Ingredient SpotLight

For those with a sweet tooth, honey is heaven.

Due to the high level of fructose, honey is 25% sweeter than table sugar and it never spoils. There's no need to refrigerate it. It can be stored unopened, indefinitely, at room temperature in a dry cupboard. Honey was even found -- still edible -- in the tomb of King Tut!

Honey is created when bees mix plant nectar, a sweet substance secreted by flowers, with their own bee enzymes. To make honey, bees drop the collected nectar into the honeycomb and then evaporate it by fanning their wings. It has different flavors and colors, depending on the location and kinds of flowers the bees visit. Climatic conditions of the area also influence its flavor and color.

Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water. It also contains vitamins and antioxidants, but is fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free!

Modern science now acknowledges honey as an anti-microbial agent, which means it deters the growth of certain types of bacteria, yeast and molds. Got a cut or a scrape? Rub some honey on it to combat infection -- it's been done for centuries!

Of course, this column is about tasting good ingredients ... not putting them on injuries! In that spirit, I'm offering a recipe that combines two of my favorite foods: honey and duck. I often make a double batch of the honey sauce and use it for everything from grilled chicken to roasted pork. Yum!

Duck with Honey Sauce

  • 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 4 (4 to 6 oz. each) duck breast halves

Combine the pineapple, honey, sherry, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, orange juice, vinegar, garlic, mustard and ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 30 minutes to blend flavors. Strain and set aside.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the duck on a rack in a roasting pan. Brush the breasts with butter. Roast at 400°F for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Broil the duck 3 to 5 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Serve with the sauce.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour