Saturday, February 19, 2011

52 Week Food Storage Plan - Week #3

Week # 3: 10 lbs of Honey & 2.5 lbs Molasses
(If you can’t accomplish this in 1 week, don’t worry, just take your time and do it in steps.)


This wonderfully rich golden liquid is the miraculous product of honey bees and a naturally delicious alternative to white sugar.  In addition to its reputation as Nature’s nutritive sweetener, research also indicates that honey’s unique composition makes it useful as an antimicrobial agent and antioxidant.

Raw honey that has not been pasteurized, clarified, or filtered - provided it is of the highest organic quality - it is your best choice.  Look for honey that states “100% pure.”  While regular honey is translucent, creamy honey is usually opaque and is made by adding finely crystallized honey back into liquid honey. Specialty honeys, made from the nectar of different flowers, such as thyme and lavender, are also available. Remember that the darker the color, the deeper the flavor.

Remember that the quality of “raw” honey is a function of the plants and environment from which pollen, saps, nectars and resins were gathered. Other substances found in the environment - including traces of heavy metals, pesticides, and antibiotics - have been shown to appear in honey. The amount varies greatly.
Do not feed honey-containing products or use honey as a flavoring for infants under one year of age. Honey is safe for children older than 12 months and adults.
By The Way:  Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey (The Bear which we buy at Walmart) is packing only 100% pure raw unfiltered honey.

  • Kosher approved
  • Helps control allergies
  • Good for replacing sugar
  • A good sweetener that can be used in coffee, tea, and smoothies
  • Honey is composed primarily of carbohydrates and water, and also contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins and minerals
  • Carbohydrate ingestion prior to, during, and after exercise enhances athletic performance and speeds recovery
It is important to keep honey stored in an airtight container so that it doesn’t absorb moisture from the air. Honey stored this way in a cool dry place will keep almost indefinitely.  One reason for this is that its high sugar content and acidic pH help to inhibit microorganism growth.  Honey that is kept at colder temperatures tends to thicken, while honey that is kept at higher temperatures has a tendency to darken and have an altered flavor.

Cooking with Honey:
If your honey has crystallized, placing the container in hot water for 15 minutes will help return it to its liquid state.  Do not heat honey in the microwave as this alters its taste by increasing its hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content.  To prevent honey from sticking to measuring cups and spoons, use honey that is in its liquid form.

Honey makes a good replacement for sugar in most recipes. Since honey is sweeter than sugar, you need to use less, one-half to three-quarters of a cup for each cup of sugar. For each cup of sugar replaced, you should also reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-quarter of a cup. In addition, reduce the cooking temperature by 25ºF since honey causes foods to brown more easily.
1 teaspoon regular sugar = 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon honey or molasses
1 cup Corn Syrup = 1 cup Honey
1 cup honey (decrease liquid called for in recipe by 1/4 cup.  In baked goods, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey substituted and lower baking temperature 25 degrees.  In cookie recipes using eggs and no additional liquid, increase the flour by about 2 tablespoons per cup of honey.  Chill before shaping and baking.  Half of the sugar in cakes, can be replaced with honey.  Two-thirds of the sugar can be replaced in fruit bars, but replace no more than a third of the sugar in ginger snaps with honey.  When making cakes or cookies, first mix honey with the fat or the liquid, then mix with other ingredients.  If this is not done, a soggy layer may form on top of the baked product.)

Quick Cooking Ideas:
  • Use honey in place of table sugar as a sweetener in your tea.
  • Drizzle apple slices with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • To enjoy sweetened yogurt without excess sugar, mix a little honey into plain yogurt.
  • A delicious sandwich that is enjoyed by kids of all ages is a combination of peanut (or almond) butter, with bananas and honey.
  • In a saucepan over low heat, combine soy milk, honey and unsweetened dark chocolate to make a deliciously nutritious chocolate “milk” drink.

Blackstrap molasses is a dark, viscous syrup with a bittersweet flavor.  It is the byproduct of the refining of sugar cane into table sugar.  The darker the molasses is, the more crystalline sugar has been removed. Until white sugar became popular, molasses was the sweetener of choice.

Benefits & Uses:
  • Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you.  Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates, or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive individuals, blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health.
  • Boost your energy with molasses.  Not only does it taste good, its also a rich source of iron, (one tablespoon contains 4.5gms of iron), which means its particularly good for pregnant or menstruating women, vegetarians and people suffering from anemia.  It’s much healthier than many other sources of iron because it is low in calories and completely fat free.  Molasses is also a rich source of calcium which strengthens bones, teeth and heart muscles.  It’s also rich in copper, manganese and potassium.
  • The easiest way to use blackstrap molasses is to dissolve a teaspoon full in a glass of water and drink it every day.
  • Baste your Thanksgiving turkey with molasses for a rich roasted flavor, golden brown color and crispy skin.
  • Add a tablespoon of molasses to vegetables or meat stock to make a base for soups and stews.
  • Spread a thin layer of molasses over buttered toast, it makes a great energizing breakfast and goes well with a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Molasses gives a great, rich flavor to cookies and cakes and goes especially well with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Jazz up a baked potato by mixing 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses with 2 tablespoons of nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Brush over the potatoes and bake for a sweet taste.
  • Use its distinctive flavor in a marinade for spare ribs or barbecue sauce.
  • Stir a couple of teaspoons of molasses into your baked beans for a traditional, hearty flavor.
  • The best choice in blackstrap molasses is the organic kind because it has no added sulfur; some people are sensitive to this chemical.
Cooking Tips:
• If surface mold develops, remove with a spoon.
• If a recipe is non-specific, use dark molasses.
• Coat utensils and measuring cups with cooking spray; molasses will be easier to stir and pour.
• Some crystallization may occur with age. To remove, place in saucepan, heat on low, and stir gently.
• When using darker molasses, foods will change color accordingly. Lower the baking temperature (no more than 25ºF./-3.8ºC.) to prevent an unpleasant darkening.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator or another cool area. Unopened jars will last up to a year, while opened containers will last for six months, if you haven’t already eaten it by then.

Cane molasses is a common ingredient in baking, often used in baked goods such as gingerbread cookies. There are a number of substitutions that can be made for molasses; for a cup of molasses the following may be used (with varying degrees of success): 1 cup honey, or ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar, or 1 cup dark corn syrup, 1 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 cup water, or 1 cup pure maple syrup.
1 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon regular sugar = 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon honey or molasses
1 cup regular sugar = 1 cup molasses plus 1/2 teaspoon soda  (omit baking powder or use very little. Substitute molasses for no more than half the sugar. Reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of molasses.)

Switching from nutrient-poor sweeteners like white sugar or corn syrup, or from potentially harmful fake sweeteners like aspartame or saccharin to nutrient-dense blackstrap molasses is one simple way that eating healthy can sweeten your life.

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