Minggu, 03 Juni 2012

HONEY Sweetly Sticky and Oh So Flavorful


HONEY
Sweetly Sticky and Oh So Flavorful

By Bryan Roof, RD, LDN
“Honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.” (Proverbs 24:13b) While writing this article, my elbows were appropriately stuck to my kitchen table, thanks to the remnants of honey that doused my kids’ Saturday morning French toast and berries.

There’s honey on the chairs, too—and the fl oor. Ever since Bee Movie and its willy-nilly use of honey for everything from hair gel to gasoline, my kids see nothing wrong with spreading it everywhere. And despite our best efforts to clean it up, they grossly under appreciate its stickiness.

Domesticated European honeybees make most of the honey we eat and spread on the furniture. They start by collecting nectar from fl owers and bringing it back to the hive. Once home, they ingest and regurgitate the nectar repeatedly, which enzymatically breaks down the sucrose within the nectar into its main components of glucose and fructose.

 It’s through this process that the honey is created. From there, it’s stored in a wax honeycomb in the hive to allow excess water to evaporate, a process the bees hasten by fanning the honeycomb with their wings. Honey is graded by color, with the characteristic clear, golden amber often commanding a higher retail price than darker varieties. Honey fl avor, however, differs as a result of the fl ower varieties from which the nectar is harvested.

Clover, tupelo, and orange blossom honey are derived from nectar specifi cally from those types of fl owers, whereas wildfl ower honey comes from an assortment of fl owers. Honey is available most often in raw or pasteurized form. Raw honey is unprocessed, meaning it’s removed from the hive and bottled. It will contain trace amounts of yeast, wax, and pollen.

Consuming raw honey is believed to lessen the effects of seasonal allergies. Pasteurized honey has been heated and processed to remove impurities and kill any potentially harmful bacteria. However, it still may contain botulinum endospores, so you shouldn’t give it to children under 12 months of age due to the inability of their immature digestive systems to destroy the spores.

When it comes to cooking—and baking in particular—honey can be problematic and isn’t necessarily a straight swap for sugar. Honey is sweeter and more hygroscopic (water absorbing) than sugar, which can cause excess browning and moisture in the fi nished product. Making a honey swap in savory dishes is a little more reliable, but experimentation is key—and luckily my kids are always happy to volunteer for kitchen experiments.

There could be worse things, I suppose, than wiping up a slightly tacky table after a well-devoured breakfast. And while I like to think that my closely guarded French toast recipe is the reason for my kids’ mealtime enjoyment, I know they really just love honey. Incidentally, they hate maple syrup—and I happen to buy the good stuff.
— Bryan Roof, RD, LDN, is a chef, dietitian,
and food writer living in Boston.


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