Benefits of baking with local honey.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY JENNIFER RACHEL BAUMER

A cup of tea with honey and lemon soothes a sore throat and can suppress coughing at night. Spread on minor cuts and burns, honey (though sticky) works as well as, and in some cases better than, antibiotics; according to a March 2018 report by CNN, honey can promote healing, as well as battling H. pylori, the bacteria that causes peptic ulcers, and because of an enzyme bees add to it, it can also battle staph infections. (Just ensure it’s free of contaminants and toast crumbs.) Some even claim honey may help prevent or battle cancer and prevent heart disease because it contains flavonoids and antioxidants.

But beyond its many health benefits, honey's also just plain delicious. The following recipes contain raw Hidden Valley Honey — local honey, available at Hiddenvalleyhoney.com or at Raley's stores.

Recipes

Honey Nut Bread
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer, writer and food blogger, Highdesertbakery.com. Makes 1 loaf)

Honeynutbread1 700

2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
7 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar, minus 2 tablespoons*
2 large eggs, room temperature
⅓ cup milk
Handful of chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While oven preheats, toast walnuts for 10 to 15 minutes, on foil or a baking tray. Don't forget they're in there.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Blend the butter and sugar in a mixer bowl until it looks like sand. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing just until each is incorporated.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk in two to three additions, beginning with flour and ending with milk. Stir in most of the toasted walnuts. Stir until just mixed and scoop into a greased loaf pan (I use a 4.5-by-8.5-inch loaf pan). The batter will be sticky and somewhat thick.

Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick or knife blade inserted into loaf comes out clean.

Honeynutbread2 700

Either in the loaf pan or on serving dish after removing from pan, drizzle honey over top of bread, letting it run down the sides and pool. Drop the remaining nuts into honey. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Honeynutbread3 700

*High-altitude correction: The batter should be thick and sticky, but if it's not holding together, add a little more milk, maybe a teaspoon at a time. The recipe as is works great at 5,000 feet, and you probably won’t need to add milk.

Apricot Honey
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer, writer and food blogger, Highdesertbakery.com. Makes about ¾ cup)

Apricothoney 700

2 apricots
Local honey

On a summer whim, I picked up apricots when I picked up the honey to make this recipe.

Cut up two of them into half-inch-sized cubes with the skin still on and throw them into the blender. Pour in enough honey to just cover them, and process on stir. The results will be sinfully sweet and better than any apricot jam you've ever had.

Ginger Honey
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer, writer and food blogger, Highdesertbakery.com. Use for any desired amount of honey)

Why not try two anti-inflammatories at once? Ginger has a long history of health benefits, and so does honey. Crystallized ginger soaked in honey and added to a cup of hot tea, into a salad, or over fruit or yogurt (preferably with some toasted walnuts or almonds) is an antioxidant-fueled, sweet-and-spicy treat.

Jennifer Rachel Baumer is a Reno-based freelance writer typically found in the Sierra foothills hiking or running, writing or baking, or maintaining her blog about high desert baking, food, and life in the desert, HighDesertBakery.com.

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