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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Honey/Sugar/Syrup

TIP OF THE DAY: Reasons To Use Superfine Sugar

Pick up some superfine sugar. It dissolves
instantly in cold drinks. Photo courtesy
Domino Sugar.


If you put sugar in iced tea or other cold beverages and cocktails, or make frosting, mousse or other uncooked desserts, you may want to pick up a box of superfine sugar.

Superfine sugar, also known as ultrafine sugar (and caster or castor sugar in the U.K.), is more finely pulverized than table sugar (granulated sugar). The grain size of regular table sugar is about .5mm; superfine sugar grains are about 3.5mm.

The result is that superfine sugar dissolves instantly. No vigorous stirring is required to get the sugar to dissolve; no undissolved sugar sinks to the bottom of the glass.

Many pastry chefs and bakers prefer using superfine sugar in order to create higher-rising cakes with a slightly finer crumb (grain). For the same reason, superfine sugar is used to make delicate baked goods such as meringues and angel food cakes. As a result, superfine sugar is sometimes called bakers’ sugar.

Just substitute the same amount as regular granulated sugar in your recipes.

You can find superfine sugar in most supermarkets, or buy it online.


Make Superfine Sugar. You can convert table sugar to superfine sugar in a blender or food processor. Let the sugar powder settle for a few minutes before removing the lid of the appliance.

  • Check out the different types of sugar in our Sugar Glossary.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Grenadine

    First, what is grenadine?

    A deep red syrup used for hundreds of years to flavor and give a reddish/pink tinge to drinks and other recipes, true grenadine is made from pomegranate juice and sugar syrup. The name comes from the French grenade and the Spanish grenada, words for pomegranate.

    Alas, today’s mass-marketed “grenadine” is faux grenadine, containining neither pomegranate nor sugar. If you want to pour HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) into your drink, go ahead.

    Otherwise, look for artisan brands and check the label.

    Or, make your own grenadine. Here’s the recipe.

    Making grenadine syrup couldn’t be easier. And once you’ve made a batch, you can use it to make dozens of delicious recipes: not just drinks, but everything from mains to desserts.

    And you can give it as gifts.

  • Grenadine Overview & History
  • Grenadine Recipes

    Grenadine. Some European brands contain
    alcohol and are drunk as a cordial. Photo
    by Coatilex | Wikimedia.




    NEWS: Honeybees On The Farm

    We just received a beautiful email from Greg Quinn, a currant grower whose juice, Currant C, is a NIBBLE favorite and one of the highest antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic foods.

    We love the description of the honeybees on the farm and would like to share it with all honey lovers:

    Well, we’re wrapping up spring in good stead here on the farm. I captured and hived a swarm of honey bees last week and this hive will be the start of a new bee yard over by the currant fields.

    It was a robust swarm of about 8,000 bees (3,500 bees weigh 22 lbs) and they’re doing great in their new home. Within 2 days they had made propolis* from the resin of tree sap and sealed up any small cracks and covered over all the knots in the new hive body. They are making honey and storing pollen and her majesty is laying about 500 eggs a day. In about a month, she’ll be up to 2,000 eggs each day!!!


    How cute is this? A honeybee bringing a
    grain of pollen back to the hive. Photo by
    Muhammad Mahdi Karim | Wikimedia.


    If all goes well, the population of the hive should be in excess of 30,000 bees going into the winter. Worker bees, all females, live for 4-6 weeks during the working season; but the queen can live up to 6 years. The males, called drones, serve only one function [to breed new bees] and pretty much hang around most of the time eating the honey the females make, so they’re pretty expendable. Often they’ll be kicked out of the hive in the fall, to save the honey for the working members of the community.

    Honey is one of the most perfect foods on the planet, containing many of the amino acids which are the building blocks of life.

    Honey will never go bad and local raw (unpasteurized) honey is great to combat allergies because, homeopathically, it’s made from the same pollen that causes the allergies.

    Honey bees and farms share a very important relationship and I love my bees.

    *BEEHIVE TRIVIA: Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows or other botanical sources. They use it as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive—small gaps of a quarter-inch or smaller. Larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax.
    Thanks, Greg!

