Widely found in nature and in stores too, honey is one superfood that our parents, and many generations before that have been using for curing ailments, and have always taught us the importance of. One of the best things about honey is that it can be stored for long times without being damaged in any way.
Honey is mainly 17 percent water and two important sugars (38 percent fructose and 31 percent glucose). It also contains many minerals, vitamins and proteins, some of which have antibacterial and antioxidant properties. One tablespoon of honey contains about 64 calories.
Honey has been used to heal burns and wounds because it contains many antiseptic compounds such as hydrogen peroxide and bee defesin-1. It can also prevent infections from cuts and stimulate new tissue growth. It also contains good bacteria which adds to the healing process.
A teaspoon of honey has always been used to cure and calm a sore throat better than most medicines because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The effect is heightened when it is taken with tea or lemon juice.
Other than these, taking honey on a regular basis can help reduce gastric disturbances, provide lots of energy and help boost our immune systems.
The pollen, potassium, and acids found in honey help with digestion and cures diarrhoea in children.
Honey can also aid in increasing haemoglobin, and prevent anaemia.
It contains lots of minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorous which are important for a healthy blood sugar balance.
The antibacterial properties also help cure skin infections and promote healthier skin when applied.
Taking honey mixed in milk or tea, before going to bed can help a person relax and provide better sleep. It can also soothe headaches.
KNOW YOUR HONEY
To get the best in the market, look out for the 'fizz' when you open a bottle or jar of honey. Although a very subtle indication, this is a common property of all natural forms of the superfood.
One could also check with the spoon test, where you can drop some honey onto a flat surface. If it dribbles instead of running with a continuous flow it has water mixed in and is not completely pure.
VANILLA HONEY CARAMELS
1½ cup of sugar
½ cup of honey
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup of heavy cream
½ cup salted butter
In a large pot mix in the sugar, honey and the vanilla extract. Mix them in together using a rubber or wooden spoon. Turn the heat to medium low, and keep cooking until all the sugar has melted. Once the sugar melts, turn up the heat to medium again, and keep cooking till it caramelises into a deep amber colour. Once it starts to boil do not mix it, instead swirl it slowly using the pans handle. This prevents the caramel from burning, or cooking too fast in some areas.
While the caramel cooks, place the cream in a saucepan. Once it simmers take it off and set it aside. When the caramel darkens, slow the heat again, and add in bits of butter at a time. As the butter melts, add in the cream, and keep stirring until everything is smooth. Turn the heat up once more to medium so that the caramel is liquid enough to pour, pour it onto parchment lined cookie paper.
Let it sit for a few minutes, then sprinkle on some salt to taste. The whole thing might take a few hours to solidify, and can be cut into candy like pieces.
HONEY GARLIC BAKED CAULIFLOWER
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 large eggs, whisked
The sauce —
6 tbsp honey
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp onion powder
6 tbsp water and 2 tsp corn-starch
1½ tbsp low sodium soy sauce
½ tbsp chilli sauce
Preheat oven to 400F, set whisked eggs and bread crumbs aside in separate bowls. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip the cauliflower in the eggs, followed by coating them in the crumbs and setting them on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cauliflowers are brown and crunchy. While the vegetable cooks, make the sauce on the stove. Dissolve corn-starch in water in a bowl, and add the sauce ingredients in a separate pan with water and let it simmer.
When it does add in the corn starch and stir them in until it simmers again. Allow the sauce to thicken and cool. Drizzle it over freshly baked crunchy cauliflower.
Recipe and photo: Collected