How To Dehydrate Honey With A Food Dehydrator. An Easy And Simple Step-By-Step Guide.
I bet we’re all in agreement that honey is the sweetest thing that mankind has ever come across. That the mention of this word automatically sends shockwaves in our digestive system is no joke at all. Honey is a sugar solution that is supersaturated and naturally forms crystals or coarse granules.
It is greatly valued for its characteristic flavor, enticing aroma, and high nutritional quality.
It has a complex mixture of enzymes, sugars, amino acids, minerals and vitamins A,B,C,D,E and K hence a very nutritious food product besides its unique sweetness.
Have you ever realized that honey has varying tastes? Probably you have. The floral sources that feed the bees, the regional and climatic conditions greatly affect the composition of honey, its flavor as well as its properties. Thus, you don’t have to panic if you encounter honey from another place tasting differently.
Honey, from time immemorial, has been part and parcel of our lives, playing a key role in our diets both as a sweetener and nutrient provider.
A common question that I have been asked severally by consumers is the exact lifespan of honey. It is worth noting that honey, in its natural form, has a gargantuan life span.
Studies indicate that honey can last for thousands of years. This is courtesy of the low water activity in honey of -0.6 and high osmotic environment that don’t support any microbial growth. Other components of honey include glucose 33 -35%and fructose (invert sugars) 38 -40%. These are the principal sugars found in honey.
Dehydrating Honey - Why?
I know you might be wondering if it’s actually necessary to dehydrate honey when it’s well known that honey in its natural form lasts for years. It is true that honey in its natural form doesn’t spoil.
Honey also contains high sugar levels enabling it to store for several years, naturally. However, this happens if and only if it remains unopened and also if stored at a reasonable temperature.
Once opened and placed in unfavorable temperatures, honey might not spoil but would crystallize into ugly and gummy sugar, making it hard to use. So, by dehydrating it, moisture is taken out of honey and this ensures it doesn’t crystallize or lose its natural color.
Again, some of the honey that you sometimes buy from some shops might not be actually pure, natural honey. Some companies add other ingredients to the natural honey for different purposes. And remember, it’s only pure, natural honey that can last for years.
Another reason for dehydrating honey is that foods properly dehydrated can’t develop bacteria because bacteria basically need moisture to thrive. This means that you make it safer for consumption when you dehydrate it.
Compared to freezing and canning, dehydrating is the healthiest way to preserve your food. Only 3 to 5% of nutrients are lost when food is dehydrated whereas in freezing and canning, 40% and 80% of nutrients are lost, respectively.
When you dehydrate your honey, you are sure of retaining more flavors unlike canning where the flavors get absorbed in the water.
Honey also contains yeast in its natural form. Over time, this yeast can aid in fermenting the honey and give it a funny taste. Though the fermentation doesn’t make your honey harmful for consumption, the awkward taste won’t excite you either. Dehydrating your honey protects it from this menace.
Dehydrated honey is multipurpose it that it can be ground into powdered form or sugar-like crystals for easy usage. For example, in its powdered form, you can comfortably use it as a powdered sprinkle to make your baking terrific. Foods and desserts too can be made fantabulous with this powdered sprinkle.
Dehydration is cost-effective. You can cheaply buy in bulk and easily dehydrate for future use. Again, it has been proven that homemade dehydrated food is way cheaper than the ones from the shops. Here, you won’t have to worry about the surplus honey you might have. Proper drying ensures the future is well taken care of.
Dehydrated honey will last for an unknown number of years. It has been proven that honey dehydrated in the ancient times could last for thousands of years. .
Dehydrated honey plays a key role in baking too. For instance, since honey in its natural, viscous form might prove complicated to store or hard to use in baking, dried honey plays an important role in baking bread, cookies and sweet dough products.
Another good thing about dehydrated honey is that it can be a wonderful substitute for sugar. Unlike the normal white sugar, honey has a very low glycemic index level. This means that it doesn’t present any threat to your blood glucose or blood sugar level. In addition to that, as we’ve seen above, it has lots of vitamins and minerals.
