Delicious and Healthy Ways to Use Sweet Honey

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This past weekend the Valley had a “buzzful” and sweet celebration by hosting the 10th annual Westmorland Honey Festival. While Westmorland may not be Pooh’s 100-Acre Woods, it is a blooming producer of honey that is produced and distributed locally and regionally.

This week, rather than give you a recipe that uses honey as its focus, I thought I would explore honey’s versatility and share some of my favorite ways to use it.
RECIPE INGREDIENT:
Honey can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is great in salad dressing and marinades for meat. If you want to do an Asian inspired dish, the honey can be mixed with soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic. Marinate chicken in this mixture and sauté it with vegetables and serve over rice. To attain a citrus flavor, I usually mix honey with orange juice and Dijon mustard and marinate chicken or pork. These flavorful meats can be served with a fresh salad that also uses a honey citrus salad dressing.
Besides using it in savory dishes, honey is an obvious choice for baking. A natural sweetener, it is a great substitute to cut out the amount of processed sugar when baking. Although this method will not work in all recipes because baking is quite a science, it will work in basic cookie and bread recipes. I use it most frequently in my banana bread recipe. Depending on how much sugar your recipe calls for, I usually lower it by ½-1 cup and add in ½ cup of honey instead. In addition, I lower the amount of oil the recipe may call for, as the honey will help keep the bread moist.
HEALTH BENEFITS:
It is commonly known that honey and lemon in tea is one of the best cures for a scratchy and sore throat. I know this is my go-to concoction whenever I feel something coming on. But what is one supposed to do when you get a cold and it is still quite hot out? Having a summer cold is unpleasant enough, but having to drink hot tea on top of that can sometimes be difficult. Rather than have to drink, why not suck on a soothing honey pop!
Ingredients:
1 cup honey
½ to 1 lemon squeezed
Lollipop sticks
Parchment paper
Directions:
1). Place honey and lemon into a saucepan.
2). Boil the honey-lemon mixture over low to medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the honey reaches 300 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to help determine the temperature.
3). Use a spoon and pour a small amount of the honey on top of the lollipop sticks. Work slowly so a small circle forms. Let cool and enjoy!
For those with allergies, BUY LOCAL HONEY. The honey carries pollens that are used in the crops that are local to the region. Eating a teaspoon of honey straight up or in your tea about once a day can help your sinuses become less irritated.
BEAUTY AID:
I don’t know about you, but I have sensitive skin. I have tried different products and treatments, and when I find one that works I cling to it. With so many products containing chemicals and ingredients are difficult to even pronounce, I become wary about using them. Recently, I have returned to basic and natural ways to take care of my skin. One of my favorite methods to give my face a nice wash and mild scrub is to go back to the lemon and honey mixture we talked about in health and use it on my face. It is simple, has only two ingredients, and my face feels great afterwards.
Simply cut a lemon in half and gently squeeze it to loosen the juices. Place a drop or two of honey on the lemon and rub on your face, keeping it away from you eyes so it does not drip into them. Let the honey and lemon remain on your face for about 15-20 minutes and then rinse off. My face always feels so fresh and soft after one of these treatments.
Finally, mixing a few drops of honey with olive oil in your hair conditioner will give your hair an amazing conditioning treatment that will help soften and make it shine like you’ve never seen before.
If you missed the festival this weekend, contact your favorite local beekeeper immediately to pick up honey and try out some of these techniques. There are so many other recipes and remedies to use this sweet and versatile substance. What are some of your favorite ways?

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