  • Discover the products of Currant C.
  • Learn all about honey—types of honey, pairing honey, honey trivia, our favorite honeys and honey recipes—in our Honey Section.


  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Honey Sticks

    If you like honey but are tired of cleaning up the sticky drips, try honey sticks: plastic straws filled with honey. The no-mess packaging is easy to open; the honey squeezes out with no drips.

    This fun and tidy way to serve honey dispenses single servings to anyone who wants some in their tea, on biscuits, on pancakes and so forth.

    Honey also dissolves more readily than sugar in cold drinks such as iced tea and lemonade.

    Oregon’s Nature’s Kick Honeystix makes honey sticks in a nice selection of varietal honeys: blueberry blossom, buckwheat, fireweed, meadowfoam, orange blossom, pumpkin blossom, raspberry blossom, white sage and wildflower.

    There are also flavored honey sticks: cinnamon, lemon, lime and mint.


    Star thistle honey in honey sticks. Photo
    courtesy Nature’s Kick Honeystix.


    Each straw contains about 2/3 teaspoon honey: enough for one six-ounce cup of tea (excluding the milk).

    A natural product loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, honey in stick form can also serve as a nutritious, on-the-go energy snack.

  • The different types of honey.
  • Pairing varietal honeys with foods and beverages.
  • The history of honey.
  • Honey trivia quiz.
    Take a look at these gift crates with three different flavors of spreadable cream honeys:

  • Apricot, Blackberry & Clover Honeys
  • Cranberry, Cinnamon Spiced & Raspberry Honeys


    TIP OF THE DAY: Try Varietal Honey Types

    “Supermarket” honey is blended to achieve a
    generic sameness. This very distinctive black
    sage honey is from Savannah Bee Company.


    If you like honey as a sweetener, have you ventured beyond “generic” supermarket honey to fine varietal honeys?

    As with wine, it’s the difference between a bland jug wine and a varietal wine, which has the distinctly delightful characteristics of its particular grape.

    And as with wine, different honeys pair better with certain foods. See this comparison of nine top varietal honeys and the foods they complement.

    There are many different kinds of honey—300 varietals in the U.S. alone. While some people might make it a life’s work to try all of them, start small. In fact, start with the pairings we’ve just mentioned.

    Life’s too short to stick with generic honey.

  • Honey overview and the different types of honey.
  • The history of honey. It’s 40 million years old!
  • Honey trivia and a honey trivia quiz.

    Like flavored honey? These creme honeys in six flavors—apricot, blackberry, cranberry, lemon, raspberry and spiced—are among our favorites.




    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Agave Nectar (Agave Syrup)

    Any nutritionally-aware person realizes that sugar tastes great but simply is not good for you.

    How about a natural sugar alternative that tastes great and is good for you?

    That’s agave nectar (also called agave syrup), made from the juices of the same plant that produces tequila: the blue agave. In the bottle, it looks like honey or maple syrup.

    Light agave nectar is a neutral sweetener, though some brands can taste like very light honey. Agave dissolves instantly in cold or hot beverages, and is used to sweeten lighter-flavor foods (like fruit salad).

    Dark agave nectar has caramel flavors, and is used in recipes and as a substitute for maple syrup or honey on pancakes, bread and other foods.

    The best part is that agave is a low-glycemic food. It has half the glycemic index of honey, maple syrup and table sugar; and it’s 25% to 50% sweeter, so you need much less of it.

    Agave is a real find. Make it your “find of the year.”

  • Read the full review of agave nectar.
  • See all the different types of sweeteners in our Sugar & Syrup Glossary.
  • Check out the low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners in our Artificial Sweeteners Glossary.

    The blue agave plant produces a sweetener
    that looks like honey, but is lighter, easily
    pourable, not as sticky and has half the
    glycemic index (it’s better for you!). Photo by
    Cristian Lazzari | IST.


    GOURMET GIVEAWAY #2 ~ Honey Ridge Farms Crème Trio Gift Set

    These superior flavored honeys from Honey Ridge Farms are blended with fruits or spices. Luscious, yet light on the palate, they are delicious on just about anything.

