Annie's Chamorro Kitchen: Raw Honey - The Miracle Nectar
I’ve read many different articles about the health benefits of honey over white, granulated sugar. Honey is high in calories, as is sugar (a teaspoon of honey contains 22 calories; there are 16 calories in a teaspoon of sugar).
So, the question is, IS honey better for you than sugar?
In reading up on the differences between honey and sugar, I learned that both contain fructose and glucose. The difference is that the fructose and glucose in sugar are “hooked” together, whereas the fructose and glucose in honey are “unhooked” or independent units. Why is that important, you ask? Well, I found through my readings is that this is important if you have digestion issues. During digestion, the “unhooked” independent fructose and glucose units in honey get absorbed in our intestinal tracts, while the “hooked” fructose-glucose units in sugar have to first be broken down (into separate units like in honey) before it gets absorbed. The enzymes in our bodies do a good job of breaking down sugar (sucrose) molecules, but not all of them are absorbed. This is where it could cause an issue for some people. (If you have a sensitive stomach, stop reading. I’m going to talk about bacteria in our intestines now.) The sugar molecules that don’t get digested or absorbed in our intestinal tracts feeds the bad bacteria in our intestines. Where this is not so good is when there is an over-population of bad bacteria that feeds off the undigested sugar, which in turn causes some by-products, one of which is the production of different gasses, methane gas among them. Again, putting it simply, you end up farting a lot.:)
It stands to reason that if you substitute honey for sugar in most of your foods, you will be less gassy (your significant other will thank you for this).:)
Another interesting bit of information I found through my readings is fructose is sweeter than glucose, which is one of the reasons fructose is used in so many food products today. However, fructose does not convert to energy as efficiently as glucose. As a result, processed foods containing granulated sugar high in fructose convert to fat more easily than honey. Hmmm…less fat production by using honey in foods? I’m sold!
Actually, I like using honey because it is plain and simply DELICIOUS. Not to mention that I buy my honey from local Colorado bee farmers, and anything I can do to help our local economy, I’m all over it.
Oh, as an added bonus, honey doesn’t spoil! I don’t worry about honey going to waste in my house…we use it up pretty quickly. Luckily for us the Busy Bee Farm in Larkspur, CO is not too far from where we live that we can get a resupply when we need it.
So, whether you add honey to your diet instead of sugar for it’s pure deliciousness or supposed health benefits is up to you. I recommend buying raw honey (honey that is unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed) if you can find it.
What can you make with honey?
I use honey in my marinades, to sweeten our Cream of Wheat (or oatmeal), and in baking (I make some mean Honey Wheat Rolls). Check out some of my recipes below.
Hannah’s BBQ Marinade
My teenaged daughter is the official Marinade maker in our house. She has a recipe that is so simple yet has all of our friends salivating when the smell of our BBQ wafts into their homes.
Hannah’s recipe is great for marinating beef, pork, or chicken. This makes enough to marinate 4 packages of short ribs or 2 slabs of ribs or a 5-pound bag of chicken.
• 1 1/2 cups soy sauce
• 1/2 cup white vinegar
• 1 can soda (your choice–sometimes Hannah uses Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper or Root beer)
• 1/4 cup good quality honey (we buy ours from a local Colorado bee farm)
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 1 small apple, cored, and puréed in a blender or mixer
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Place your meat in a ziplock bag. Pour the marinade into the bag then seal. Allow the meat to marinate for a few hours or overnight before grilling.
Honey Wheat Bread
One of my favorite restaurants serves this soft, sweet, and oh-so-delicious brown bread that has a crunchy oat coating on the outside. You know what restaurant I’m talking about — it’s probably your favorite place too!
This is my recreation of that delightfully sweet brown bread that is heavenly when slathered with melted butter! Are you drooling yet?
• 1 ½ cups warm water
• 2 packages active dry yeast
• 1 tablespoon white sugar
• ¼ cup dark brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt
• 2 cups bread flour
• 2 cups whole wheat flour
• ¼ cup honey
• ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon molasses
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1. In a small bowl, mix together the water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to proof.
2. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee powder, salt, bread flour, and whole wheat flour. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed to incorporate the ingredients together.
3. To the flour mixture add the honey, molasses, vanilla and softened butter. Mix for about 15-30 seconds, or until the ingredients are starting to come together.
4. Pour in the proofed yeast mixture, mix until a dough begins to form. After about 30 seconds to a minute of mixing, if the dough does not begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl add more bread flower, one tablespoon at a time (mix well after each addition) until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
5. Change to the dough hook attachment. With the mixer on medium speed, knead for 10 minutes.