by Anna Brones
Column20 unusual ways to use honey, from food to facials.
It was brought to my attention last week that September is in fact National Honey Month. Honey gets an entire month all to itself? Why yes, it certainly does.
Turns out that Americans consume 1.5 pounds of honey per person annually, and there are more than 300 types of honey in the United States alone. That’s impressive, and we figured that if honey gets to be honored all month long, the least we could do is give you 20 different uses for it. Enjoy!
1. Put it on your lips
Did you know that making your own lip balm is as easy as tracking down some almond oil, beeswax and honey? Sure is. Makes you feel a little guilty about that $10 version you picked up at the health food store yesterday, doesn’t it?
2. Make your own honey moisturizer
If you’ve got a handful of sweet smelling herbs – think lavender – laying around and ready to be used, why not use them for your own homemade honey lotion? Warm honey over a saucepan until it gets to a liquid consistency. Pour honey over herbs and cap tightly; the ratio you want to use is 1 tablespoon of herbs per 8 ounces of honey. Let sit for a week and then mix 1 teaspoon of liquid into an 8 ounce bottle of unscented lotion.
3. Eat it with goat cheese
In need of a classy hors d’oeuvre but lacking in the time department? Try this: put a round of goat cheese in a ramekin, sprinkle honey and chopped walnuts on top and place in oven at 350F until honey and cheese are both soft. Serve with baguette or crackers and you’ll be the life of the party.
4. Prepare for the end of the world
You never know what’s going to happen, so stock it. Now.
5. Drink it
We all know a drop of honey in tea is good for a sore throat, but you can add it to most drinks for an extra energy boost. And simply because it’s a whole lot better than tossing in a few Sweet ‘N Lows.
6. Make a salad
One of my favorite and easiest fruit salads uses just a touch of honey to enhance the sugars in the fruit, and it’s a perfect late summer dessert.
- 1 cantaloupe, chopped
- 3 nectarines, chopped
- 4 tablespoons chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons honey
Mix together and enjoy!
7. Give yourself a facial
Honey is a natural humectant with antimicrobial properties, which means your skin will be happy when you give it some sweet honey love. Try a basic honey wash by mixing a dollop of honey and two tablespoons of warm water and massaging the mixture into your skin. Or you can go all out and try the Cucumber Honey Facial.
8. Go the extra mile
Forget energy bars and shots, just pop a tablespoon of honey before your next workout. Seriously, it has been proven to boost athletic performance.
9. Remove parasites
Got a post-Southeast Asia backpacking trip bug that just won’t leave you alone? Mix up a good blend of honey, water and vinegar and you’ll quickly be on your way to being parasite free.
10. Clean your cuts and scrapes
Honey can actually be used as an antiseptic, like a natural Neosporin. Because of its many antimicrobial properties, it can be used to treat wounds and even burns.
11. Get rid of your hangover
Forget a morning of popping ibuprofen, spread some honey on your toast or add some to your tea. Because honey is loaded with fructose, it will help speed up the metabolism of alcohol.
12. Clear up your dry elbows
Nothing’s worse than scratchy elbows (no really) so next time, after you’ve washed and scrubbed, rub some honey on to soften the skin. Leave on for 30 minutes then wash off.
13. Soften your skin
Honey is an excellent exfoliant. You can pair it with ground almonds and lemon juice for a killer homemade facial scrub.
14. Mix a drink
After you’ve been busy reaping all the health benefits that honey has to offer, it’s time to celebrate, and what better way than with a good ole cocktail. Honey Gin Cocktail? Bring it.
15. Eat the honeycomb. No really, just do it.
Yes, it can be done! One of our fave food bloggers Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate & Zucchini, put the ingredient to her readers and got some fun responses. The best sounding one? Mix it with crunchy peanut butter on toast.
16. Get an energy boost
Feeling a tad lethargic? Skip the coffee and go for the honey instead. Mix a tablespoon into a cup of tea and you’ll be feeling better in no time.
17. Beautify your hair
In the shower, after you wash your, coat the ends with a bit of honey. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out and you’ll find that your hair is less frizzy and extra conditioned. Or make your hair shiny and bright by adding one teaspoon honey to one quart of water, and after washing your hair, pouring the mixture over your head. Let dry and enjoy your new-found shiny do.
18. Preserve fruit
Jam is so five years ago; show you’re truly cutting edge by preserving your fruits in a honey sauce. All it takes is one part honey to ten parts water and then covering your berries. Pretty much the closest you’re ever going to get to bottling up a little bit of summer.
19. Relax in the tub
Add a few tablespoons of honey to your bath, for sweeter smelling, softer feeling water. Pure bliss.
20. Lose weight
Well, what were you expecting? With a list this long it had to be pretty apparent that honey is in fact a wonder food, and as it turns out, you can even make it part of your next weight loss plan. Honey is an excellent substitute for sugar and it also helps speed up metabolism. Just remember: all things in moderation.
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s weekly column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground, discovering what’s new and different in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to the culinary avant garde.