Honey Tips

Store liquid honey at room temperature away from bright light.  A nice, ceramic honey pot (with a lid!) on your counter or a dark pantry shelf are the perfect places for honey you use regularly. 
Honey will never spoil, but it will crystallize.  Refrigeration speeds crystallization, so don’t store your honey in the fridge!

For longer-term storage, honey can be frozen, which slows the crystallizing process.  If you have a lot of honey, you can place it in the freezer then thaw it when you’re ready to use it.  A good strategy is to transfer the honey to smaller freezer-friendly glass jars, so that you can thaw only as much as you’ll need for a month or so. Let the honey thaw at room temperature in the pantry.

No matter how cold or hot it is outside,  honeybees maintain the temperature of their colonies at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, they bring in water and spread it throughout the colony as a form of air conditioning. In the winter, they cluster together and shiver to keep each other warm.  Because the hive temperature remains around 95 degrees,  to preserve the flavor of honey that has crystallized,  it’s best not to heat it over about 100 degrees.  This takes some patience, but it pays off by protecting the flavor of your honey! 

To liquefy crystallized honey, gently heat it, stirring occasionally as the crystals melt.  You can do this by placing a glass jar of honey in very warm but not boiling water so that the water comes about 1/4 inch below the lip of the jar.  You can also set a microwave to 50 percent power and microwave the honey at 1 minute intervals, stirring after each minute.

tips for baking with honey
Honey is a natural preservative and helps baked goods retain their moisture. In fact, honey is hygroscopic, which means it actually pulls moisture from the air.  There are just few things to keep in mind when baking with honey:

¨ It’s probably wise to begin substituting half of the sugar in a recipe with honey until you figure out what works for you in terms of flavor.  Honey is a bit sweeter than table sugar, so if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, try cutting the sugar to 1/2 cup and adding 1/4 cup of honey. 

¨ For every cup of honey you use,  reduce the liquid by about 1/4 cup and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.  Honey is acidic and the soda helps to bring the ph into balance.   

¨ When baked at high temperatures, honey will scorch, causing baked goods to brown more quickly.  To counter this, reduce the oven temperature called for in the recipe by 25 degrees and be prepared to bake a little longer.  You can also tent with foil half way through the baking to slow browning.

¨ Baked goods made with honey improve in flavor after a day.  Wrap them and store them at room temperature.

¨ To make it easier for honey to release from the measuring cup, first measure whatever oil or shortening is used in the recipe and then use the same measuring cup for the honey.  Alternatively, you can coat the measuring cup with a little cooking spray.