The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper's Kitchen

The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper's Kitchen

by Laurey Masterton


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Indulge your sweet tooth all year long with honey’s many seasonal flavors. Use avocado honey to add depth to April’s baby carrots; spice up your July peaches with sourwood honey; and add some cranberry honey to November’s Thanksgiving spread. This delightful book is filled with bits of honey lore and beekeeping history to sweeten your exploration of the varied and delicious ways you can use honey every day. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612120515
Publisher: Storey Books
Publication date: 09/10/2013
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 548,956
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

The late Laurey Masterton was a beekeeper, café owner, caterer, and chef/spokesperson for The National Honey Board who enthusiastically taught the benefits of using and eating local ingredients. She grew up in Vermont and lived in North Carolina where she started Laurey’s Café.

Read an Excerpt



What's Happening in the Hive?

Where I live, the first part of the calendar year is a quiet time inside the hive. The colony is smaller than it is during the major honey production time. The queen remains tucked into the center of a cluster of bees, surrounded by workers who keep her and the entire hive at 95°F (35°C) during the chill of winter and the heat of summer. They are, as my mentor Debra tells me, "thermoregulating geniuses!" (more on that later).

During the winter, the queen is on hiatus from egg laying, and the workers live much longer than they do in the summer. They wear themselves out after about six weeks of busy activity during the summer, but in colder climates, they can live for up to six months.

As the temperature outside increases, the colony begins to get ready for the spring "honey flow," when the trees and plants bloom and have nectar available for the bees. The queen, knowing this, increases her egg production, setting in motion a huge change in the hive. In anticipation of these changes, the beekeeper needs to be ready too. It is time to go through the bee equipment, making sure that all is clean and in good repair.

On a warm day in mid- to late winter, the beekeeper can take a quick peek inside the hives. Ideally, it will be possible to see a healthy cluster of bees and plenty of honey in the frames. If the beekeeper doesn't find any honey, he or she will need to give the bees something to eat — preferably their own honey.

NO 1.


There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.

— Henry David Thoreau


Orange Blossom Honey

Color: Light yellow/orange

Smell: Mild, freshly floral

Taste: Refreshing; mildly bitter with a medium sourness; citrus notes and orange rind

Aftertaste: Mild, short-lasting

Orange blossom honey is readily available due to the huge growing area of oranges. Spanning the southern United States from California to Florida, orange groves produce fruit in the early spring. Bees feast on the nectar from the fragrant white flowers (have you ever been in a blooming orange grove?), turning the sweetness into a light honey that pairs well with so many foods. I find that using it with recipes containing citrus fruits is a natural thing to do, the one easily complementing the other.

Meyer Lemon– and Honey-Marinated Chicken Skewers

Serves 6 as an appetizer

If you can't find these lusciously different lemons, the regular kind will do, but Meyer lemons will give the chicken a distinctive and memorable flavor. Though this recipe started as a purely savory one, I think it works very well with a bit of honey. And the dipping sauce is a light addition. This is a perfect starter for a honey-themed, start-of-the-year dinner.

Here's a thought: Have an hors d'oeuvres party using all the hors d'oeuvres in the book. Fun!



* 1 Meyer lemon

• 2 garlic cloves, crushed

• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tablespoon honey, preferably orange blossom honey

• 1 tablespoon red wine

• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes


* 2 cups plain Greek yogurt

• 2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom honey

• Zest of 1 orange

• 2 tablespoons orange juice


* 25 (8-inch) wooden skewers

• 1/4 pound button mushrooms, stems removed

• 1/4 pound pearl onions, peeled (you can make it easy by purchasing frozen peeled onions)

• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into
Bold= foods pollinated or produced by bees


1. Juice the lemon. Combine the juice of the lemon and its rind (yes, put the entire lemon rind in the marinade), the garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, honey, and red wine in a medium bowl. Whisk together. Add the chicken cubes and allow to sit, covered and refrigerated, for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

2. For the dipping sauce, combine the yogurt, honey, orange zest, and orange juice in a small bowl, stirring until well mixed. Refrigerate until needed.

3. Soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill, or preheat the oven broiler. (I prefer grilling, as the char of the grill will enhance the overall flavor of the skewers.)

4. Skewer the mushrooms, pearl onions, bell pepper, and chicken, putting the chicken on last. Be sure to leave part of each skewer empty at the end for your guests to hold.

5. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, rotating as each side is cooked. Place a strip of aluminum foil under the empty portion of the skewers to ensure they do not burn. Or, broil for about 3 minutes per side.

