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I am drowning in honey!

First year beekeeper and I am now the proud owner of about 50 lbs. of delicious, miraculous honey from my one beehive. Even after I give my children each their fair share (how much will it cost to send a container of honey to B.C.???), give a jar to all of my friends and make the requisite honey cake, baklava and my famous honey pumpkin pie, I will still have more honey than I have any idea what to do with. I need recipes. Specifically I need GOOD recipes for delicious food that makes good use of this wonder of nature. I'd like some main dish ideas also. I don't need any recipes that call for one teaspoon of honey - we're talking major honey here. I'm happy but overwhelmed!

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  1. Check out recipes for gastriques with honey (Thomas Keller, for eg.). You'll use about a cup at a time for the reduction sauce.
    Granola with honey.

    1. That is quite the accomplishment! Man, I love honey and appreciate all the work that goes into producing it. I like to infuse my honey with ingredients such as chipotle powder and lime to drizzle on fruit. I also like making honey glazes for duck and pork.

      You can store toasted nuts in honey and use on a cheese board. Though I have not made this yet I plan to very soon...Roasted Chestnuts with Black Pepper Honey.
      http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/200...

      If you like truffles and are feeling decadent, you can store a small whole one in honey.

      I use this website for honey dishes (including entrees)...
      http://www.beemaid.com/recipes

      1. I have to go to a potluck on Saturday and I think I'll do broiled feta with honey and pepper as an appetizer and then baklava. That'll take care of, oh, about 1/100th of it...

        1. Make mead! A nice dry mead goes with all kinds of things and it's not that much of an investment for the equipment. This forum has great ideas/recipes: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/

          I am so jealous. My significant other informs me that while I cannot have 9 dogs, I will be permitted bees some day... :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Vetter

            Why can't you have 9 dogs AND bees? Honestly, some people are just unreasonable.

            1. re: Nyleve

              HA! Oh, Nyleve, I am so going to enjoy showing him your post.

            2. re: Vetter

              Mead was going to be my suggestion too.. my father made some about 20 years ago that I still remember with longing!!

            3. Are there any local restaurants or bakeries you could sell it to? Of course, the law and all parties' regard for it would be a factor, but there is a market for it, especially if it is still on the comb.

              7 Replies
              1. re: babette feasts

                I don't think I'll have trouble selling my excess to friends - so probably no need to find a market. This is absolutely not a money-making endeavour, when it comes right down to it. Even though a friend gave me her used bee equipment, I still had to buy the actual bees, then some odds and ends of supplies, then paid a local farmer to help me extract the honey...now I think I'm supposed to be doing something to treat the bees before winter sets in. This honey is probably costing me $5 a lb.! Same nonsense with my chickens...no end of eggs but still, you have to feed them.

                1. re: Nyleve

                  I always wondered how economical it would be to have, oh maybe, a half dozen chickens. I have a farm right down the block that I can get eggs any old time. I need to be talked out of getting my own unless it's a really great idea.

                  1. re: coll

                    You do it because you love doing it. Not to save money. Unless I were to sell my eggs for $10 a dozen, I doubt it would make a profit. The chickens need feed, they sometimes get killed by things and they do tie you down to some extent. When we go away we hire a housesitter - dog, two cats, chickens - which costs $$$. It's less onerous than when we also had horses and goats, but still it's a responsibility, and not a cheap one. The bees are less work but the first year, anyway, isn't going to make money. BUT having said all that, I have as many eggs as I can eat and they're happy eggs from happy chickens. I now have beautiful honey which is nothing short of a miracle. It's a life, not a plan. A really great idea? Depends on what you mean by great.

                    1. re: Nyleve

                      Wow, I loved every thing you just said.

                      1. re: Nyleve

                        They tell me if you raise the chicks from babies, they grow very attached to you and are like pets. I do have three cats who love us already (indoor only, so no threat to livestock) however I always wondered about the price of feed. Chick starter, egg producer and so on, sounds sort of complicated (should start a new thread I guess). My husband's Italian grandmother exclusively fed hers leftover spaghetti, or at least the legend goes. That's more what I had in mind!

                        There's a lavender bee farm nearby and after touring it, not sure if I'd be cut out for beekeeping. Despite the bounty that is yours, I have trouble if I end up with 2 or 3 jars accidentally and have to come up with ideas for those.

