Most people would be awestruck when they find out that even honey can be dehydrated. Surprisingly, dehydrated honey is the ideal sweetening agent for all kinds of sweet dishes as it easily blends with it imparting it a mild sweet taste. According to nutritionists, dehydrated honey not only serves as a good source of energy but also strengthens the immune system along with it. Since normal honey cannot be used in all kinds of dishes, dehydrated honey is every sweet crazed person’s dream come true.
Dehydrated honey is known by many names like honey crystals, dried honey and powdered honey. Although they all refer to the same thing, there are many varieties of dehydrated honey out there. These varieties mainly differ in quality and nothing else. The way the dehydrated honey is processed determines its quality in the end. There are all kinds of dehydrated honey right from crystal honey to finely powdered honey. While honey naturally has a long shelf life, dehydrating honey lengthens it further. Ideally, there should be no formation of crystals or loss of color as honey gets dehydrated. Also, if one is not careful about yeast contamination, there is a good chance that the honey can get spoilt, so appropriate care must be taken in this regard.
Fortunately though, the process of dehydrating honey is simple enough and can be done by almost anyone without any special training. Most people assume that dehydrating honey is a complicated process as it is not commonly available in the market. Most people do not know that, dehydrated honey powder is the secret ingredient of many dessert makers. In this article we shall discuss, how to efficiently dehydrate honey.
1. Preparing thin layers of honey: The first step in dehydrating honey is to disperse it thinly on dehydration trays lined with baking sheet. The layer should be fairly thin in order for the dehydration to occur efficiently. If in case baking sheets are unavailable, people may use butter paper in its place. It is extremely important that the honey is spread as thin as possible, at least to about one eighth of an inch. If people desire to add any flavoring to dehydrated honey, they can add it at this stage itself. But this is not mandatory. Usually ground ginger or ground cinnamon flavoring is added.
2. Removing the moisture: Dehydrating honey is a little bit different than dehydrating most other food stuff. For starters, it cannot be dehydrated at very high temperatures as it is susceptible to getting burned. The ideal temperature for removing moisture from honey is about one hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit. While at this temperature, the dehydration process may be very slow, but it will ensure that the honey does not get burnt in the process. It is advisable for people to keep checking on it at regular intervals just to ensure that the honey does not get burnt. One rule of thumb to assess the dehydration of honey is to check if it is still sticky, as long as it is sticky it has not completely dehydrated. Different batches of honey may take different periods of time to dehydrate, people should continue the process of dehydration at the same temperature till they end up with non sticky desiccated honey.
3. Cooling the dehydrated honey: Once the honey is crisp and non sticky, the trays may be removed from the dehydrators for cooling. It is best if the cooling happens naturally. Also, it is imperative that people ensure that the dehydrated honey is not kept in humid areas as far as possible. For best results, it is recommended to keep the hot dehydrated honey in dry rooms to allow it to cool off. People should take all measures to ensure that the surrounding moisture is not absorbed by the dehydrated honey.
4. Powdering the dehydrated honey: Once the dehydrated honey has cooled off completely, it can be broken into little pieces and then fed into a blender to granulate it as required. Dehydrated honey can be used both as crystals or fine powder. People can utilise the blender to granulate the dehydrated honey as they need it. Whatever maybe the end form of dehydrated honey, it can be used as a natural sweetener in all kinds of dishes. Since honey is extremely sticky, there is every possibility that some of it will get stuck on the trays, when dehydrating it for long periods. However, this is to be expected and not a cause for concern.
Storing dehydrated honey
It is common sense that the dehydrated honey should not be exposed to moisture if its dehydrated state is to be preserved. For long term storage, it is advisable to store the dehydrated honey in airtight boxes. As long as it is protect from all sorts of contamination, it can be stored indefinitely. It is advisable to minimize the periods of time the airtight boxes containing dehydrated honey are kept open to the maximum extent possible.
All said and done
With people getting increasingly health conscious, healthier alternatives to white sugars are getting a lot of prominence and dehydrated honey is at the forefront of this list. Considering that honey is a natural alternative to sugar which is virtually fat free, usage of honey is increasing among people as expected. Not only is honey’s glycemic index low but it also contains a smorgasbord of vitamins and minerals which are essential for the healthy functioning of the body. Honey basically consists of water, glucose, fructose and small amounts of nutrients like iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid.
Furthermore, newer researchers have indicated that honey is a good source of antioxidants as well. As discussed above, the process of dehydrating honey is not that complicated and can be easily achieved if one has access to a dehydrator. In case people are new to using dehydrators, it is better that they get used to ascertaining the proper time period required for drying food stuff generally prior to dehydrating honey, as it is a slow process. Under drying of honey will hamper the texture of dried honey while over drying honey will char it.