Honey’s pantry status deserves more attention.
With antioxidants that fight cell damage, it has more to offer health-wise than refined sugar and presents a flavor profile that can help any food or beverage stand out.
Even better: when such attributes are combined with the benefits of hemp in a new way, like Red Belly Hemp Honey. You’ll start thinking of more ways your food and drink can benefit from it.
Unlike other hemp honey which is mixed with hemp oil, Red Belly’s version relies on bees to handle the infusion. The bees, which live on a farm near the southern California coast, are offered a proprietary hemp and nectar blend. When the bees eat this food, it mixes with their enzymes, passing along the benefits of hemp and honey found in the Red Belly product and making it water-soluble.
Why is this important, especially with cooking? Water-soluble makes it a better sweetener choice. When you eat an edible made with hemp oil, the benefits are greatly decreased. Because of the way the body processes fat by moving through the liver first, the percentage of hemp oil that’s absorbed into the bloodstream can be as low at 6%.
Red Belly Hemp Honey will dissolve into drinks and won’t float to the top or coat a glass like honey made with hemp oil. The beneficial compounds in the honey also can withstand heat up to 325° F, according to Red Belly’s testing.
As an ingredient in hot or cold drinks, savory dishes or dessert, Red Belly Hemp Honey can be the ingredient you reach for over conventional sugar. Here’s a cheat sheet for getting started.
For drinks that call for a sweetener, whether it’s a teetotaler iced tea or Thyme and Lime Cocktail, Red Belly Hemp Honey easily can be a part of the simple syrup. Stir it in when the syrup (dissolving equal parts water and sugar over heat) is still warm. For drinks that don’t call for a sweetener, whisk the honey into the largest quantity of liquid before adding other ingredients.
If you have a thing for honey like the way it does with lemon, mix equal parts lemon and honey and add a tablespoon or two to carbonated water for a refreshing beverage. If you have more watermelon than you can eat, puree it in a blender, shake it up with lemonade and top with a drizzle of hemp honey.
Off the Grill
There’s something about sweet and salty that makes the combination craveable. Combine two-parts honey with 1 part barbecue sauce and brush over barbecue ribs when they come off the grill. Do the same with teriyaki chicken or pan-seared tofu (mix equal parts honey and soy sauce and brush over the protein before serving).
For Snack Attacks
The salty-sweet combo figures prominently for snacks. Check out this recipe for Brown Sugar and Honey Pita Chips with Almonds and Honey Rosemary Pecans. Honey can fit the bill as the sweetener for homemade granola, too.
Dress the Part
Making your own salad dressing will typically taste better than store-bought. Start with a smashed garlic clove or a minced shallot and whisk it with 2 parts lemon or lime juice, champagne vinegar or balsamic vinegar with 1 part honey. Slowly whisky in extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. The dressing can also be used to dress roasted or grilled vegetables, pan-seared salmon or shrimp.
Definitely for Dessert
Honey can play a big or small role in baked goods. It’s often an ingredient in challah and stands in for simple syrup in baklava. To make a streusel topping for muffins or pie, use hemp honey instead of sugar. Drizzling honey onto apple pie filling before adding the crust (remember to reduce the sugar to compensate for honey’s sweetness) or toss with strawberries to accompany a shortcake. You can also brush the shortcake with honey when it comes out of the oven.
Don’t think cooking with honey is the only way to incorporate the ingredient in food. There’s barely any effort to add it to a cheese plate for taming a robust blue or contrasting a salty goat cheese.
To make it easier to drizzle, immerse the jar of Red Belly Hemp Honey in hot water and stir.
If you have ideas for honey, feel free to share in the comments section.