Cooking with Honey

Baking, Cooking How-To, Dessert, How-To, Recipes
on September 1, 2007
Mark Boughton Photography

Did you know once upon a time in America, honey was used to make cement? These days we’d rather use it to make cheesecake. Here are a few more fun facts about honey.

  • LITERATURE: 21ST CENTURY B.C. Honey is alluded to in the Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite code, the sacred writings of India, the Vedas and in the ancient writings of Egypt.
  • EGYPT: 30TH CENTURY B.C. Honey was used in most households as a sweetening agent. The people of this time valued honey highly, thus, it was commonly used as a tribute or payment. Honey was also used to feed sacred animals.
  • SUMERIA, ASSYRIA AND BABYLONIA: 21ST CENTURY B.C. Honey was poured over thresholds and stones bearing commemorative offerings. Honey and wine were also poured over bolts that were to be used in sacred buildings.
  • GREECE: 7TH CENTURY B.C. An ancient custom was the offering of honey to the gods and to spirits of the dead. Mead, an alcohol drink made with honey, was considered the drink of the gods.
  • GERMANY: 11TH CENTURY A.D. German beer was sweetened with honey. German peasants were required to give their feudal lords a payment of honey and beeswax.
  • AMERICAS: 16TH CENTURY A.D. Conquering Spaniards found that the natives of Mexico and Central America had already developed beekeeping. A distinct family of stingless bees (not true honey bees) was native to these regions.
  • AMERICAN COLONIES: 17TH CENTURY A.D. European settlers introduced European honey bees to New England in about 1638. North American natives called these honey bees the “white man’s flies.” Honey was used to prepare food and beverages, to make cement, to preserve fruits, to concoct furniture paste-polish and varnish and for medicinal purposes.