This sweet substance is one of nature’s marvels, made purely by bees from plant nectar. There are over 300 unique honeys in the United States, according to the experts. We are lucky to have a buzzing community of beekeepers here in Loudoun County. John Bennett is the keeper of the bee colonies at Willowsford Farm where they assist with crop pollination while producing honey for us to sell at the Farm Stand.
Honey is sold four ways. There’s comb honey, where the liquid is still in the hexagonal comb. Liquid honey, which is the most common and speaks for itself. You’ll also find chunk-style honey, which is liquid honey in a jar with pieces of honeycomb. And lastly, there’s creamed honey, which is thickened with granulated honey so it spreads like butter. In general, the darker the honey is, the more intense the flavor will be.
Store honey in a cool, dry place. It’ll keep for up to year. When it’s refrigerated, honey crystallizes and gets a grainy, unappealing texture. You can easily fix this by setting the opened jar in a pan of hot water over low heat for about 10 minutes or by popping the honey in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Honey has all sorts of sweet and savory uses. Use it in baked goods, in sandwiches and on toast, to temper fresh grapefruit, to jazz up a summer cocktail, to enhance vinaigrettes and marinades or to balance sharp cheeses. Tea with honey and lemon is sublime. Be mindful of the kind of honey you are using – honey that comes from orange blossoms tastes very different than honey that comes from eucalyptus.