                        1. re: coll

                          I have to say that chickens - which I know a whole lot more about than bees - are wonderful, lovely creatures. They do become attached - even if you don't raise them from chicks. I take kitchen scraps out to them every day and if they see me coming with a bucket the run at me like a stampede. I have a couple of genius hens - Albertina Einstein and Stephanie Hawking - who come into the house if the door is open. I've found them in the dining room trying to peck the designs on the Persian rug. I love my girls and actually go to chicken auctions where they sell every kind of chicken imaginable and, unlike Sotheby's for instance, I can afford to bid on absolutely anything I want! So they're totally worth it. Our cats don't touch the chickens - in fact I've seen one of the cats chased by a hen - and neither does the dog. But foxes, raccoons - not good news.

                          1. re: Nyleve

                            Yeah I've heard about raccoons. How about hawks, we have tons here. I could probably get full grown regular or exotic chickens for free, people are always buying them for pets and then dumping them in a burlap sack at Agway before they open in the morning. There's a chicken farm that takes them all, luckily, (which is where I get my eggs by the way) but I could always put in a special order.

                            Love your chicken's names! Now you're making me think about it again. And then maybe a goat or two, who knows? Guess they don't eat tin cans though, do they? (Just joking!)

                2. These Moroccan cookies are covered in honey and are absolutely delicious! Try this recipe...

                  http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/dess...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: junglekitte

                    I've made these cookies, they are alot of work! I'd select either of these for the fall:
                    http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...
                    http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                    1. I just came across an on-line list of homey related recipes by Saveur that looks quite good:

                      http://www.saveur.com/article/-/Sweet...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: meatn3

                        handy link, meatn3. Thank you.

                      2. Another recipe that calls for 1 cup...Indonosian Ginger Chicken. Very good.

                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                        1. Honey cake. Just in time for Rosh Hashanah.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: THewat

                            Ha! I just made 3 honey cakes - two to mail to my kids and one for dinner on Wednesday. (I also mailed each of them a jar of honey and two apples - a Do-It-Yourself Rosh Hashanah Kit). The other day I made a completely decadent baklava and an appetizer of broiled feta cheese drizzled with olive oil, honey and sprinkled with pepper and fresh thyme.

                            I'll be checking out all your recipes and links soon - thanks.

                            1. re: Nyleve

                              I'd like some of the feta appetizer, please. :-)

                              1. re: THewat

                                You can. I mean not with MY honey but somebody else's. Put slabs of feta in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and broil until browned. Now spoon honey over and sprinkle with pepper and thyme and serve with baguette. I need to try this with another type of feta - one that melts better. Mine stayed crumbly.

                                1. re: Nyleve

                                  This sounds heavenly.

                                  What kind of feta should I look for? May have a chance to go to TJ's or WF this weekend.

                                  I don't know a thing about feta. Just like it.

                                  1. re: laredo

                                    At a cheese counter, ask for one that is creamy, slightly soft, and not aged or dense. From a self serve display, I look for a soft pack from Greece, or a green can of sheep's feta from Bulgaria.

                              2. re: Nyleve

                                how about bed and breakfast? put me top of your list for a visit please!

                                cheddar and honey sandwiches - sound odd taste great.

                                1. re: smartie

                                  I would have the grumpiest B+B in the world. I don't talk to anyone until I've had a couple of cups of coffee. And even then I'd prefer not to. The food might be good but I still wouldn't get good ratings on Tripadvisor.

                            2. It won't use up enough, but honey ice cream is divine. There's a very simple and delicious recipe in Pure Desserts by Alice Medrich.

                              1. Congrats Nyleve, great thread.

                                I'm in a similar situation. Unfortunately local beekeepers also convinced me to "split" up to three hives explaining it isn't much more work and I'll still have bees if one hive fails. We now get 140+ pounds of honey each year !

                                Our solution : Tell everyone we know (and some we don't) and offer honey for trade. Last year we were treated to hand crafted jams, chutneys, salsas, pickled beets, chili sauce, hot sauce, jerk rub, mead (honey wine), maple syrup, as well as Niagara peaches, pickerel fillets, coffee, computer advice, manual labour, auto repair discounts, art discounts, and many fantastic recipe collections - just to name a few !

                                As far as uses, replace sugar with honey wherever sugar is used. If the honey flavour is too strong, cut back to using half sugar / half honey. Probably the biggest single use is making mead, but I find that stuff foul tasting...

