© Photo by James McAlpine
Ontario is home to a host of delightful honeys. The distinctive palate of flavours and aromas derives from floral sources such as clover, alfalfa, buckwheat, goldenrod, and basswood.
Honey is available in a delectable array of formats—liquid honey is perfect for tea or drizzled on yogurt; creamed or churned honey is ideal for toast or serving with cheese and crackers; and just as the bees made it, in the comb, makes a stunning addition to a charcuterie platter.
The Effect of Terroir
The taste and colour of honey varies from place to place, season to season. Small, local beekeepers offer unique honey based on the flowers growing in their area at the time. Spring honey is lighter in flavour and colour than autumn honey. Dry summers produce thicker, bolder-tasting honey than wet summers. Locally produced honey takes less energy to make than other sweeteners and travels the least distance to get to consumers. So, take advantage of markets and farm stands to pick up local honey and host your own Ontario honey tasting party!
What Should I Do With Crystallized Honey?
There is a misconception that crystallized honey is spoiled or adulterated—but nothing could be further from the truth. Depending on the nectar source, honey will have different ratios of glucose and fructose. Glucose is less soluble than fructose, so honey with more glucose will crystallize faster (canola and dandelion honey are two examples). All honey will eventually crystallize, though—and honey from different regions and floral sources will crystallize at different rates and to different textures. So what should you do with crystallized honey? Enjoy it, and savour the different flavours, colours, and textures of Ontario honey. (You can liquify your crystallized honey by gently heating it in a warm water bath.)
Baking With Honey
Mild flavoured honey is best for baking and cooking—or you can take advantage of the bold taste of a fall or buckwheat honey to liven up your recipe. Add honey to the batter in a fine stream, beating constantly. Baked goods containing honey will brown more quickly, so reduce the oven temperature by 25°F to prevent over-browning and flavour change. Baked goods will also remain fresh and moist for a longer period when honey is used.
Substituting Honey For Sugar
Use the same amount of honey and cut the amount of liquid by one quarter. For example: 1 cup sugar + 1 cup milk = 1 cup honey + 3/4 cup milk.
Or replace sugar with three-quarters the amount of honey. For example: 1 cup sugar = 3/4 cup honey.
Honey will slide out of measuring cups or spoons if oil is measured first or if the measures are rinsed with hot water.
Store honey at room temperature in a dark, dry place. Always keep honey covered tightly to retain its distinct flavour and aroma and protect it from moisture absorption. Creamed and churned honey will retain its texture better if refrigerated. When storing honey for long periods, it’s best to keep it in the freezer—if well sealed, you shouldn’t find any change in flavour or texture.
For more information about honey, great honey recipes, and where to find your neighbourhood beekeeper, visit ontariohoney.ca.
Ontario Beekeepers Association works to ensure a thriving and sustainable beekeeping industry in Ontario. To this end, we advocate for beekeepers’ interests, support honey bee health research and deliver practical training and information.