This summer we purchased our primary source of sweetener in a 15 kg (33 lb) bucket from a local beekeeper. Golden and delicious, sourced from the flowers and plants of our valley, I’m a proud honey-user!
In fact, I use honey in all our baking and particularly for canned fruit, jams and syrups. Anywhere we need sweetener, honey is the answer!
I savor the flavor in my home-canned sweets. While some claim it “covers” the particular taste of goods canned, I usually disagree. I think it enhances what is already there! We love it! But there are a few catches when using honey vs sugar. They are different!
When using honey in your pectin-free jams, jellies or syrups, it will take longer to thicken than if using granulated sugar
I don’t add pectin to any of our home-canned goods. (For information purposes, I’d love to know if honey causes store-bought pectin to set? I suspect not?) Recipes with honey must simmer for a longer time but will eventually thicken. I don’t add water to my berry jams when using honey! It usually provides the extra liquid needed. Keep temperatures to medium and below. Batches ought to be small for best results! Get two pots going at once, if needed.
Honey is sweeter than sugar
If converting a canning recipe, you need to know ratios. In terms of sweetness, 3/4 C honey=1 C sugar. While that works wonderfully when you like intense sweetness, I often find myself reducing the 1 C sugar to 1/2 C honey. Don’t go less than half. While honey is acidic (as is fruit) the sugar does have preserving qualities to it!
Honey is acidic and though it does vary, the average pH is 3.9.
When canning jams, sauces or fruits, know that it will enhance the fruit’s keeping qualities, even if you cut back on the sugar required. However, if you are limiting acidic food intake, perhaps honey-sweetened preserves should be avoided!
Honey adds liquid volume to a product
When substituting honey for sugar, you ought to also decrease the recipe’s liquid content! For every 1 C honey used, decrease liquid by 1/4 it’s original volume. Yes, it takes a wee bit of math. If its too confusing, make and refrigerate the extra syrup until your next canning episode!
Any home-canning honey lovers out there? I’d love to hear how you use this golden nectar in your preserving!