Glossary of Foods: Honey

| Diet & Nutrition

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The noble honeybee pollinates and feeds the world. The sweet fruit of their labor is honey. It seems so simple a syrup, yet bees collect nectar from countless flours then store the sweet product to create honey. Honey is truly liquid gold!

honey-spoon

Though the generic brand recognition for honey may only remind you of thick, gold liquid in a bear-shaped squeeze bottle, each kind of honey is unique. In fact, honey is unique to the bee colony that created it and the plants from which those bees collected. Each factor in the creation of honey gives it a unique flavor and texture, just like wine or olive oil. Certain plants give honey a characteristic flavor, such as clover or lavender.

Lighter colored honey has a milder flavor, while darker honey has a bolder flavor. Honey that is clear has likely been strained to remove bits of bee pollen or comb. Alternatively, raw, unfiltered honey appears cloudy or milky. The naturally occurring pollen in the honey gives the honey more flavorful and nutrients. Hello, superfood!

Good honey, not the bear-shaped bottle from the supermarket, can often be found at a farmer's market or produce stand. To get the best of the best, look for local honey. You'll be supporting the local ecosystem, including bees and healthy crops! Honey made the natural way tastes, well, more natural. If you're not usually a fan of honey, give the good stuff a try and it may change your mind.

Before you slurp honey straight from the jar Pooh-bear style, be warned that honey still contains natural sugars. A tablespoon of the sweet stuff can have over 15 grams of sugar. When adding a squeeze of honey to your smoothie just be wary that a little goes a long way. You'll still reap the benefits of added antioxidants honey provides.

>> Read more: Which "Health" Foods are Hiding the Most Sugar?

berry honey yogurt popsicle
(Photo: Cookie and Kate)

These DIY Berry and Honey Yogurt Popsicles have the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Or go savory with your sweet: Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken could not be an easier or more satisfying dish for dinner.

Honey is great to keep around for more than just sweet treats. It also has powerful antiseptic and healing properties, makes a great hair or face mask, plus soothes sore throats when you're feeling ill. Check out more brilliant household hacks for honey.

Find a crystallized bottle of honey in your cabinet? Not to worry. Honey doesn't go bad! Simply run under warm water and let sit until the smooth consistency returns and the crystals have vanished. Voila!