                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/dri...

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                  Wow - 140 lbs is a lot of honey. I've also been told that I should have more than one hive but I'm quite happy with just one, thank you very much. This year was my first so I'm going to see how the bees make it through the winter. I stressed out enough with just the one colony - don't need more.

                                  I'm making everything I can think of with honey. I've even switched to honey in my coffee which is actually very nice. And all my friends are getting a little jar. I think that if I remember to use it whenever possible I should manage to make a dent in my supply by the time next year's crop comes in. My standard-issue pumpkin pie has always been made with honey and Thanksgiving is coming up!

                                  No mead. I can't imagine taking something so purely wonderful as this gorgeous honey and fermenting it into alcohol. Seems a waste. I'll stick to Italian wine, thank you.

                                  1. re: Nyleve

                                    I use it in coffee too. Also Irish coffee after dinner.
                                    And it makes a great Manhattan, using .5 t instead of that sickly red vermouth.

                                    1. re: jayt90

                                      Honey Manhattan, wow.

                                      Got to taste Margaritas made with Agave Nectar last summer in San Fransisco. Honey makes an excellent substitution !

                                    2. re: Nyleve

                                      With such a large quantity, and assuming you haven't already heat processed your honey, it is very important to know how to re-liquify the honey when it crystallizes without ruining the flavour or quality.

                                      I jar my honey in 500mL and 1L mason jars, so if/when it crystallizes, I loosen the lids slightly, place jars in a deep pot and fill with water just to the base of the jar neck, and gently heat to about 130F, then cover the pot with a lid and wait. I find the 1L jars need to have this done twice. Be very careful not to get water into the honey or it may ferment and you'll get unwanted mead.

                                      Others I know use the oven to heat to the same temperatures. Over heating (above 160F) with caramelize the honey and ruin the fresh complex flavour.

                                      PS care to share your Pumpkin Pie and Honey Cake recipes ?

                                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                        Yes I do know about de-crystallizing honey. I have not processed this honey in any way - just put it in jars and stashed in the cupboard. But I know that eventually it will all go crystally (I've always bought honey at the farmers market) and I do what you described - water bath. I wouldn't bake or nuke honey - it's such a delicate creature.

                                        Here are the recipes. The pumpkin pie is a little lighter than the usual, with lighter spicing and not so dense. That's the way I like it - you can adjust the spicing to your taste.

                                        Pumpkin Pie
                                        2 eggs
                                        1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
                                        3/4 cup honey
                                        1 tsp. cinnamon
                                        1/2 tsp. ginger
                                        1/2 tsp. nutmeg
                                        1 cup canned evaporated milk or whipping cream
                                        1/2 cup regular milk
                                        1 unbaked 9 or 10-inch (23 or 25 cm) pastry shell

                                        Preheat the oven to 425o F

                                        Place all the ingredients into the container of a blender and blend until smooth. Pour filling into the pie shell. (If you are using a 9-inch/23 cm pie shell, you may have a bit more filling than you need - use the extra to fill a few tart shells or bake in a custard cup as a bonus dessert.)

                                        Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425o F then lower the heat to 350o F and continue baking for another 45 minutes, or until a knife slipped into the center of the pie comes out clean.

                                        Cool to room temperature before serving with plenty of whipped cream.

                                        Honey Cake
                                        4 eggs
                                        1 cup granulated sugar
                                        1 cup vegetable oil
                                        1-1/2 cups honey
                                        3 cups all purpose flour
                                        3 tsp. baking powder
                                        1/2 tsp. baking soda
                                        1 tsp. cinnamon
                                        1 cup cold coffee

                                        Preheat the oven to 350o F.

                                        In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs well with an electric mixer. Add the sugar and continute beating on high speed until light and creamy. Add the oil and honey, beating at medium speed until well blended.

                                        In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture alternately with the coffee, beating after each addition. Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube (or angel food cake) pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325o F and continue baking for 60 minutes or until browned and the cake tests done when poked with a toothpick.

                                        Remove cake from oven and invert the pan over a wine bottle or something. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.

                                        Makes one large cake.

                                        1. re: Nyleve

                                          Thank you so much Nyleve. I believe the oven will get a little work out this week !

                                          BTW, the apple trees are also being extremely generous (and bug free) this season and I'm searching for apple / honey combinations.

