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Lavender Honey

19 December

HoneyCombNot too long ago, I cut sugar out of my diet.  I was nervous about it, seeing as I’d just admitted to myself that I had a sugar addiction {some people call it a sweet tooth, but when you get angry at the end of a dinner party because there’s no dessert, I think it’s time to admit to a problem}.  But it was strangely easy, once I changed a few habits, like eating plain yogurt drizzled in honey after dinner instead of ice cream.

Humans have been collecting and using honey since ancient times; it’s the food of bees that is made from the collected nectar of flowers.  Bees rely on honey for food during cold weather or when food is scarce.  Beekeepers harvest excess honey from their bees’ hives, leaving enough for the bees to live on in the winter.

At GRUB we think of raw honey as a wonderful white sugar substitute because it has some nutritive properties, and it is not a highly processed food that leaches necessary nutrients from our bodies.  But what makes raw honey so great?  And should we pour it on everything everyday?

Raw honey is a natural sugar that contains antioxidants, some amino acids, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.  While this list sounds impressive, “small amounts” are the operative words here.  Also, when honey is pasteurized, the high-heat processing destroys its nutrients, so raw honey is preferred in order for your body to reap any nutritive benefits.

Raw honey is not a super-food source of all of our necessary nutrients.  It is a natural sugar made up of a mix of glucose and fructose that still affects our blood sugar levels, and should be eaten in mindful moderation {unless you’re diabetic, in which case, honey is still not a good choice for you}. Happily, its high amount of fructose makes it sweeter than table sugar so we can use less in our coffee, tea, and recipes to achieve the sweetness we crave.

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Honey’s make-up of glucose and fructose does mean that it’s a good substitute for table sugar when you’re baking bread, as honey will feed the yeast, and it can also be used as a sugar substitute in recipes {1:1, if the recipe calls for a few Tablespoons or less, or 2:1 for sweeter recipes, you’ll just have to decrease some of the other liquids by a bit}.  On the flip side, if you have a yeast overgrowth, honey does feed yeast, so it’s not a good idea for anyone on a Candida diet.

Yes, honey is still sugar, but don’t despair!  It isn’t just another “bad for you” ingredient lurking on the grocery store shelves.  Raw, local honey has been found to help sufferers of seasonal allergies because it contains pollen spores of local plants, and can help integrate the pollen into the body in small amounts without causing the histamine immune response.  Topically, raw honey has antimicrobial properties, so try putting a smudge of raw, local honey on a cut, or use it as a face treatment for acne!

Lavender Honey

*Flavored honeys make great gifts, and add extra flavors to teas and baked goods.
*It is advised not to give honey to infants under one year old because honey can contain botulinum spores that are very dangerous to the immature, infant gut.

*NOTE: this recipe is NOT a way to pasteurize honey, as the heat is kept extremely low so the raw benefits are still viable

Ingredients:
1 Cup raw honey
1 tsp dried Lavender flowers

Directions
1. Put honey in small saucepan, and turn burner to very low heat.  Slowly heat honey until it just barely begins to simmer.  Do not rush it!  Keep the heat LOW, or the honey will carmelize and scorch.
2. When honey is melted {has become thin, like the consistency of water}, stir in dried lavender flowers.  Keep on an extremely low simmer for 45 – 60 minutes, or until a fingertip taste of honey tastes as much like lavender as you’d like it to.
3. Strain honey through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.  Once it cools, it will become viscous again, so it’s easiest to pour it into a nice, clean jar now, but leave the cover off until the honey is cool.

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Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach

Ryanna is a coach, accomplished speaker, and recipe developer with extensive experience helping women cultivate a mindset of self-love so they may heal and thrive while developing new habits in the kitchen.

3 Responses to “Lavender Honey”

  1. Kat January 3, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    I laughed out loud…Angry when there’s no dessert?! Ha! That sounds familiar. Time to look at sugar alternatives. Thanks for this article, it’s motivating.

  2. Autumn February 19, 2015 at 4:26 am #

    I never knew making lavender honey could be so simple! Very excited to try this!!! Lavender is my favorite:)

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