Looking for a flexible ingredient in your kitchen for those luscious meals? Look no further for dried honey will make your recipe exciting again and again.
6 Easy Steps To Dehydrate Honey Using A Food Dehydrator
- Dehydrator (you can choose one from our top 10 food dehydrator reviews)
- Parchment paper or fruit roll-up sheets
- Blender or grinder
- Air-tight container(s)
1. Spread out honey on parchment paper
You can also use the fruit roll up sheets or fruit puree sheet that are designed specifically for the dehydrators. Parchment paper doesn’t get destroyed by the heat produced by the dehydrators.
Spread your honey out in an even, thin layer to allow moisture escape easily. The layer should be 1/8-inch thick on your parchment paper.
You can also sprinkle ground cinnamon or ginger over your layer for added flavor if you wish.
2. Heating it at about 120 degrees.
Once you’ve spread your honey perfectly, place the tray of honey carefully in the dehydrator. Then set the dehydrator at 120 degrees. Keep an eye on the honey and once it hardens and starts to break apart, stop the dehydrator.
Here, you must be keen because it is a very crucial step. If left for too long, the honey will burn and if taken out so early, it will still contain some moisture hence a sticky end product.
This particular step takes about 24 hours.
3. Cool the honey off in a dry environment
From the dehydrator, place the honey in a suitable environment to allow it cool. Don’t store your honey in a humid area for additional moisture might find its way into the honey and spoil the procedure.
4. Grind it up, preferably with a blender
After it has fully cooled down, use the spatula to carefully remove the honey from the trays. Then put the dehydrated pieces into the blender. Grind it into sugar – like substance. Actually, just grind the honey according to your liking. It can be in a powder form or small crystals.
Take note that if you wait for too long for your honey to cool down before grinding it, then you might not get the desired results. The faster you do this, the better.
5. Store in a tightly-sealed container
To maintain its powder state, store your honey in an air-tight container and keep it in a cool, dry place. Humid conditions will reverse your gains.
Studies also indicate that storing honey at higher temperatures (35 degrees and above) results in its liquefaction which is a seriously non-desirable state.
6. Using the dehydrated honey
Once ready, your dehydrated honey can be used in a variety of meals. However, when you sprinkle these granules on mostly your confections, always serve them immediately. Waiting for long can result in disastrous results as the honey granules can form a sticky coating.
Proudly poke your honey shards into mashed yams, cakes and other savory foods.
Challenges Of Storing Dehydrated Honey
Generally, the susceptibility of honey to moisture is the most serious challenge lovers of dried honey can experience. Having dried your honey and safely stored it doesn’t mean that you can now sit pretty and wait to enjoy it when the time comes. Moisture can always find its way in any form of honey.
What you should maintain is the cool and dry environment where honey is kept. In case your dried granules draw water from the surrounding, don’t panic. There are several ways you can solve this.
And if you live in a seriously humid environment, you can acquire a dehumidifier. This will reduce and maintain the humidity level in the air in your house. By so doing, it will actually create a viable environment for your dried honey to be stored as you wish.
Another way of overcoming this challenge is using the dehydrated honey to make various honey-based products such as the honey powder, the granulated honey, honey flakes among others.
Honey candy which is also made from dehydrated honey can be used as a health food and also for therapeutic purposes.
Poor storage of dehydrated honey also causes it to lose its unique flavor. To take care of this, you can mix your dehydrated honey with sugar to maintain its flavor. This can be done at the grinding stage.
Honey is a highly nutritious food substance. It is also a very flexible ingredient that can be used in almost all forms of cooking, baking and many others.
To spice up things in your kitchen, never think twice about using honey. And as we have seen above, dried honey is so convenient, cheap and equally nutritious just like the honey in its natural viscous form.
Dehydrating honey is a walk in the park. It’s nothing difficult or out of the ordinary. Just like other food items, it has its own uniqueness that can easily be dealt with.
If you are an enthusiast of dehydrating, then you’ll realize that this is just another process, another opportunity to do what you like doing best. All you need is the right type of honey and the right equipment including a good dehydrator and storage containers.