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About the Author
Witch Hazel is Morbid Outlook’s very own gothic advisor in pagan and herbal solutions. She is very knowledgeable and has over 15 years experience in home remedies and the pagan arts. She can be contacted via e-mail with your questions or suggestions.
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Topic of the Month - Honey
This month, our topic is honey, both a classic and a fashionable ingredient. Honey is a sweetener of foods as well as helpful element in beauty care; it’s a humectant, drawing moisture to dry skin and an anti-irritant for sensitive skin.
Below are some treats for both the tummy and the skin for all the do-it-yourselfers out there! Additional ideas can be sent to me at witchhazel@morbidoutlook.com.
Tummy Treats
Some of these recipes may contain dairy, but you could substitute margarine for the butter, soy for cow’s milk, etc. Honey is not considered vegan since it is an animal product made from bees, however, you could substitute molasses for honey to make it vegan!
For a soothing drink for sore throats, mix honey with fresh lemon juice to your chamomile tea.
If you’re feeling down, try a spoonful of honey as a pick-me-up. The fructose and glucose in honey are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Honey-Fried Bananas
Take the juice of 1/2 a lemon, four bananas, cut in half lengthwise, two ounces of butter, one ounce of flaked almonds, and 2 tablespoons of honey. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the bananas. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the bananas and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides. Transfer to a warmed serving plate. Add the almonds to the butter remaining in the pan and cooked until lightly browned. Stir in the honey and heat through. Pour over the bananas and serve immediately.
Easy Wheat Bread
The ingredients are:
2 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups whole wheat flour
two packets of yeast
1/4 honey
1/4 vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy milk
3 to 4 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
We’ll call this recipe “easy” because most of the time is spent making this bread is letting the dough rise and bake, so you don't spend much time in the kitchen.
Mix water and 1 tablespoon of the honey together in a large bowl. Pour in the 3 cups of wheat flour and mix well. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a dry place. Let it sit for a minimum of 20 minutes or up to one day.
Pour in the rest of the honey, oil, soy milk and salt. Mix together. Begin adding white flour, a 1/2 cup at a time. After the third cup, it begins to get pretty dense. Knead the bread in the bowl; if its still a bit “sticky,” add another 1/2 to 1 cup of flour as you go. Knead it for 5 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cut the dough into two, equal parts. Shape them into loaves and place them into two, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 greased bread pans. Cover pans with a towel in a warm place and let the dough double in size. This will take at least an hour to an hour and a half. Bake loaves at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.
Mead
This medieval drink has quite a variety of modern day versions. This one comes from Cariadoc’s Miscellany of Medieval/Renaissance Foods.
The ingredients include:
11 pints water
1 T peeled, sliced fresh ginger (~1/4 oz)
1/2 t yeast
1 pint honey = 1 1/2 lb
1/2 T orange peel
Dissolve the honey in water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Let it boil down to 2/3 the original volume (8 pints), skimming periodically. This will take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours; by the end it should be clear. About 15 minutes before it is done, add the ginger. At the end, add the orange peel, let it boil a minute or so, and remove from the heat. The orange peel should be the yellow part only, not the white; a potato peeler works well to get off the peel. Let the mead cool to lukewarm, then add the yeast. The original recipe appears to use a top fermenting ale yeast, but dried bread yeast works. Cover and let sit 24-36 hours. Bottle it, using sturdy bottles; the fermentation builds up considerable pressure. Plastic bottles, although less aesthetically pleasing, work very well. Refrigerate after three or four days. Beware of exploding bottles. The mead will be drinkable in a week, but better if you leave it longer.
Beauty Treats
Honey is a helpful healer. For burns or minor scratches, apply a small amount of honey and then bandage for a day.
Hair Conditioner for Super-Fried-and-Dried Hair
Mix 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup olive oil. (Use 2 tablespoons oil for normal hair.) Work a small amount at a time through hair until coated. Cover hair with a shower cap; leave on for 30 minutes. Remove shower cap; shampoo well and rinse. Dry as normal.
Egg Yolk & Honey Facial Mask for Dry Skin
Mix together one tablespoon of honey, one egg yolk, half a teaspoon almond oil and one tablespoon yogurt. Smooth on your skin in an upwards motion, leave it on for about ten minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Skin Softening Bath
Add 1/4 cup honey to bath water for a fragrant bath.
Smoothing Skin Lotion Mix
Combine one teaspoon of honey with one teaspoon vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon lemon. Rub into hands, elbows, heels and anywhere that feels dry. Leave on for ten minutes before rinsing off with water.
Rose Oil and Honey Facial Mask
Combine two tablespoons of honey, two tablespoons of sweet almond oil and five drops of essential oil of rose. Massage in an upwards motion onto a clean face and neck with your fingertips. Relax for fifteen minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm water. Gently pat dry for super soft skin.
Let us know your results if you choose to try these or have other ideas you’d like to recommend!