                                          1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                            You're right about the apples! Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and it's traditional to begin the meal with apples dipped in honey (for a sweet new year). And that's what we'll be doing. As for something cooked, nothing specific comes to mind at the moment.

                                            1. re: Nyleve

                                              I tried your honey cake recipe last night and am a bit disappointed in how dry it is. I followed the ingredients and steps to the letter. Nyleve, any tips for what I might try next time? I always have large qtys. of honey on hand myself and love a good honey cake!

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                Oh I'm so sorry. I've never had it turn out dry. Possibly overbaked? No idea - it's always perfect for me. I've been making it for years.

                                                1. re: Nyleve

                                                  I did the temp adjustment and all. I just wondered if the ingredient list or temp might have been in anyway a typo (while typing fast sometimes it happens to me) but if you're saying it works for you, I'll just give it another try sometime.

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    I copied and pasted from my own file so should be correct. Still, sorry. I hate it when highly touted recipes just don't turn out right.

                                                    1. re: Nyleve

                                                      Nothing that a bit of Greek yogurt and fresh apricot puree can't assist to yummy lunch-chow. I'm enjoying it right now.

                                          2. re: Nyleve

                                            Here's a Syrian Honey Cake that I love:

                                            4 lg eggs
                                            1/2 cup brown sugar
                                            1/2 cup white sugar
                                            1 cup honey (dark for more flavor)
                                            1 cup coffee mixed with 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
                                            1 cup oil
                                            2 Tbs whiskey
                                            1/2 cup orange juice
                                            1 level tsp dried orange rind (or zested orange rind)
                                            3 1/2 cups sifted flour (4 cups if not using walnuts)
                                            1 cup ground or finely chopped walnuts
                                            1 cup slivered almonds
                                            1 tsp salt
                                            2 tsp baking powder
                                            1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
                                            1 1/2 tsp cloves
                                            2 1/4 tsp ginger
                                            1 1/2 tsp allspice
                                            1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
                                            1 1/2 tsp cardamom
                                            3/4 cup chopped dates.

                                            Beat eggs & sugars in large bowl.
                                            Mix honey, coffee w/ baking soda, oil, whiskey, orange juice & rind.
                                            Blend into egg mixture.
                                            Add flour, ground walnuts, salt, baking powder & spices. Mix well.
                                            Fold in dates.
                                            Grease two loaf pans, line bottoms of pans with slivered almonds. Spoon batter to cover almonds completely before adding the rest of the batter.
                                            Pour in remaining batter, bake one hour at 350 or until toothpick comes out clean.
                                            Cool in pan. remove & let cool completely on rack.
                                            Store at room temperature. The cake gets better after a day or two.

                                            Happy new year.

                                      2. re: PoppiYYZ

                                        @PoppiYYZ:
                                        Wow...sorry you've never tasted good mead. Done right, a traditional dry mead is subtle in flavor, well balanced, and miles above any other wine. And a properly made and well aged sweet mead outshines the finest sherry.
                                        Frankly, I can't think of a more special way to use some of the honey.

                                        In any case, I don't see the point in a mad rush to use it up either...honey, after all, doesn't go bad.

                                        1. re: The Professor

                                          OK Professor, I'm always willing to be educated ! Any simple mead recipes or links you could recommend ? I have been successful with cider so I'd be willing to do a small mead experiment.

                                      3. The Bees Knees is one of my favorite cocktails. It's gin, honey and lemon juice. It won't use up a bunch of honey at once, but if you're a raging drunk like I am, you'll be just fine...

                                        1. I think that honey is excellent when used on chicken, I know I've baked chicken with honey and orange. E.g.:

                                          http://www.google.com/search?sourceid...

                                          1. I love Ferber's yellow peach and lavender honey jam, though I do it without the lavender.
                                            3lb peaches
                                            2 1/3 c sugar
                                            1 1/4 c honey
                                            juice of one lemon

                                            1. Recently made a fantastic traditional Spanish Tapa of perfectly dusted and fried eggplant slices (ie. tender but still with texture) that were then drizzled with honey ! The recipe calls for either honey or a sugar cane molasses. An excellent combination since the touch of honey offsets the slight bitterness of the eggplant.

                                              If you are adventurous and don't mind riffing on a recipe, I think using a Honey Gastrique (thyme or lemon) would also be heavenly...

