Why bother with white sugar when raw honey is just as sweet–and good for you?! “Raw” refers to the non-filtered, non-processed form of this sticky substance, made by bees from the nectar of flowers. In its pure, natural state, honey is swimming with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, live enzymes and other beneficial nutrients. Plus, it tastes great, whether swirled into a cup of hot tea, drizzled over a warm muffin or eaten straight from the spoon!
Here are three ways my family regularly enjoys raw honey. I’d love to hear how you like to use it. Share your suggestions in the comments below!
Beat the summer heat with one of these cooling, raw honey quenchers served over ice.
Lavender or Vanilla Lemonade
In a large pot over medium heat, place 12 cups of water, juice from eight or nine lemons (or 1-3/4 cups lemon juice) and a handful of fresh lavender (roll gently in palms and place in pot) or a piece of vanilla bean. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in a cup of raw honey and stir to dissolve.
Add the following to your blender: 3 quarts of sparkling mineral water, 1-1/4 cups of raw honey and 1-1/4 cups of fresh or jarred lemon, oranges, grapefruit, lime or a combination. Blend for no more than 15 seconds, until well blended. Serve over ice with fresh fruit slices as garnish (your friends will think you’re so fancy!).
In a large bowl, combine one bottle of white juice (grape works best, or use mommy juice) and ¼ cup raw honey; stir to break down honey. Add: 1 cup white grape juice, 1 sliced stone fruit (nectarine, peach, etc.), 1 sliced tangerine or orange, 1 cup halved grapes and 1 cup of berries.
Let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Before serving, add 1 cup of club soda or ginger ale.
Raw honey is one of my favorite sweeteners for baking for many reasons, but the most important one is that it’s real food! When replacing sugar with honey in a recipe, here are a few rules to remember:
- When using raw honey instead of sugar, you’ll only need half the amount. 1 cup sugar = 1/2 cup raw honey
- If your recipe calls for other liquids, reduce them by 1/4 cup.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of raw honey.
- If melting honey, do so using the lowest temperature possible.
- Make measuring and pouring easy by coating measuring cup with oil or butter.
- When baking with raw honey, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and bake a few minutes longer.
Raw Honey Strawberry Shortcake
1-1/3 cups cold coconut milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract, plus 1/2 tsp.
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup oat flour (I just blend a cup of oats in the food processor)
1 cup yellow corn meal
2-1/4 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup raw honey, plus 1 Tbsp.
2/3 cup coconut oil (not melted)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. raw sugar
1 lb. silken tofu
1 tsp. cinnamon
1. In one bowl, mix 2/3 cups coconut milk and 2 tsp. vanilla extract.
2. Use food processor to mix pastry flour, oat flour, cornmeal, nutmeg, baking soda and salt until combined. Add 2/3 cup raw honey and coconut oil; and pulse until it looks like little peas. Add coconut and vanilla mixture and blend until sides of the food processor are clear, adding remaining coconut milk as needed (save extra coconut milk).
3. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface about 8-10 times; pat down into ½-inch thick rectangle. Cut into 12 even squares. Brush on coconut milk; sprinkle on a light coating of raw sugar.
4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 18-20 minutes on a parchment paper-lined pan.
5. While baking, wash and cut strawberries.
6. To make tofu cream: in a large glass bowl, combine tofu, 1 Tbsp. raw honey, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, a splash of coconut milk and 1 tsp. cinnamon; mix well with a submersion blender. Place in freezer until cakes are finished.
7. When cakes are finished, let cool for 5 minutes; place on separate serving plates. Top with strawberries, a spoonful of tofu cream add a second cake on top. Add additional tofu cream and strawberries. Garnish with fresh mint.
3. Just as is!
You don’t need a special recipe to enjoy raw honey. Here are a few ways you can use it every day. (Please remember, honey should not be given to children until they’re over a year old—check with your pediatrician!)
- Mix into hot tea for taste or to help soothe a cough or scratchy throat
- Mix into yogurt
- Spread on toast
- Broil it on grapefruit
- Use as a dip for fresh fruit
- Add to salad dressing
- Honey facial: apply a small amount to your face, then rinse clean
- Apply to cuts or scrapes
Dana Zucker is a home cook that likes to do it her way! She gets creative with nutritious ingredients to keep her active family—teenage twins and a vegan, triathlete husband—healthy and happy. Cooking with organic, local and whole food ingredients is key, whether she’s whipping up an early-morning breakfast, prepping afterschool snacks or getting dinner on the table at 10 p.m. Dana says, “We do eat out sometimes, and even cheat with some pre-made foods. But I try to balance making delicious foods with the reality of a busy schedule.” Dana’s recipes are a great starting point to find a style of cooking that works for your family. Her advice? Keep it real—and keep it easy!