Our pantry staples series sees us take a look at the ingredients that most people usually have in their kitchens – chickpeas, beans, noodles and the like. This time we're focusing on honey.
There are so many amazing people around the country producing amazing honey, so we decided to take a lot at honey in our latest pantry staples guide. Honey is a sweet substance made by bees from the secretions of plants or other insects. Honey bees are the most common variety of bees that produce honey, but there are several others known for their honey-making skills.
Honey is a bit sweeter than regular sugar, which means that if you're using it in place of baking, you should reduce the quantity by about a third. Honey is also mostly liquid, so make sure to reduce the amount of liquid in your baked goods too. This sweet liquid helps to retain moisture when used in baking, so it is a good addition in anything that may need a longer shelf life than usual.
Manuka Honey is one of the most famous and well-regarded types of honey in the world thanks to its supposed antioxidant properties. Manuka honey comes from the manuka bush, which is native to New Zealand.
Unfortunately, 80 per cent of honey sold around the world is fake, so authentic New Zealand manuka honey is now lab-tested to ensure that it is genuine. The government now certifies the honey, so you will be able to see on the label whether or not you're getting the real thing!
Like its New Zealand-based counterpart, Irish honey is exceptionally well renowned. A study published in late 2018 (*source: Food Chemistry), by researchers in Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin, into the health benefits of honey "from different floral origins and from rural versus urban landscapes" found that Irish honey is as powerful in terms of its health benefits when compared to the world-renowned Manuka honey from New Zealand. If you want to find some amazing Irish honey suppliers, click here for our full list. However, some of our favourites include Olly's Fam, Dublin Honey Project and Coolmore Bees.
Storage And Use
Honey will never go off so that jar you have at the back of your press is probably still fine to use! It's important to keep honey in a cool, dry place as it doesn't really mix well with moisture. Crystallisation can occur over time if honey isn't stored correctly, but it can often be melted back together.
If you need some recipe inspiration we have heaps of recipes available on the site, but we are especially obsessed with this orange and honey cake from Edward Hayden. It's really easy to make and tastes great, so try it out here.