December 10, 2008

Honey used as food preservative, sweetener

Honey is an alternative to chemical additives and refined sweeteners in commercial salad dressings, a University of Illinois researcher has found.

Nicki Engeseth, an associate professor of food chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, substituted honey for EDTA, an additive used to keep the oils in salad dressings from oxidizing, and high-fructose corn syrup, used by many commercial salad-dressing producers to sweeten their salad dressing recipes.

We found that the antioxidants in honey protected the quality of the salad dressings for up to nine months while sweetening them naturally, Engeseth said in a statement.

We chose clover and blueberry honeys for the study after an analysis of the sweetening potential, antioxidant activity and phenolic profiles of 19 honeys with varying characteristics.

The dressings were also compared to a control dressing that contained ingredients found in current commercial salad dressings, Engeseth said.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that after nine months of storage, both types of honey were as effective as EDTA in protecting against oxidation or spoilage. Blueberry honey performed slightly better than clover.