My boyfriend's Korean mom has been raving about cactus honey powder for several months; she now uses it in place of sugar when cooking vegetable panchan (side dishes). So when we came across an entire section of it at the Korean market, we had to purchase our own bag. But what exactly is cactus honey powder? At first, we weren't sure whether this was honey produced by cactus flower-visiting bees, or a sweetener derived from cactus, like agave nectar. According to the package, "cactus honey has been well known to Apache Indian in the southwestern states of America"; under ingredients, the only thing listed is "organic honey." Well, as it turns out, cactus honey powder is actually a dried version of agave nectar.
We have been mixing the granulated sweetener into tea and sprinkling it on oatmeal. It imparts a flavor that's deeper and less sweet than regular sugar. We have yet to bake with cactus honey powder or substitute it for sugar in other dishes. Have you ever used it?
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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