Few people can resist a little sweet something from someone special when Valentine’s Day arrives. The neat trick is to find something healthful in that treat. Honey’s wonderful flavor and health benefits can show that you not only care about someone, but you’re thinking of his or her health as well.
Honey has a long reputation as a healthful food, well before peanut butter and honey became an American staple for children’s lunches. Honey never spoils, is produced from different pollens year round, and is typically composed of a 70/30% fructose to glucose ratio (table sugar or sucrose is 50/50). Since fructose is slower to cause a rise in blood sugar, this makes honey a good choice for some people with diabetes. Honey can also be used as a remedy for coughs and cuts, making its credentials all the stronger for its medicinal qualities.
Honey, transformed from pollen gathered from various crops throughout the year, is the only sweetener produced by critters (bees) instead of plants, explains Willis Thompson, a Northern Californian bee keeper, and honey and stevia expert. Thompson owns and operates Apples of Gold Farm in Grenada and runs http://www.Cal-Stevia.com.
On Thompson’s farm, bees start pollinating dandelions and grasses in early spring, then orchards growing almonds, oranges, prunes and cherries. After that, the bees move on to the farm’s fields to pollinate a variety of berries, and vegetables such as summer squashes. As summer begins, they pollinate early fall produce, including carrots, which make a dark, premium honey.
When I spoke with Mr. Thompson, I told him my favorite honey was star thistle, because it’s such an annoying weed that something good has to come from it. His response: “That’s the way you get even with it!”
According to Thompson, raw honey retains the beneficial enzymes and other nutrients that make it such a healthful food. He also recommends its use in the case of coughs from colds and allergies, by adding it to warm water to gargle, soothing the throat and reducing symptoms that could make an illness worse. Honey placed on cuts helps them heal more quickly, which is consistent with results found in peer reviewed scientific studies as well as anecdotally.
Still, first and foremost, honey tastes delicious. If you’d like to make an easy and sweet treat for someone special on Valentine’s Day, consider this recipe for “Honey Chocolate Mint Patties” found on http://www.Honey.com.
Why It’s Important To Avoid Giving Raw Honey To Babies
Any honey may contain spores of the bacteria Clostridium, which causes botulism in infants. Antibiotics don’t work on infant botulism, and though most infants will survive a case of botulism, it can be fatal if left untreated.
Honey Chocolate Mint Patties
- 1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- ½ cup whipped honey (raw is excellent)
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Line baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper and set aside. Put chocolate in a double boiler or pour chips into a heat-safe bowl and melt over a pot of simmering water on the stove, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Stir until creamy and reserve half. Drop heaping ½ teaspoons of chocolate onto the paper – approximately 24 circles. Using the back of the spoon, spread each chocolate drop into a 2 inch circle. Chill until firm. Meanwhile, blend the honey with peppermint extract. Spoon a small amount onto each circle and then freeze until firm. Using the reserved half of the chocolate, spread a heaping ½ teaspoon on top of each circle, covering honey completely. Chill until firm and store in the refrigerator. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. Makes approximately 24 2-inch patties.