Thursday, March 29, 2012

Baking with Honey

Last summer Matt and I bought a 12lb bucket (1 gallon) of honey from a local apiary. 
After years and years of strict veganism it was a purchase long in the making.  We'd contemplated, researched, and soul-searched for about six months on it.  We learned a lot about large-scale commercial honey production as well as the processes involved in the operations of local producers.  They were, unsurprisingly, drastically different. 

In the end I decided that the reason I'd gone vegan in the first place was because of the environmental implications of high-density, large-scale, chemically-intensive, agriculture.  I didn't want my food coming from factory farms that were trashing this planet I love so much (not to mention need in order for survival).  I didn't want my money going to the pockets of those that would allow such practices.  So I was a vegan.  But, though most people would still consider me one today I do not.  Honey would be a case in point. 

Purchasing honey from down the road makes so much more ecological sense than shipping in cane sugar or agave from south of the equator.  Bees are needed pollinators and I want to support people who are raising them.  The apiary we use actually considers the honey a sort of by-product business.  They make most of their money renting the bees out to farmers.  Honey also helps on sore throats and burns and has lots of good healing properties.  So, Matt and I bought the bucket and started eating honey again.  And we've never looked back. 

I don't want to follow anyone's party line blindly.  Not the vegans.  Not the politicians.  Not the church's.  Not anyone.  I want to puzzle it all out for myself.  What makes sense for me?  What makes sense for Montana?  What make sense for the future?  I want to come up with my own answers.  I will listen to what they all have to say, but in the end I will make the call.

So, now I am a so-called vegan that wears wool, eats honey, dreams of backyard chickens, and wears leather boots.  I've got peace with all that.

In the process of all this we did learn a thing or two about baking with honey and I thought maybe I'd share.

To Replace Sugar With Honey:
1. Substitute 2/3 - 3/4 cup of honey for every cup of sugar called for.  I tend towards the lower measurement.
2. Lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees F.
3. Decrease the amount of liquid called for by about 1/4 cup per cup of honey used.
4.  Watch closely, especially near the end, because things tend to brown up faster.

To Re-Liquify Granulated Honey:
Place the container in a pan of hot water and let it sit until the honey is liquid again.  Don't let the water boil though because I am told, by the local apiary, that it is bad for the flavor of the honey.

The bucket has been empty for a while now....I need to call up the bee keepers because I don't want to wait for farmer's market season!  I have sure grown to love my honey! 

13 comments:

  1. good to know about baking with honey. I admire your reasons for how you do things.

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    1. Thanks, Margo. Have a wonderful day!

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  2. Just found your blog and love it! Am curious what you and your husband do for a living?

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    1. Thanks!

      I work at the library and Matt works for Fedex. We also grow a big garden and can and freeze a lot of food which is like a part time job. And we also sell our art at craft shows and street fairs. It all keeps us busy and happy and well fed.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I bought a quart last year and only mix it with Smucker's Organic or Smucker's Natural Honey to put in a sandwich. Since I don't eat pb and honey often, I still have half the quart left. However, I will buy another quart this summer. Instead of buying several quart jars at a time, I will just buy them one each year, at least until my honey consumption rises.

    Only honey in the glass quart comes into my house. If you can get your honey in glass containers, it would be better for you and the planet.

    Just for comparison's sake, how much do you pay for your honey? I paid $9 qt, a bargain in my estimation. It's nice to know what people are paying in other parts of the country.

    I cannot wait until you get your chicks. You will absolutely love the eggs and chick and hen antics.

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    1. Well, 1 gallon cost $25.00 so that makes it $6.25 per quart (if I did the math right). But, we had to buy it all at once. The flyer says they sell quarts for $8.00. So pretty comparable to yours and yes, quite a bargain. I'll have to see about the glass. You're right and that is my preference for sure. At the co-op you can refill your own glass jar, but the honey is much more expensive (though still local).

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  4. Congratulations on your decision about honey, that is an excellent point of sustainability. Acquiring locally grown food from bees that have been well cared for makes so much sense than the sugarcanes from down south! It reminds me of the movie, Eating Alaska. Have you seen it? The woman was a vegetarian, in Alaska and it dawned on her that her way of eating, lots of imported soy products, was not practical nor sustainable where she lived. She decided to study what the natives have eaten for thousands of years, sustainably and decided to change her attitude about staying vegetarian.

    http://www.eatingalaska.com/

    I still crave certain foods that are not local, like Chocolate, but I try my best to buy fair trade, organic and eat in moderation. ;)

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    1. Just yesterday I was telling Matt that I wished we lived somewhere tropical so I could grow all sorts of delicious things that just don't do it up here northward. I don't really want to move anywhere, but I wonder if I will ever get over my intense affinity for the exotic things....mangoes and tangerines....pineapples... But, I'll learn to like them less I bet and I think planting all the raspberry and strawberry plants that just arrived will really help!

      That sounds like an interesting movie. I don't watch movies much, but someday this will be right up my alley.

      Have a great day!

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  5. Thanks for those excellent tips, and for sharing those thoughtful insights about choosing what you eat. By eating local honey, you are certainly helping to save the honeybees :) Your life is so admirable, Beth!
    -Jaime

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  6. Beth,
    I just gave you and Matt the Most Versatile Blogger Award. Read the rules, post the rules on your blog, and pass it on.
    http://practical-parsimony.blogspot.com/2012/03/three-awards-for-me.html?showComment=1333247942392#c5910261192002839327

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  7. It never dawned on me that you were vegan! I love reading about all your recipes.

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    1. And come to think of it.. I think you should do a "about me" post! I was perusing some of your earlier posts and noticed one where you cut off your dreadlocks, fascinating! I'd be interested to learn more about you/your background since I enjoy your blog so much! Hope that doesn't come across as creepy LOL

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    2. Well, that is a post to consider writing....hmmmmm....but I bet it will be harder than I think!

      In a way I it makes my day that you enjoyed my recipes without thinking of them as obviously vegan. Its just food!

      Have a great day!

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!