                                              1. Just re-discovered the thread, Nyleve, and it is a pleasure to read through it.

                                                How did your bees make it through the winter?

                                                And your surplus? It must be manageable by now.

                                                The surplus will crystallize over winter, but I remember a tip if you get to do it again. The brand of creamed honey in Sobey's, called Munro, uses a crystal pattern selected and maintained for 70 years. I f you add a few oz. of Munro's to a much larger amount of liquid honey, it will develop the same fine crystal pattern.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: jayt90

                                                  It was such a mild winter that the bees came through with (literally) flying colours, despite my complete inexperience. I unwrapped the hive in March and they were already very active. It's been busy ever since. Just last week I put a honey super on the hive since there are so many flowers around and they're clearly looking for something to do. If this works out, I may get two harvests this year, thus overwhelming me completely. I'm not complaining, though.

                                                  You're right, I've gone through most of last fall's honey - partly by consuming it and partly by supplying friends and family. I have to tell you, a jar of our own honey definitely outclasses any jar of homemade jam I've ever given anyone. Interestingly, our honey crystallized very very quickly - like within weeks of harvest. I've been told that this can happen for all kinds of reasons, including poor filtration during the extraction process which leaves tiny particles in the liquid honey. I suspect that was the case with mine - but I'm ok with that. I just re-liquefied it as I needed it by warming it slightly. That's really interesting, though, about the Munro's honey crystals. I doubt I'll be doing that but it's it's cool to know.

                                                  I love my bees.

                                                  1. re: Nyleve

                                                    Ok it's official, I have honey-envy, Nyleve. What a wonderful reply.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      I love my bees. Oh did I already say that?

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        Tell me about it! My dad kept bees for a few years when I was little and we were eating the honey for years after the bees tragically failed to make it through a winter. I've never had honey as good as the stuff those bees made. I'd kill to have access to homegrown honey again.

                                                        1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                          Oh, one of my bucket list items is to (at least) die a beekeeper! I still hold out hope!

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            Of course I don't know where you live, but if you have a backyard and your local municipality allows it, it's surprisingly easy to keep bees. There's an initial investment for equipment (I was lucky, a friend gave me most of the hardware) and you have to buy your bees, but otherwise you can start a hive almost anywhere. I only keep one hive and that's all I want. It takes very little time to maintain and the bees basically mind their business and don't bother anyone (except for the time my husband used the riding mower a little too close...he ended up rolling on the ground ripping his clothes off. Fortunately we don't have close neighbours on that side. For the record: I had warned him to stay away.). I say go for it!

                                                            1. re: Nyleve

                                                              Well, I loved to see my husband experience that precious memory, too! I haven't looked into it mostly because I'm working on two coasts but when I retire, it's on my list. I love honey, bees, honey makers and beekeepers, Nyleve. I really do.

                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                Nyleve is right,

                                                                Getting beekeeping started is very easy. Once you are set up, it takes only an hour in spring to unwrap the little lovelys and medicate if necessary (and per your local beekeepers recommendations) to get them going. Then add a honey super one, or two - or maybe three if you are lucky - times throughout the summer. In late summer, you can gather your delicious bounty in no more than a couple of hours per hive (if you do it manually). Then in late fall, wrap the babies for winter. They know how to do the rest and are too busy to bother anyone ! You may need to make a box or some frames over the winter, but it is really no chore.

                                                                Take a local beekeeping course, it will be a gas ! All in, it won't be the cheapest honey you can get, but it is worth every penny.

                                                                1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                                                  At this point I think we may be around $50 lb. But I bought a bee jacket and a smoker. Totally worth it. I've spent much more money on much stupider things.

                                                                  1. re: Nyleve

                                                                    Thank you for the confidence and encouragement!

                                                  2. Make mead...I used to make a ton of mead and it was expensive to procur enough honey.

                                                    A 5 gallon batch typically requires 12-15lb.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: meadandale

                                                      I'm not a huge fan of mead, to be honest. But maybe I've never had the good stuff.

                                                      1. re: Nyleve

                                                        The commercial stuff is always too sweet. I make dry or off dry meads and they are excellent.

                                                    2. Take advantage of picnic season and serve pitchers of honey herb soda all summer long!
                                                      http://notwithoutsalt.com/2011/07/13/...

                                                      Poached pears are also a delicious use of honey, though not so summery.