicious flavor.
Large versus Farmer
Luckily, it’s as easy as it has ever been to purchase local ingredients at stores these days. That means your local beekeeper’s honey may be stocked on store shelves. And it might be worth it to pick up local honey or honey from farmer’s markets says Sydney Barton, Operations Manager at Chicago Honey Co-op. Sydney says that “while all honey is produced by beekeepers, large honey companies buy honey and heat it to high temperatures which destroy the pollen residues and flavor profiles originally found in the honey. They do this to make sure the honey is a consistent flavor and sometimes to hide the origin of the honey. Honey sold at farmers markets is more likely to be unheated (raw) and produced locally.” She also recommends asking the the beekeeper about their practices and the nectar sources of the honey they are selling. The choice is ultimately yours, but supporting your local beekeeper is never a bad thing.
Honey, Nutritionally Speaking.
From a nutritional standpoint, honey is a sweetener, composed of mostly sugar (about 80% with the other 20% being water), so use it smartly. Honey can lightly sweeten everything from your morning tea to that bowl of oatmeal. A 1 tablespoon serving is approximately 60 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of sugar. But in most cases, you’ll need far less than that to get the flavor. So stick with about 1 teaspoon when adding to beverages or foods.
The Honey Recipe Round Up
Looking for some good honey recipes? We thought so! We’ve included some of our favorite dietitian-approved recipes that highlight the numerous ways you can use honey!
- Honey-Orange Glazed Figs from Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club.
- Matcha Almond Cookies from Karman Meyer, RD, LDN, recipe developer and blogger at The Nutrition Adventure.
- Ginger Miso Turkey Burgers with Honey-Soy Glaze from Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, founder of Small Bites by Jessica.
- Hawaiian Chicken Cauliflower “Fried” Rice from Julie Harrington, RD, Culinary Nutrition Consultant of RDelicious Kitchen.
- Grilled Apricots with Honey Whipped Cream from Brittany Poulson of Your Choice Nutrition.
- Blueberry Spinach Smoothie from Jodie Danen, RDN, Creator of Lunch Bites lunch box note cards and author of Create Kids Club
- Orange Honey Cheesecake Bars from E.A. Stewart, RD, of Spicy RD Nutrition.
- Honey Mint Green Iced Tea from Katie Morford, RD, author of Rise and Shine: Better Breakfasts for Busy Mornings and Best Lunch Box Ever.
- Sweet and Spicy Sesame Dressing from Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, Nutrition Communications Consultant at ShawSimpleSwaps.com
- Honey Almond Flax Granola from Aggie Goodman of Aggie’s Kitchen.
- Best Ever Grain-Free Chocolate Cake from Gretchen Brown, RD, author of Fast & Simple Gluten Free.
- Chipotle Honey Lime Almonds from Meme Inge, RDN, of Living Well Nutrition Consulting.
- Grilled Summer Fruit Sundaes from Jenny Shea Rawn, MS, MPH, RD, Cape-Cod based RD, nutrition communications consultant and healthy food blogger at My Cape Cod Kitchen.
- Whole Wheat Turmeric Honey Doughnuts from Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, author of Nourish Your Namaste: How Nutrition and Yoga Can Support Digestion, Immunity, Every and Relaxation.
- Grilled Chicken and Peach Kebabs With Honey Mustard Glaze from Rachael Wallace Hartley, RD, private practice dietitian and blogger at The Joy of Eating.
- Honey Roasted Fig Parfaits from Katie Oberwager, author of the blog 24 Carrot Life.
- Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread from Jenna Braddock, RDN, author of JennaBraddock.com.
Share your questions/recipe subsitutions/best practice in the comments section below. Be sure to also download Luvo’s 7-day meal and fitness plan for more nutrition tips and recipes.