Sweet and Delicious Ways to “Bee Healthy” During National Honey Month
September 2023 Issue
By Leslie Rohland
Photography by Lucy Rosen
It’s been referred to as “Mother Nature’s sweetener,” and chances are you’ve enjoyed honey either on its own, added to your favorite cup of tea, or as part of a special recipe. September is National Honey Month, which, since 1989, has promoted beekeeping and the use of honey as a natural sweetener. There’s no better time to celebrate both the distinct sweet taste and the many health benefits of honey than this month, which, according to the National Honey Board, is the month when the majority of honey is harvested in the United States.
There are more than 300 types of honey, which can be purchased raw (straight from the hive) or pasteurized, which is processed to remove imperfections and increase its shelf life. A natural alternative to sugar and a popular sweetening agent, honey is known for being easy on the stomach. It also adapts to all cooking processes, making it the perfect ingredient in a wide range of foods, including baked goods, marinades, beverages, or added to yogurt or charcuterie boards.
While everyone knows that a little honey can do wonders for a sore throat and helps to suppress coughs, there are also a number of other proven health benefits. Honey is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, has antibacterial properties, and is better for blood sugar levels than regular sugar. Although more research is needed, honey has been linked to beneficial effects on heart health and has been shown to have an effect on reducing blood pressure and blood fat levels. There is also evidence that honey may help relieve gastrointestinal tract conditions, and it is also being studied in helping with some neurological diseases. Used topically, honey can promote burn and wound healing. Researchers believe its healing powers may come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are so many reasons to add honey to your diet—and so many great ways to do it! Here are just a few of my favorite recipes that are sure to “bee” a hit—perfect for an intimate meal with your own “honey,” or a gathering with family and friends. Whether combining the distinctive tastes of honey and goat cheese for my Honey & Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates, or my famous “Sticky Honey Chicken,” which has long been a family favorite, or my no-bake Honey Greek Yogurt Cheesecake that is as easy to make as it is sweet and delicious, honey adds that special, all-natural touch that can be your secret ingredient.
Let’s celebrate the sweetness of September! Add a bountiful buzz to your recipes … and “bee” healthy while enjoying the benefits of honey, Honey!
Honey & Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates
12 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced down the middle
3 Tbsp Goat cheese
3 Tbsp Almonds, crushed
Honey (local preferred)
Pit and slice the dates. Stuff each date with goat cheese, pressing firmly into each date. Place dates on a serving platter and sprinkle with crushed almonds. Drizzle heavy with local honey!
Sticky Honey Chicken
½ tsp Salt 1½ lbs Boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
½ tsp Black pepper 1 box Basmati rice (prepared according to directions)
4 Tbsp Cornstarch Green onions, sliced, for garnish
Vegetable oil, as needed Sesame seeds, for garnish
For the Sauce:
2 Tbsp Water 2 Tbsp Sesame oil 1/3 cup Honey (local preferred)
2 Tbsp Cornstarch 2 Tbsp Soy sauce 1 Tbsp Hot sauce (sriracha preferred)
2 Tbsp fresh Ginger, grated 3 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss with the cornstarch and set aside. Make the basmati rice and set aside. Mix all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, whisk and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, then add chicken in small batches until fully cooked through and browned—about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside in a bowl. Add the sauce to the same skillet, and bring to a simmer, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour sauce over the cooked chicken, toss well.
Portion the rice in serving bowls, then add the chicken on top of the rice, garnish with green onion and sesame seeds, then drizzle with more honey.
Blueberry Arugula Salad
with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
For the Dressing:
2 Tbsp Honey (local preferred)
1-1/2 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 Garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp Sea salt
1/4 cup Olive oil
Fresh ground pepper to taste
For the Salad:
2 cups Arugula
1 ½ cups fresh Blueberries
4 oz Goat cheese (save some for garnish)
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, whisk together and let sit for about 5 minutes. Mix the salad ingredients in a serving bowl, drizzle with the dressing, toss gently. Garnish with dollops of goat cheese.
Honey Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
For the Crust:
12 Ginger snap cookies, crushed ¼ cup Unsalted Butter, melted
For the Filling:
2 cups pure Greek yogurt ¼ cup Confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp Lemon zest 6 oz White chocolate chips, melted
½ cup Honey for drizzle (local preferred) 14 oz Full-fat Cream cheese, room temp
Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, set aside. Process the ginger snaps in a food processor or place them in a large Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to smash them into fine crumbs. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl and add the melted butter. Toss together until the crumbs and butter are mixed well. Transfer the crumbs to the lined springform pan and press the crumbs tightly into the bottom of the pan until you have a smooth surface. Place it in the refrigerator.
Whisk together the yogurt, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon zest until smooth. (It’s best to do this by hand, so the mixture does not get overworked and become runny.) Place the white chocolate in a glass or ceramic bowl and melt in 10 to 15 second intervals in the microwave, stirring well in between. As soon as the chocolate is melted, spoon it into the cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine.
Remove the springform pan from the refrigerator and fill the pan evenly with the cream cheese mixture. Chill for at least 2 hours, or until set, before serving. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan, warm the honey in a small saucepan and drizzle over the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh berries, if desired.
Leslie Rohland, owner of the Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room in Old Town Bluffton, is an award-winning recipe creator who is known for her delicious and ever-changing menu at her extraordinary restaurant. She is also the owner of the popular healthy eatery The Juice Hive and the micro-roastery May River Coffee Roasters. For more information about The Cottage Cafe, visit www.thecottagebluffton.com or call 843-757-0508.