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3 delicious new ways to eat honey

About a decade ago, honeybees were in trouble: A variety of factors, including pesticides, parasites, and diseases, were causing swarms to die off at alarming rates.

Delicious new ways to eat honey.

About a decade ago, honeybees were in trouble: A variety of factors, including pesticides, parasites, and diseases, were causing swarms to die off at alarming rates. Since then, the industrious little critters—which pollinate roughly one-third of the U.S. food supply—are starting to rebound.

With its rich flavor and stellar nutritional profile (probiotic! anti-inflammatory!), honey should be more than just a sugar substitute. Check out these buzzy new ways to lap up the nectar.

TECHNIQUE #1: EAT IT IN THE RAW

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Most commercially produced honey is pasteurized and filtered to prevent it from crystallizing, but that process markedly decreases some key nutrients, including probiotics and antioxidants. Raw, unfiltered honey also has a more complex and robust flavor than the processed variety. In a no-bake recipe like this fruit-and-nut-filled dessert, all of those qualities shine.

In a food processor, combine 2 cups chopped medjool dates and 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts and process until a small amount holds together when pinched. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of a parchment-lined 9-by-9-inch pan.

Wipe out the food processor and add 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained, 1 cup coconut cream, 1/3 cup raw honey, 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt; process until smooth.

Fold in 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut and spread evenly on top of crust. Arrange slices from 2 peeled kiwifruit on top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, drizzle with 1 tablespoon raw honey and slice into squares.

MAKES 24 SQUARES Per serving (1 square): 240 cal, 14 g fat (7 g sat), 31 g carbs, 26 g sugar, 25 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein

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TECHNIQUE #2: SWAP IT FOR SIMPLE SYRUP

You know what's got true grit—and not in a good way? Sugar in a glass of iced tea. Simple syrup can make for smoother-sipping cocktails, but may also be heavy on corn syrup and artificial ingredients. Enter honey: nothing fake, a tad sweeter than sugar (so you can use less), and mixes in a flash.

In the bottom of a rocks glass, use the handle of a wooden spoon to muddle 10 mint leaves with 1 teaspoon each honey and water. Let sit 5 minutes to infuse. Fill the glass three-quarters full with crushed ice. Top with 2 ounces each bourbon (or cold, unsweetened tea) and seltzer and stir until cold.

MAKES 1 SERVING Per serving: 150 cal, 0 g fat, 6 g carbs, 6 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein

TECHNIQUE #3: HIGHLIGHT ITS SAVORY SIDE

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Honey isn't just for dessert. A drizzle can tame spicy dishes and balance the acid in vinegar-based salad dressings. And because cooking caramelizes its sugar, honey brings a richness to meats and seafood.

Whisk together 1 1/2 tablespoons each of honey, soy sauce, and rice vinegar; 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil; and 1 clove minced garlic.

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Pat dry 1 pound of sea scallops and add to the skillet in a single layer. Cook until golden brown and translucent, flipping once, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate, reduce heat to medium, and add honey-soy mixture to the pan.

Simmer until thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add scallops and 2 chopped scallions to the pan and toss to coat. Top with 1 teaspoon sesame seeds.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS Per serving: 190 cal, 9 g fat (1 g sat), 12 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 650 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 14 g protein

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For more healthy eating tips, check out the April 2017 issue of Women's Health on newsstands now.

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