When a recipe calls for a cup of sugar, Jamie Johnston, owner of The Beekeeper’s Honey Boutique, 209 W. Third St. in Salida, reaches for a cup of honey instead.
“The ratio of sugar to honey isn’t exact, but it’s pretty close,” Johnston said. “My family has used honey in lieu of sugar for years, and once you make the change you don’t want to go back.”
A relatively new product available at her store is honey pearls, which are dehydrated honey. It measures the same as sugar.
Johnston’s family has been in the honey business since 1908 when her great-grandfather, Walter Lechenby, started the business. The family tradition has lasted four generations and is now the oldest honey operation in the state.
Johnston opened her store in Salida 7 years ago and originally called it Beeyond the Hive. After moving from U.S. 50 to the downtown location she changed the name to The Beekeeper’s Honey Boutique, where just about any type of honey is available, along with beauty products made with honey and gift baskets with honey products.
Among the most recent additions are creamed honey in chocolate, chai spice, lemon, jalapeno, huckleberry, caramel and other flavors. The flavored, creamed honey makes a great sweetener for coffee and tea.
“My family uses honey on everything,” Johnston laughs. “My dad even pours it on his enchiladas.”
Honey isn’t just for flavor though. Honey in baked products helps retain moisture and is healthier than refined sugar.
Eating local honey or chewing on honeycomb from local honey can sometimes help with pollen allergies.
It’s also great for salad dressings, granola and other recipes.
“Sweetie’s Bakery in Salida uses creamed honey in their macaroons,” Johnston said.
The end of October she will ship her bees to California for the winter, where they will produce orange blossom and sage honey. She has about 860 hives
“Salida has access to unbelievable honey,” Johnston said. “The farmers here don’t use pesticides, and people want this pristine honey, which is as close to organic as you can get. The bees stay healthy, and this wonderful honey supply is right at our back door.”
Another surprising benefit of raw honey is that it can help heal cuts and burns because it has anti-bacterial properties.
The Beekeeper’s Honey Boutique has shared the following recipes, and more honey recipes can be found in books at the store.