Friday, September 23, 2011

Honey, I love you

I've been away for a while because of a series of unfortunate events and a work load that would make your head spin. I really don't even have time to write today, but I just have to. It's cathartic. I guess you could say that I am reaching to food for comfort, even if it is only writing about it. Today I wanted to write about honey. 

I've loved honey since I was a little kid. It reminds me of my dad and he's in the hospital right now, so I want to dedicate this post to him.

My earliest recollection of eating honey was when Dad would take a banana, mash it with a fork, mix in some plain yogurt and wheat germ, and drizzle a little honey on top. I loved it. I was most likely eating it while watching "I Love Lucy".

Today, I still eat it as an afternoon snack, or for breakfast, except that I now use ground flaxseeds instead of wheat germ and sometimes add walnuts or sunflower seeds for a little crunch.

As I did some reading about this golden elixir, I didn't realize that honey is really a seasonal food. That's because it's dependent on the flowers available to the bees in spring and summer. But since honey can be stored indefinitely, it is available to us year round. Thank goodness for that. Did you know that honey is the only food that doesn't spoil? It may crystallize, but that can easily be remedied by immersing the honey jar in a little warm water till it liquefies again. 

Though honey is metabolized as sugar when it enters the body, it still remains a healthier alternative than "the white stuff". Honey is natural, whereas sugar is processed and refined, stripped of any nutritional value. Honey contains more than 180 different substances the complex interrelation of which makes artificial production impossible. It contains minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants, all of which sugar cannot claim.

Honey has been used for thousands of years for medicinal and religious purposes. It is often "prescribed" for sore throat, upset stomach, allergies, and diabetic ulcers. It can be applied topically on wounds. When applied to the skin, I read, hydrogen peroxide is produced and acts as an antiseptic.

Honey comes in various grades: light, medium, dark and amber. Each type has a distinctive flavor, depending on the source of the nectar. Honey from Europe tastes different than many honeys here and that's what's so interesting about travelling and tasting foods in other countries - the regional differences.

Another (and extremely important) reason to eat more honey is to show support to our bees. Seriously! Bees are responsible for 75% of our food supply. They pollinate flowers but also plants, many of which we eat, and the dwindling bee population has many scientists and farmers quite concerned about our food supply.

I recently saw this recipe at If you have some honey at home, consider making this while stone fruit is still available. Today is the first day of Fall, so make it soon before the fruit disappears.

Grilled Peaches with Honey-Almond StreuselENLARGE IMAGEPhoto: Leah Koenig


1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. acacia (or other light) honey
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup acacia honey, plus more for drizzling
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 firm peaches, halved and pitted
Canola oil or cooking spray for grilling


1. Make the streusel: Process almonds in a food processor until fine and flour-like. Add flour, sugar, honey, zest and ginger powder and pulse to combine. Add butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; be careful not to over-process. Set aside. 

2. Preheat outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Whisk together lemon juice, honey and cinnamon in a bowl. Add peach halves and gently toss to coat.

3. Brush grill or grill pan with oil, or coat with cooking spray; lay peaches face down and grill until softened and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Brush domes with more of the lemon-honey mixture, flip with tongs and grill on other side, 2-3 minutes. 

4. Preheat the broiler and set your oven rack in the highest position. Lay grilled peaches face up in a 9x13 baking dish. Spoon a generous amount of streusel onto each peach half. Broil until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; serve drizzled with additional honey.

Now the tables are turned, Dad, and I'll be feeding it to you as you recover from surgery. As soon as you can swallow again, I'll be mashing you a banana, mixing it with yogurt and flaxseeds (or wheat germ, if you prefer) and drizzling it with honey. The calcium, omega 3's and carbohydrates will be good for you, as they were for me when my body was growing and getting stronger. Hang in there.

1 comment :

  1. I don't like sweet things, but I loved your wonderful tribute to your Dad. I hope he'll soon be able to swallow the sweet things you will feed him.


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