Versatile, nutritious honey can sweeten any recipe

posted Sept. 1, 2017 2:12 p.m. (CDT)
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by / Janelle Thomas | Food Columnist

My husband brought home a beautiful jar of honey the other day. It was a gift from one of his customers who has several hives on his southwestern Wisconsin farm. Some husbands bring home roses; mine brings home honey and I couldn’t be happier. What a treat!

Honey is so versatile. According to, used as a sweetener, honey is a bit sweeter than sugar, so less can be used to achieve the same sweetness intensity. As for flavor, honey imparts a unique flavor to any recipe and it balances and enhances the flavor of other ingredients.

Honey can also act as an emulsifier, binding and thickening sauces, dressings, marinades and dips.

Athletes should also take a good look at honey. Sports nutritionists recommend eating carbohydrates before an athletic activity for added energy. Honey can be an effective carb to ingest just before exercising, resulting in it being released into the system at a steady rate throughout the exercise.

During a workout, carbs, such as honey, help muscles stay nourished longer and delays fatigue. After athletic activity, research shows that ingesting carbs and protein immediately is ideal for refueling and decreasing muscle soreness. Before, during and after, honey is good for the body and it only has 64 calories per tablespoon.

Combining honey with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and other healthful foods can add to your total nutrition and give you a great natural energy boost. Try these tips from to fuel your diet with honey:

• Stay hydrated. Add honey to a bottle of water for an energy boost during your next workout.

• Snacks are a great way to add extra fruits and vegetables to your diet. Mix peanut butter and honey, or honey and light cream cheese, as a dip for fresh fruits or vegetables.

• Peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole wheat bread are a great, high-energy snack to provide a good combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat.

• Since honey is a convenient, portable source of energy, take it to tournaments and long periods of activity to help sustain energy levels.

To substitute honey for sugar in recipes, replace about half the sugar with two-thirds that amount of honey. In baked goods, add half a teaspoon of baking powder per cup of honey used, and reduce the oven temperature by about 25 degrees.

To find local honey producers in Wisconsin, see the directory on this page or visit For Minnesota producers, visit

Janelle Thomas can be reached at

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