6. Serve with the dipping sauce.

A Bee's Lifespan

In the summer during high productivity, a worker bee lives for 42 to 45 days. In a cold winter, a worker could live for 6 months. The queen can live for 4 or 5 years. Some say she ceases to be productive after 2 years, but that is a matter of considerable controversy.

What is a Honey Varietal?

Here's the simple answer: Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers and combining that nectar with an enzyme that converts the sucrose in the nectar to glucose and fructose. The bees put the liquid, which at that point is 87 percent water, into empty honeycomb cells.

Worker bees fan the uncapped cells until the liquid evaporates and the resulting liquid is 17 percent water, the consistency we are accustomed to in honey. At that point, the bees put a wax cap on the cell, which keeps the honey pure until the cap is removed.

A specific honey varietal is the result of a beekeeper paying close attention to what is in bloom in the area around his or her beehives. Many times the beehives are positioned in the middle of a blooming crop, such as orange blossoms. The bees collect nectar from the orange blossoms, filling the empty honeycomb with orange blossom nectar. When the orange trees are finished blooming, the beekeeper collects the filled honey frames and takes them to a safe storage place until it is time to extract the honey. This ensures that no other nectar will be mixed in and that the honey will remain a single varietal: orange blossom honey. In the United States alone, there are more than 300 specific honey varietals.

Many beekeepers do not move their hives or try to collect single varietals, simply allowing their bees to forage in a two- to five-mile radius around their hives. In this case, the honey is called "spring honey" or "mixed wildflower honey." I call my honey "Stoney Knob Gold," after my street and in acknowledgment of the fact that my bees' honey is from my neighborhood. The miracle of a mixed honey is that it is a true reflection of the flowers and trees in bloom in the neighborhood of the beehives. The first time I tasted the honey made by my bees, I almost fainted with giddiness as I inhaled the aromas of my home flowers, rolling the flavors around in my mouth. My bees, true artists, had created a unique honey.

Tuscan Tomato Soup with Orange Slices

Serves 8

I adore this soup. I often make it at home when I suddenly find that company is coming. It is delicious, easy, and unusual enough to make your guests praise you — always a good thing! In my shop, we frequently make this when we need something quick and easy for the day's soup. Give it a try. I'm sure you'll soon add it to your repertoire.


* 4 garlic cloves, peeled

• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 small red onion, cut into thin slices

• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks

• 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks

• 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes (San Marzano are great)

• 1 navel orange, cut into wedges and then cut into thin slices (leave the rind on!)

• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Bold= foods pollinated or produced by bees


1. Sauté the whole garlic cloves in the olive oil in a medium soup pot over low heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and bell peppers. Continue to cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes longer.

2. Add the tomatoes. I like a lot of texture in my soup, so I usually coarsely cut the tomatoes with a knife and fork once they are in the pot. Add the orange slices. Simmer for 20 minutes or so.

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Some canned tomatoes are very salty and others less so. I have a salt grinder in my kitchen and give the soup a few grinds of salt and pepper before serving. The oranges will be soft and will add a surprising taste.

4. I love the chunkiness of this soup, but if you prefer a smoother texture, transfer some or all of the soup in batches to a food processor or a blender, pulsing until you arrive at your favorite texture. Or blend the whole mixture in the pot with an immersion blender.

5. Garnish with the shaved Parmesan and get ready for compliments!

Papa's Salad with Clementines

Serves 8

My grandfather ran a newspaper store. My grandmother was the cook in the family and the person who inspired my mother to cook. Any time you see one of my recipes with "Mama's" in the title, it is one of hers. But every once in a while my grandfather, Papa, came up with something, and it became his. This salad is one of those recipes, though I have adapted it slightly, changing the sugar in the original to orange blossom honey. Give it a go. I'm certain you'll be pleased with its crisp sweetness.



* 1 head Boston lettuce (or local Bibb)

• 1 head baby romaine lettuce

• 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

• 1 small sweet onion, sliced into thin rounds

• 6 radishes, sliced into thin rounds

• 2 seedless clementines, peeled and sectioned, white parts removed

• 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced into rounds


* 2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom honey

• 2 tablespoons white vinegar

• 1/2 cup half-and-half

• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bold= foods pollinated or produced by bees


1. Tear the Boston and romaine lettuce into large pieces.

2. Combine the lettuces, cucumber, onion, radishes, clementines, and eggs in a large decorative ceramic or wooden bowl.

3. To make the dressing, combine the honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring until thoroughly blended. Add the half-and-half, whisking until all is well combined.

4. Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad just before serving (and not before), tossing very gently. Papa did not add salt or pepper, but if you wish, sprinkle some coarse salt and grind some fresh pepper over the top right at the end.

