photos by CARRIE ALLEN
When George McAllister moved his beekeeping operation from Charlotte to his lake home in Terrell last year, he brought with him quite the family tradition. George’s grandfather taught him the finer points of the craft, passed along from his grandfather, with family ties to beekeeping going back to the late 1800s.
Young George put together his own beekeeping operation in high school, and though he followed the corporate route as a consultant, has returned to his beekeeping roots in recent years — a huge win for Lake Norman area residents.
Since these are now “lake bees” their honey comes from the wide variety of plants growing around the lake, explains George.
“The taste of local honey is something you never forget. It stays with you like a fond memory!” he adds.
Honey lovers are also learning how perfect this local product can be as a natural sweetener — and the perfect substitute for sugar in many recipes. While it can be a good way to decrease your sugar intake, here are some points to keep in mind!
- Honey is actually sweeter than sugar, so use less honey than sugar in your recipe. Use 3/4 cup of honey for every one cup of sugar called for in a recipe. Since honey is a liquid sweetener, you may also need to adjust the liquid content of the recipe. For every one cup of honey used, reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
- Know your recipe well before making the switch! Honey can change the taste of your recipe, and works best in recipes that have a mild or complementary flavor. It’s ideal for muffins, cakes, and cookies, but you may want to avoid using honey in recipes with another strong flavor, such as chocolate recipes, as the honey flavor may overpower the chocolate.
- Choosing the right type of honey can also affect the taste of your recipe. Lighter honey, such as clover or orange blossom, has a milder flavor, while darker honey, such as buckwheat or avocado, has a stronger flavor that’s not a match for all recipes!
- Honey caramelizes faster than sugar, so reduce the cooking temperature to prevent your recipe from burning. Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit when using honey in baked goods, and in a stovetop recipe, reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Remember honey can change the color of your finished product, giving baked goods a darker or golden hue.
- If you aren’t quite ready to completely substitute honey for sugar, consider using it in combination with other sweeteners, including sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar, to reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe while still achieving the desired sweetness.
- The addition of honey in baked goods can also help keep them moist. But, it can also affect shelf life. Store your baked goods in an airtight container to prevent them from becoming too moist, and always store honey in a cool, dry place to prevent it from crystalizing.
Try these easy recipes with your amazing local Lake Norman honey!
Honey Roasted Carrots
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons local honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a mixing bowl, combine sliced carrots, olive oil, local honey, salt, black pepper, and ground cinnamon. Toss until carrots are coated evenly.
- Arrange carrots in a single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast carrots in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are tender and slightly caramelized.
- Remove carrots from oven and serve immediately.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup local honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray or butter.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well-combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, local honey, eggs, and melted butter until smooth.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Bake cornbread for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove cornbread from oven and allow it to cool in the pan for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Visit beesoflakenorman.com to learn more about George’s business and purchase your own delicious locally made honey!