Do you know the reasons why honey is good? Of course, honey tastes good. But it has other qualities that make it the best sweet you can eat.
Let us begin by comparing it with sugar. The cane and beer sugars which you buy consist of a type of sugar called sucrose. The blood cannot absorb this sugar. Therefore it must first be broken down into two simple sugars by digestion. These simple sugars are levulose and dextrose. Honey does not require this digestion because it is already in the form of levulose and dextrose when you eat it. This is why honey supplies energy so quickly. It also explains why honey is sometimes recommended to diabetics if the disease is not advanced. Persons afflicted with heart ailments often find that honey relieves the weakness they suffer.
For a quick-energy drink, you can mix one teaspoon or more of honey with a cup of warm water, or, better still, mix it with a little hot water first to dissolve it, and then add cold. Fresh lemon juice may be added, or fruit juice can be used instead of water. Ill or well, you will find that this supplies quick refreshment without the detrimental effects often felt from coffee and cokes.
For use in infant formulas honey has no equal. It tends to correct both diarrhea and constipation, and does not ferment in the stomach. Though no definite statement can be made yet, recent studies seem to show that babies get the full benefit of the calcium in milk when honey is used in place of sugar or syrup. The amount recommended is one or two teaspoons of honey in eight ounces of food.
Honey often crystallizes when it is chilled or when it stands a long time. Only the dextrose sugar crystallizes; the levulose sugar remains liquid. The honey may be restored to its liquid state by placing the can in water no hotter than the hand can stand. Place a jar ring or other object under the can so that it does not touch the bottom of the vessel containing the hot water. Honey is the only unrefined sweet obtainable. It is best used uncooked because cooking or baking destroys the vitamins and enzymes in it. Plain, or whipped with soft butter to make “honey-butter,” it is an ideal spread for bread. It can be added to some foods, like fruits, after they are cooked for immediate table use.
In any recipe honey may be substituted for sugar provided allowance is made for the moisture it contains. Since honey is about 18% moisture, the liquid called for in the recipe should be reduced by 3 tablespoons for each cup of honey used in place of a cup of sugar.
The cake and cookie recipes which follow were made with ordinary whole wheat flour. If you have it, whole wheat pastry flour will make lighter cakes and cookies. Sift the flour twice. If large flakes of bran remain in the sifter, put them in a jar and use them later, in muffins or other recipes calling for bran flakes.
Clover or similar mild honeys are best in recipes that do not call for spices. You will find it easier to measure if the measuring cup is first oiled. Or you can use the same cup to measure the shortening.