Making the most of your honey harvest

Beyond toast - our favourite sweet and savoury honey receipes

Honey on toast is a classic – but it’s not the only way to use honey. It can also be an alternative sweetener in baking, as a glaze for roast meats, in savoury dressing and sauces, and even in cocktails. It’s a versatile ingredient that adds a sweet, subtle flavour to a huge range of dishes.

If you’re a beekeeper with an excess of honey, giving jars to friends, family, and neighbours is an option – but you can also look for new ways to use your harvest at home.

Here are some different uses for honey in the kitchen:

Better baking

Use honey as an alternative sweetener in some baking. It doesn’t just replace the sweetness, but also adds a unique flavour and richness – particularly if you use strongly flavoured types like manuka.

Honey tends to be more intensely sweet than sugar, so if you’re swapping it out, you don’t need quite as much – replace each cup of sugar with around half a cup of honey. Honey adds moisture in a way that refined sugar doesn’t, so it helps to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe as well.

Want to really bring out the honey flavour? Try this classic Devonshire Honey Cakeor this unusual layered Russian version.

Decadent desserts

Baking isn’t the only way to make the most of honey’s natural sweetness. It can also jazz up all kinds of desserts.

Drizzle slightly warmed honey over ice cream or fruit salad, or try your hand at this simple honey-flavoured home-made ice cream. You can use honey instead of sugar for a classy crumble topping.

For a simple but rich dessert, try this:

Honey-baked fruit

·4-5 apples or stone fruit – peaches or nectarines work well

·¼ cup of melted honey

·¼ cup orange juice

·Zest of one orange

·Pinch of cinnamon

Core and halve your apples or stone fruit. Melt your honey and mix with the orange juice, zest, and cinnamon. Toss the fruit with the honey mixture, then spread out in a large oven-proof dish and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or mascarpone.

Sweet ingredient, savoury recipes

Honey and meat may sound like strange bedfellows, but they can bring out the best in each other. Used sparingly as an ingredient in savoury dishes, honey’s rich sweetness helps balance spicy, salty flavours.

Honey can be used as part of a glaze for roast meats. Its natural sweetness brings out flavours in the meat, and its low browning point means it looks golden and delicious when it’s done. This Honey-glazed Roast Pork is a great example.

For more of an everyday recipe, try this simple honey-soy stir fry.

Simple honey-soy stir fry

Make a stir fry sauce by combining:

·¼ cup of soy sauce

·2 TBS honey

·2-3 cloves of crushed or grated garlic

·½ to 1 small red chilli, finely chopped

·Knob of finely grated ginger

·2 tsp corn-starch

Cook your meat on a high temperature, then remove from the pan and set aside. Cook your vegetables next, then return the meat to the pan and add the sauce for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time and stir until thickened slightly.

A similar honey-soy-garlic mix can be used as a marinade for chicken, beef, or pork.

Spice up your salads

Being able to make a great salad dressing is a valuable skill. If you have the right ingredients in your fridge and pantry, it’s simple – and honey is one of them. The sweetness of honey, combined with acid from vinegar or lemon juice and salt or spice helps balance out your dressing and bring out the best in your veggies.

You can use a creamy honey-mustard dressing on roast veggies, a honey-balsamic vinaigrette for green salads, or make this super simple honey-lemon dressing for almost any salad.

The simplest salad dressing with honey

·¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

·2 TBS lemon juice

·1 TBS honey

·Pinch or two of sea salt

·Good grind of pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, or shake in a small lidded jar til combined. Toss through any type of green salad.

Liquid honey

One truly unusual – and enjoyable – way to get through your honey stash? Cocktails. Honey lends a warm, rich sweetness to cocktails and mixed drinks.

Straight honey is too thick to just throw into your cocktail shaker, so the first step is making a honey syrup. Simply mix half a cup of honey with a quarter of a cup of boiling water, then cool before use. This syrup can be used as a substitute for simple syrup in most drinks.

Use your honey syrup to make the appropriately named Bees Knees cocktail, which combines gin, lemon juice, and honey for a sweet-sour kick. Or if you’re more of a rum person, try the Goldrush, which uses honey syrup, lemon juice, and bourbon.

Get creative

Of course, there are many more ways to use honey in your kitchen – the only limit is your creativity. If you have a surfeit of honey that you’re keen to use, don’t be afraid to try something new.

Need more information about beekeeping? Get in touch with the experts at Ecrotek.