Honey | In Season

Sweeten your outlook with these delicious honey recipes from the Yankee archives.

By Amy Traverso

Feb 05 2018

Photo Credit : Amy Drucker/Stocksy

At any midsummer New England farmers’ market, it’s easy to get distracted by the crates of fresh tomatoes and blueberries and overlook the local honey producer. But in February, when we’re down to greenhouse kale and root vegetables, those jars of golden nectar can seem like bottled sunshine.

Supporting small-scale beekeepers—who tend to be very mindful of good breeding practices and pesticide use—is one way to help protect bees from the colony collapse disorder that threatens bee populations worldwide. And buying local honey can boost not only your cooking but also your health: Several studies have found that honey is an effective treatment for coughs (though physicians warn against feeding it to children before age 1).

New England honey ranges in color from pale gold to nut brown and in flavor from floral to fruity to musky (as with chestnut and buckwheat honeys), and it changes through the seasons. Spring honey derives from the delicate blooms of fruit trees, clover, flowering herbs, and crocuses, while hearty summer honey comes from berry blossoms, dandelions, coneflowers, sunflowers, and roses. The darkest honey of the year is made in the fall, when bees find nectar in blooms such as goldenrod, sedum, and aster.

While the simplest way to enjoy honey is poured over yogurt or stirred into tea, the following recipes offer a full range of options—from savory appetizers to salads to sweets. There’s even a recipe for cooking with mead (honey wine), which is made by a growing number of producers all over New England.

Winter Vegetable Salad with Spiced Honey Vinaigrette

This winter root vegetable salad, made with root veggies, winter greens, almonds, and goat cheese, is a terrific combination of tastes and textures.

Feta-and-Honey-Stuffed Gourd Dip

This gourd dip, beautifully balanced between sweet and savory and served inside a gourd, makes a charming start to dinner. To make it easier to pour out the honey, first grease your measuring cup lightly with oil.

“Boiled Dinner” Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Made with Savoy cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and prosciutto with a honey-mustard vinaigrette, this spring dinner salad is easy and delicious.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken with Mead, Apricots, and Almonds

Mead is a versatile cooking ingredient, either as the base of a braising liquid or as a poaching liquid for salmon or fruits such as pears and apples.

Grandma Goldberg’s Honey Cake

Honey cake is traditionally served at the Jewish New Year, when you’re supposed to eat something sweet to welcome in a sweet new year. But you can really eat it anytime.

Cranberry-Honey Walnut Drops

We updated the recipe for cranberry-honey walnut drops with a combination of honey and maple syrup (for flavor) and added lots of chopped cranberries and walnuts for both flavor and texture.

Honey-Lavender Syrup

This fragrant honey-lavender syrup from 2008 showcases subtle flavors and works best with light New England spring honey.

Raspberry-Honey Trifle with Homemade Corncake

This simple raspberry honey trifle lets local ingredients shine. It’s beautiful arranged in a single 8- or 9-inch glass trifle bowl or in individual serving glasses.