5. Take the bowl to the table and tell your guests about my grandfather if you like. Enjoy!

Try in Summer

This is a fine early winter salad because all of these ingredients can be found then, but if you have a good farmers' market, you might want to try this salad in the middle of your local growing season for a really fresh treat.

Pork Tenderloin with Orange Blossom Honey Mustard

Serves 6

Pork is well complemented by sweet things. On a trip to Tuscany, I was wowed by a dinner of local pork chops served with a sweet onion confit made with sugar. The flavor stayed with me and, after making my version of that dish a number of times, I decided to play with it, using honey and fresh fruit. Here's what I came up with.


* 2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds total)

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

• 2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom honey

• 1 navel orange

• Juice of 1 Meyer lemon

Bold= foods pollinated or produced by bees


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Drizzle the pork with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season with the garlic, salt, and pepper.

3. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the surface of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the tenderloins. Turn when browned, after about 1 minute, and cook for 1 minute longer. Ideally, each tenderloin will curve close to the sides of the pan, leaving a space in the center.

4. Remove the skillet from the heat.

5. Combine the mustard and honey in a small bowl and blend well with a fork. Spoon the mixture over the pork.

6. Cut the orange into thin slices, leaving the rind on. Layer them in the skillet, lining them up in the center of the pan, overlapping to cover all the spaces in the pan.

7. Roast the pork in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 145°F. Remove from the oven and squeeze the lemon juice over the pork. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

8. Slice the tenderloins in diagonal slices, about 1 inch thick. Place a slice or two of the cooked orange on the plate and put the sliced pork on top. Spoon the pan drippings over the sliced pork and serve. Oh my!

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

Serves 4–5

Even though my mother was a wonderful cook, she did not usually stray from her well-beaten path. Vegetables in our house were steamed. And in fact, most vegetables started in the frozen state. Steaming frozen vegetables is okay if that's all you have on hand, but things have changed dramatically since my mother's time, with fresh, local food much more available. Oven roasting is such a fine way to bring out the flavors of vegetables that I rarely steam anything anymore. There is no honey in this recipe, but without bees, we wouldn't have Brussels sprouts (or garlic).

If you are lucky enough to live in a place with local farmers' markets, you'll be thrilled to buy a stalk of Brussels sprouts, snip them off the stalk, and roast them right away. Second best is to buy a bag full of bright green sprouts in the produce section of your grocery store. Roasting them will bring out their sweetness.


* 1 stalk Brussels sprouts (about 1
• 4 garlic cloves, chopped into large pieces

• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt

Bold= foods pollinated or produced by bees


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Cut the Brussels sprouts off the stalk, trimming off any bruised outer leaves. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise. Spread the cut sprouts on a sturdy baking sheet.

3. Spread the chopped garlic over the sprouts. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, keeping watch toward the end of the baking time, until slightly browned and tender when poked with a fork. Taste and add another bit of salt if desired.

5. Serve immediately.

Citrus Smoothies

Serves 4–6

Smoothies make a great start to the day. To make one, you simply need fresh fruit, yogurt, honey, and a blender. During our recipe-testing sessions, we realized that this colder version, with ice, was significantly better than the version we made without ice. I have one of those super-duper blenders that cranks through ice cubes as if they were butter. If you don't, you may need to chop up whole ice cubes before adding them to your blender (put them in a heavy-duty plastic bag and pound them gently with a hammer).

The honey adds its own intrigue to the taste.


* 1 medium banana

• 1/2 cup strawberries

• Zest from 1 orange

• 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt

• 1 cup orange juice

• 1/4 cup honey, preferably orange blossom honey

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1 1/2 cups ice cubes

• 4–6 whole strawberries for garnish

Bold= foods pollinated or produced by bees


1. Combine the banana, strawberries, orange zest, yogurt, orange juice, honey, vanilla, and ice in a blender and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Easy enough!

2. Pour into glasses and garnish each with a fat red strawberry. Serve immediately.


Excerpted from "The Fresh Honey Cookbook"
by .
Copyright © 2013 Laurey Masterton.
Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents



A Note on the Recipes

How to Taste Honey


January: Orange Blossom

February: Tupelo

March: Acacia



April: Avocado

May: Raspberry

June: Tulip Poplar



July: Sourwood

August: Blueberry

September: Sage



October: Eucalyptus

November: Cranberry

December: Chestnut


Recipes Organized by Course

Common Foods Needing Honeybees for Pollination

Where to Find Honey Varietals

Suggested Reading

Metric Conversions



Customer Reviews