September is National Honey Month...help us celebrate with fun facts, infographics, recipes, and more!
Started in 1989 by the National Honey Board and observed every September, National Honey Month has been a way to support American beekeeping, bring attention to the importance of our apian friends, and, of course, celebrate all things honey.
Honey truly is a wonder product—a single-ingredient food whose story is older than history itself, it has been used in cooking, medicine, and more for at least 8,000 years. On average, a hive will produce about 65 pounds of surplus honey each year. Beekeepers extract it, strain it, and bottle it. That’s it. If the label says “pure honey”…that is what you are getting; nothing has been added from bee to bottle.
The color, flavor, and aroma of honey differs depending on the nectar of flowers visited by the bees that made it. There are more than 300 unique types of honey available in the United States alone, each originating from a different floral source. Buckwheat, clover, wildflower, even avocado…want to see what kinds are produced or sold near you? Check out the National Honey Board’s Honey Locator!
From hives to homes…honey has quite a journey—and it begins with the bee. Begins, and some might say ends, with bees, because without pollination, we would have no honey—NOR would we have food crops. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every three bites of food worldwide is a result of pollinators’ efforts.
And those efforts are downright Herculean, all things considered. According to the National Honey Board, a single worker bee makes only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its entire life and it takes 22,700 bees to make one jar of honey. A hive of bees will cover 55,000 miles and tap more than two million flowers for a single pound of honey (and if you’ll remember…on average, a hive makes 65 POUNDS of surplus honey a year!).
So why not give them a little help where you can? A pollinator garden is great—but even a single plant, tree, or shrub helps. Check out our infographic for a few varieties of each that can help bring all the bees to your yard.
And if all this talk of the supremely sweet treat has put a “rumbly in your tummy,” as our old friend (and DEFINITE honey connoisseur) Winnie the Pooh would say, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Read on for a few fun and easy recipes to put honey through some of its myriad paces. And, if you want even more apiary awesomeness, check out our interview with amateur beekeepers and Instagram stars Jose and Liz Marie Galvan of White Cottage Farm fame!
Honey recipes to try at home
Honey is not just a sweetener—it’s a powerhouse containing a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. This pantry staple goes beyond being just a toast topping or tea touch-up; doing everything from balancing flavors to providing moisture to baked goods.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes using Apis mellifera’s most magnificent offering (AKA…honey!).
All recipes courtesy of the National Honey Board. Find these, and more, at Honey.com.
Honey Leches French Toast
- 2 T blueberry honey
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup lite Thai coconut milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- For Hot Honey:
- 1/2 cup blueberry honey
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 8 small slices of pre-made pound cake
- vegetable spray
For Honey Leches Mixture: Place 2 T blueberry honey, evaporated milk, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
For Berry Garnish: Place the raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in a mixing bowl and lightly toss to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
For Hot Honey: Place 1/2 cup blueberry honey in a small mixing bowl. Add cayenne and whisk to evenly combine. Keep warm, so the hot honey is very pourable.
Pre-heat an electric griddle to 375°F.
Prepare the pound cake. Arrange pound cake slices, side by side, flat, in a casserole dish or a pan with sides. Pour the honey leches mixture over and around the pound cake slices and soak for 1 minute.
Lightly coat the pre-heated electric griddle with vegetable spray. Remove pound cake slices from the honey leches mixture, allowing any liquid to drain off (discard any remaining liquid), then place each slice on the hot griddle.
Griddle the pound cake slices approximately 2 minutes on each side, to golden crispy and hot throughout.
You can also use a large non-stick sauté pan, over medium-high heat, on your stovetop to griddle the French toast vs. an electric griddle.
If your homemade pound cake recipe calls for one cup of sugar, you can replace it with only a 1/2 cup of honey. Reduce any liquid by 1/4 cup, add 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and reduce oven temp by 25°F.
Tipsy Honey Nut Glazed Brie SpreadINGREDIENTS
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 T brandy
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 8 oz. wheel of Brie cheese (about 5-inch diameter)
In a small bowl, combine honey, pecans, and brandy.
Place cheese on a large ovenproof platter or 9-inch pie plate. Bake in preheated 500°F oven 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese softens.
Drizzle honey mixture over top of cheese. Bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until topping is thoroughly heated. Do not melt cheese.
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 onion. diced
- 4 medium-sized cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 cups (48 oz.) chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup honey, divided
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 - 3 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a soup pot. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add stock, potatoes and salt. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Puree mixture in batches, put soup back over low heat and add honey, bell pepper, curry powder, pepper and ginger. Bring to a simmer, taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve soup with croutons or crostini and sprinkled with chopped cilantro, if desired.
- 16 oz. Swiss or Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 4 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 T butter
- 1/4 cup shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 cups brut (dry) champagne or sparkling wine
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 T lemon juice
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
Toss cheese with cornstarch and dry mustard to coat; reserve.
In a heavy pan or fondue pot, over medium heat, melt butter. Saute shallot and garlic until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add champagne and bring to a boil. Slowly add reserved cheese mixture, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Stir in honey and lemon juice; stir until smooth and continue to simmer 2-3 minutes more.
Season with nutmeg and pepper. Serve immediately; keep warm.
Honey-Brined Pork Chops with Creole Mustard Glaze
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup honey (wildflower or clover)
- 1 cup hot water
- 3 cups cold water
- 4 each, 12-14 oz. pork chops, bone-in, double cut chop
- 1/4 cup Creole Mustard
- 1/4 cup honey (wildflower or clover)
- 2 T water
- 2 T olive oil
Place the salt, honey, and hot water for the brine together in an 8-quart container and whisk until the salt and honey have dissolved into the water. Once mixed together, add the cold water and place all pork chops into the brine mixture. Cover, and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
Set oven to 375° F.
After 6 hours, remove pork from brine and rinse under cold water, then pat dry. Combine mustard, honey and 1 T of water in a small bowl and reserve.
Place the olive oil into a large cast-iron skillet or pan and heat on high, then add the chops to the hot pan, allowing to sear for two minutes on one side. Once seared, turn chops over and brush with glaze and immediately place skillet or pan directly into heated oven for at least 15-20 minutes. Internal temperature for the pork should be 155° F. Remove pan from oven, and place the chops on a cutting board with the glazed side down and allow pork to rest.
While the pork is resting, place your skillet back onto the stove on low heat. Add the remaining glaze to the pan + the 1T of remaining water. Using a wooden spoon, smoothly stir the mixture together and scrape the bottom of the skillet to incorporate the leftover bits of pork chop in the glaze. Continue stirring until the liquid thickens and becomes glaze-like, it should not take long, no more than a minute or so.
Slice the chops into 5-6 slices each, place the slices onto a plate in a fan-like shape, and brush or spoon drizzle the desired amount of glaze onto the pork.
Burnt Honey Gingerbread Latte
- 3 fl. oz. Burnt Honey Syrup (recipe below)
- 2 (double shot) espresso
- as needed: whole milk
- as garnish: whipped cream; gingerbread cookie crumbles
- 8 fl. oz. Honey Simple Syrup
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1/8 tsp. cloves, ground
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, ground
- 1/4 tsp. ginger, ground
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground
Combine Burnt Honey Syrup and espresso at the bottom of a glass mug.
Top with steamed milk.
Follow the whipped cream and gingerbread cookie crumbles.
Try buckwheat honey in the syrup for a stronger, more intense flavor.