There's no question honey sweetens your tea, desserts and even adds a sweet depth of flavor to your stir fry, but did you know there are also health benefits to honey? Honey kills bacteria and is effective against dozens of strains, including E. coli and salmonella, according to a report on CNN.com. Modern science has even shown honey's effectiveness in treatment of ulcers, bed sores, burns, skin sores and inflammation.
Honey has also been shown to sooth throats, ease nighttime coughs and improve sleep.
As we transition into summer, take advantage of nature's sweetner and whip up a few of the following recipes; your body will thank you.
Honey & Oat Scones
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. old fashioned oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1” pieces
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. honey
1 c. small diced strawberries, tossed in 1 T of flour
2 T heavy cream
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
- Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and, using a fork or pastry cutter, work in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can do this in a stand mixer or food processor but be careful not to over-mix and warm the butter.
- In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and honey and add to the flour and butter mixture. Stir just until combined and gently fold in the strawberries.
- Pat the dough out, on a well-floured surface, to about 1” high. Use a square or round 4” cutter and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with the heavy cream and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the scones are a light golden brown.
- Serve with additional honey for topping. Makes 8 scones
Honey & Oat Smoothie
1 c. Greek yogurt
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. honey
3/4 c. almond milk
1 c. frozen strawberries
1 c. frozen peaches
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until the fruit is broken up a bit, then blend on high until all the ingredients are smooth. Makes two 16 oz. smoothies
Honey Ricotta Puffs
1/3 c. honey plus 2 tsp.
2 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
2 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tsp. vanilla extract
20 strawberries, diced, or whole raspberries
- Unfold one puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut pastry into 8 equal squares. Transfer pastry squares to parchment-lined baking sheet. Pierce pastry squares with a fork and drizzle with 4 tsp. of honey. Chill pastry in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Repeat process with second puff pastry sheet.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake first set of pastry squares for approximately 15 minutes or until golden. Let cool and place second batch in the oven, repeating the baking process.
- Divide 4 tsp. of honey evenly among the center of 8 dessert plates. Place 1 pastry puff on top of the honey on each plate.
- In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese with vanilla and 2 tsp. honey. Spoon ricotta cheese mixture and diced strawberries or raspberries on top of each pastry square. Drizzle with remaining 4 tsp. of honey. Makes 8 servings
Tip: You can make the puffs in your favorite shapes by using cookie cutters.
Honey'd Chicken Stir-Fry
6 oz. chicken breast, sliced into 2 1/2 × 1/2-inch strips
2/3 c. honey vinaigrette dressing
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 c. sweet red peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 c. onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 or 3 minced garlic cloves
4 quarts packed spinach leaves
1/4 c. radishes, sliced
Honey vinaigrette dressing:
3 T olive or vegetable oil
3 T rice vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1 T soy sauce
1 T yellow mustard
Marinate chicken in 1/3 c. dressing at least 2 hours or overnight, refrigerated. Drain and reserve marinade. Heat oil in non-stick pan and stir-fry chicken until juices run clear. Add onion until onions become translucent. Add garlic and peppers until garlic becomes fragrant. Add mushrooms and reserved marinade; stir-fry a few minutes. Add spinach leaves and toss in pan until barely wilted. Add radishes and toss to mix. Makes 2 servings
Honey Raspberry Sweet Tea
2 c. freshly brewed tea
2 c. cranberry-raspberry juice
1/4 cup honey
Steep tea of your choice according to instructions. In large, heat-proof pitcher, whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined and honey is dissolved. Chill until ready to serve. To serve, pour over ice.
Tip: Use less honey for less sweetness
Honey Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles
2 c. fresh strawberries or raspberries, washed and stemmed, 1/2 c. reserved and diced
1/2 c. fresh or prepared lemon juice
1/2 c. honey
1 c. water
Place all ingredients except the 1/2 c. strawberries or raspberries in a blender and mix on high until the strawberries are completely incorporated. Divide the diced strawberries or raspberries between the popsicle molds and carefully pour the strawberry or raspberry lemonade mixture to the top of each mold. Insert the popsicle sticks in each mold and freeze until the popsicles are completely frozen. Makes 8-10 popsicles