Thursday, May 29, 2008

How sweet it is: Honey's other uses

The time is right for sports "naturals" to make a comeback.

Players who favor natural training methods are part of a growing trend. That is why the National Honey Board has enlisted the help of former Major League pitcher Turk Wendell in support of a natural energy source: pure honey.
Wendell will step up to the plate and pitch the natural energy message to fans of Minor League Baseball this season. Wendell, known as much for his eccentricities in baseball as his pitching, is literally a "natural" for the Honey Board promotion. He prefers using honey as an energy booster. Providing 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon, honey is a natural source of readily available carbohydrates which helps improves performance and speeds the recovery of muscles prior to, during and after exercise.

Preliminary data from the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory suggest that honey is as effective as glucose for carbohydrate replacement during endurance exercise.

"Nature provides one of the best energy boosters, and it is versatile and delicious," Wendell said. "Although I like using honey on my muffins, toast and pancakes, I really enjoy eating it straight from the bottle."

Wendell started out his professional career in the Minor Leagues as a relief pitcher for the Pulaski Braves. He eventually moved up to the Majors and played with the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets. Wendell appeared in the playoffs twice with the Mets, in 1999 and 2000, including an appearance in the 2000 World Series.

In addition to partnering with Wendell, the Honey Board is sponsoring three Minor League teams: -Durham Bulls, Raleigh/Durham Area, N.C., (affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays)-Iowa Cubs, Des Moines, Iowa, (affiliate of the Chicago Cubs)-Stockton Ports, Stockton, Calif. (affiliate of the Oakland A's).

Honey is the official natural energy booster for the three teams and will be featured in all training and clubhouse rooms. NHB's Minor League Microsite offers baseball club news, team standings, exclusive interviews with team mascots, great summertime honey recipes and downloadable recipe cards.

Sweet Sloppy Joes
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup grated carrots
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
4 hamburger buns
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pan over medium heat, sauté onions, celery and carrots in oil until soft. Stir in meat; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until meat is browned and crumbly. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide mixture evenly between hamburger buns to serve.

Easy Honey Chicken Wings

Makes 8 servings
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chili sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 drops red pepper sauce
3 lbs. chicken wings or drumettes
Combine honey, soy sauce, chili sauce, garlic salt, pepper and red pepper sauce. Arrange chicken on a single layer in a 9x13-inch baking pan and pour sauce over all. Turn chicken over to coat with sauce. Bake at 350F for one hour, turning once. Cool slightly and serve.