Oh, how sweet it is! Firmenich – an international flavorings company – recently named honey as the Flavor of the Year for 2015. While it’s no surprise to us (clearly it’s the flavor of every year around these parts), it’s exciting for the industry to receive this kind of recognition. It’s something we all take pride in – from the local beekeepers who help us supply our customers with only 100 percent pure honey to the loyal Sue Bee Honey supporters who have been spreading the sweet goodness on their toast for generations.

Versatility

So what’s so special about honey? For starters it’s a classic flavor that is quite possibly the most versatile product in the entire kitchen and it has seen a big resurgence in recent years. As consumers continue to value sourcing and quality over price and perceived convenience, they’re finding that products like pure honey can help add sweetness to their food without leaving them feeling guilty. It can be used as a sugar substitute in baking by substituting equal parts honey for sugar. For example, if your recipe calls for one cup of sugar, use one cup of honey instead. Keep in mind, though, that for every cup used, you’ll need to increase the baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon to help neutralize the acidity of the honey and help the food rise. Honey is also great for dressings, glazes, marinades, sauces, spreads and more.

Flavor

Honey also has a distinct and unique flavor profile, but it does not all taste the same. Different types of honey can have varying effects of taste based on different factors, such as the specific flower nectar the honey bees are pollinating. Light honey, for instance, is sweeter and unlikely to be overpowering, while darker honey has a more distinct flavor and can potentially alter the taste of the recipe if one adds too much. More than 300 unique types of honey have been identified, and we’re proud to offer a number of different types, like clover, buckwheat, orange blossom and sage for you to try yourself! 

Integration

Have you ever wandered the aisles at the grocery store and noticed how many different products use honey? You can find it in salad dressing, barbecue sauce, cream cheese, peanut butter, Greek yogurt and green tea. Then there are specific products, such as Honey Nut Cheerios, Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey and Pizza Hut’s new Honey Sriracha Pizza Crust. You don’t have to hit the grocery store to get the full experience of honey’s integration into condiments, dressing and marinades. Our recipe database has hundreds of ways you can use it for yourself. 

Creation

The process of getting honey from the flower to your kitchen starts with honey bees. These little miracle workers collect nectar from flowering plants and bring it back to the beehive. Beekeepers then collect the honeycomb from the beehive before extracting the honey. Watch the following video to learn more about the entire process of how this sweet goodness goes from the farm to your kitchen.

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Conservation

As interest and demand in honey continues to rise, however, the honey bee population continues to take a hit as colony collapse disorder still is taking a toll on the planet and our food systems. Bees help to pollinate millions of crops throughout the world, but as the number of honey bees dwindles, it makes it more difficult to harvest these crops and meet demand which in turn increases prices. We all love honey but if we want to continue to enjoy it for – not to mention all the other foods bees help produce – we each need to do our part in helping to Support the U.S.A. Honey Bee.

Learn more by exploring our Honey 101 section or visiting our blog. For more ideas and inspiration, visit our recipes page and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest