Honey is one of nature’s miracles. It is a delicious ingredient in many foods, has antibacterial properties, works as a moisturizer when used in homemade cosmetics, soothes a cough or sore throat, and makes your tea beverage about 100times better both in taste and quality -and all that’s just scratching the surface really. Honey is truly the liquid gold and whether you’re using it as a sweetener, or trying to kick a cough, it’s just plain useful.
Buying good quality fresh raw honey at a reasonable price is one of the things I missed ever since we moved abroad. Strong dark bitter honey such as chestnut or pine tree honey is my top choice back home, but I wouldn’t say no to a nice fresh blossom one. Infusing honey is a technique I learned from my mum who has a passion about not wasting anything from her supplies and generally make the most out of them. In that spirit, while I would never dare to infuse top quality fresh honey, infusing medium quality or last years leftovers with herbs has become one of my favorite ways to enhance it, and creatively use my herbs,or use a handful of wild mint found while foraging, or the buds of an edible flower bouquet. It couldn’t be easier to do. And if you start now, there’s plenty of time to make them for holiday gifts, too.
There are two ways to prepare herbal infused honey with herbs. The first is to make infused honey with dried herbs or spices. The second method is making infused honey with fresh roots.
1. Infused Honey with Herbs and Spices
Basic formula: Use about 1-2 tablespoons of dried herbs per 1 cup of honey.
Honey: A light, mild flavored honey generally works best.
Herbs: Use a single herb preferably or a combination if you feel adventurous. Rosemary, sage, thyme, mint, lemon balm, lavender, chamomile, and rose petals all make lovely infused honeys. You can also use spices like vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise. Herbs should be dry; see instructions below.
Clean, dry jars and lids.
Chopstick, wooden spoon handle, or other stirrer.
Clean cloth for wiping jar rims.
1. Prepare herbs: Herbs should be dry and may be in the form of whole sprigs or separated leaves, buds, and petals. Chopped herbs may infuse more quickly, but they may also be harder to strain out.
2. Combine herbs and honey: Place herbs in the bottom of a jar and fill the jar almost to the top with honey. Using a chopstick or other implement, stir to coat the herbs with honey. Top off with more honey to fill the jar. Wipe the jar rim with a clean cloth and cover tightly.
Tip: Label the jar with the contents and date so you don’t forget!
3. Infuse: Let the herbs infuse for at least 5 days. If the herbs float to the top, turn the jar over a few times to keep them well coated. For a more intense flavor, infuse for another week or longer (I go as much as 3 weeks).
4. Strain: Strain the honey into a clean jar.
Tip: Use the leftover herbs to make a herbal tea.
5. Store: Store the honey in a tightly covered jar in a cool, dry place. It will last indefinitely.
2. Infused Honey with Fresh Roots
- Crock pot
- Clean dry jars and lids
1. Scrub the roots clean and let dry completely. Once dry, roughly chop the roots.
2. Measure out 1 part roots to 4 parts honey. For example, 1 cup roots to 4 cups of honey.
3. Throw the roots and honey into a crock pot on low and let it gently bubble away for 4-6 hours
4. Strain out the herbs with a stainless steel strainer into the jar.
The best fresh roots for this method include: Garlic, angelica, horseradish, echinacea roots, ginseng, ginger
How to Use Infused Honey
How might one use herb-infused honey? The possibilities are endless. Use it to sweeten tea, lemonade, fruit, and baked goods; stir it into salad dressings and marinades; or serve it with a cheese plate. Herbal honeys may also be used medicinally, for example, sage honey to relieve a sore throat or chamomile honey to promote relaxation. I generally like to create single-herb honeys, but you can also get creative and prepare a blend – maybe your own signature honey!
Till next time…