Get Sweet on Honey

Our chefs at Panera Bread® love it as a natural sweetener, but it also has some surprising healing powers you’ll especially welcome during cold and flu season.

Sweet, flavorful honey—produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers—is amazingly versatile and has a rich history of uses through the ages. An antioxidant-rich, easily absorbed source of energy for the human body, this golden elixir has long been known for its antibacterial properties; ancient cultures used it to treat wounds and skin ailments. Read on for lots of other ways to reap the benefits of honey, including enjoying it in food and using it to soothe sore throats and dry skin.      

A Range of Kitchen Uses

Honey comes in a wide range of flavors and colors, thanks to a diverse array of different floral sources, such as clover, eucalyptus, orange blossom, and buckwheat. Lighter-colored honeys are generally more mild-tasting, while darker honeys have a more robust flavor. What else should you keep in mind in the kitchen?

  • Since honey is slightly sweeter than sugar, you can use less of it than you would sugar to achieve the desired sweetness in a recipe.
  • Honey’s flavor can bring balance to dishes, complementing savory flavors as it does in Panera’s Vegetarian Autumn Squash Soup.
  • It also works as an emulsifier, helping to bind and thicken barbecue sauces, salad dressings, marinades, and dips.
  • It’s great for drizzling onto cereal, yogurt, waffles, or pancakes.
  • Delicious in a multitude of beverages, including smoothies and cocktails, it’s an essential component of Panera’s Chai Tea Latte, along with vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger.
  • Store honey at room temperature, and for easy measuring and cleanup, spray the inside of your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray before adding any honey.

Natural Relief of Cold Symptoms

Honey is a time-honored treatment for a sore, scratchy throat. For relief of the irritating symptoms, swallow a spoonful as often as needed to help soothe and coat your throat. In between, sip honey-sweetened, hot herbal tea or a soothing concoction of honey, hot water, and lemon.

Pure and Simple Skin Smoothing

Honey helps attract and retain moisture. You can find it in a variety of moisturizing lotions, cleansers, and balms. To get the beauty benefits:

  • Try a store-bought skin or hair product containing honey, or add a squeeze of honey to your own moisturizer, shampoo, or soap at home.
  • Make a smoothing face mask by mixing 1 teaspoon of mashed avocado, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt together; spread the mixture onto your face and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it off gently with warm water.
  • Apply a dab of honey to cracked heels, dry elbows, or chapped lips before bedtime; you’ll wake up to naturally smoother, softer skin.