  • Spread on toast, scones, pancakes and waffles
  • Top ice cream
  • Use as a cheese condiment
  • Add to grilling sauces or marinades
  • And by all means, sweeten tea or other beverages
  • Flavors include Apricot, Blackberry, Cranberry, Raspberry and Spiced. The line is certified kosher by Oregon Kosher and is available at

    Two lucky winners will receive a honey crème trio gift set of three of the flavors.

    Retail Value Of Prize: Approximately $18.99.

  • To learn more about Honey Ridge Farms, visit
  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Artisan Honeys, Gourmet Sugars & Syrups Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, January 3rd at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!

    Spread this honey on just about anything.
    Photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.


    GIFT OF THE DAY: Honey Ridge Farms Flavored Honey

    Here’s something sweet and better-for-you: honey is lower on the glycemic index than sugar.

    These superior flavored honeys from Honey Ridge Farms are blended with fruits or spices. Luscious, yet light on the palate, these honey crèmes are delicious on just about anything.

  • Spread on toast, scones, pancakes and waffles
  • Top ice cream
  • Use as a cheese condiment
  • Add to grilling sauces or marinades
  • And by all means, sweeten tea or other beverages
  • Flavors include Apricot, Blackberry, Cranberry, Lemon, Raspberry and Spiced (Cinnamon). The line is certified kosher by Oregon Kosher.

    You can purchase individual jars or a lovely gift crate with three 5.5-ounce jars:

  • Honey Crèmes, two 12-Ounce Jars, your choice of flavors
  • Honey Gift Crate With Three 5.5-Ounce Jars: Apricot, Blackberry & Clover
  • Honey Gift Crate With Three 5.5-Ounce Jars: Cranberry, Raspberry
    & Spiced (Cinnamon)
    Learn all about honey, how to pair honey and food, and find recipes in our Honey Section.

    Discover the fascinating history of honey.


    A gift box of Honey Ridge Farms Honey
    Crème is a sweet, better-for-you gift.
    Photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.


    GIFT OF THE DAY: Truffle Cheese & More

    It’s the fresh truffle season. Alas, few of us can afford fresh truffles—$220/ounce for the Italian white Alba truffle (Tuber magnatum pico) and about half that for the French black Périgord truffle (Tuber melanosporum).

    One way we enjoy truffles in a more affordable form is through truffle cheese and truffle honey, which incorporate small pieces of truffle that have broken off from the fab fungi. They smell and taste as wonderful as the whole truffle.

    Murray’s Cheese has put together a truffle lover’s gift set that includes:

  • Cypress Grove Chevre’s Truffle Tremor, one of our favorite cheeses and a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week
  • Creminelli Brothers’ tartufo (truffle) salame,* another NIBBLE Top Pick
  • Delectable white truffle honey from truffle specialist Da Rosario, a Top Pick contender.
  • * “Salame” is how Italians spell it. “Salami” is an American adaptation.


    Three ways to enjoy truffles. Photo

    The three luxurious truffle foods are handsomely packaged in a reusable wood crate for $70 at If truffles and goat cheese aren’t what you had in mind, Murray’s has a build-your-own-gift-crate.

  • See more of our favorite gourmet food gifts for Holiday 2010.
  • See all 100+ holiday gift ideas, conveniently divided into 14 gift lists from Diet and Kids to Kitchenware and Stocking Stuffers.
  • Learn all about truffles in our Truffle Glossary.
  • Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Honey Crème

    Creamed raspberry honey is irresistible.
    Photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.


    Honey Ridge Farms has a solution for inexpensive yet delicious small gifts and stocking stuffers.

    The company blends its clover honey with fruit or spice to create Apricot, Blackberry, Cranberry, Raspberry and Spiced Honey Crèmes.

    Luscious, yet light on the palate, these honey crèmes are delicious on just about anything: toast, scones, waffles ice cream, or as a cheese condiment. Add some to grilling sauces or marinades; and by all means, sweeten tea or other beverages. Flavors include Apricot, Blackberry, Cranberry, Raspberry and Spiced.

    The honeys are available in 2.25-ounce, 5.5-ounce and 12-ounce jars at $3.49, $4.99 and $8.99, respectively. For a larger gift, consider a gift crate with three 5.5-ounce jars. Purchase online at

  • See all of our favorite gourmet food gifts for Holiday 2010.
  • Check out the history of honey.
  • Discover the different types of honey.
  • Comments

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