As the lowly, new intern at The Herb Companion, one of my first tasks is to catalog and reorganize the books in our very messy library. While sorting through pages and pages of books all about herbs, the enticing, colorful covers made me wish that I was reading them instead of labeling them. So, I decided to chose a book and write about an interesting fact or tip that I discovered while reading it. (See…I get to do fun tasks too!)
The first book I found interesting was the The Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook (Quarry Books, 2009) by Kim Flottum. In this book I learned about an interesting way to make your own herb-infused honey.
Check out this guide for bee-keeping information, honey recipes and more tips on making herb-infused honey.
Photo Courtesy Voyageur Press
I’ve never tried flavored honey other than the sticks of strawberry honey I would buy at the Kansas State Fair as a kid. Here’s a method to make infused honey for a more grown-up palette.
Making Infused Honey
1. If you grow your own herbs, gather them early in the morning, so they’re as fresh as possible. Consider your tastes when choosing the herbs. Rose petals, chamomile and lavender have a more delicate flavor, while rosemary, anise and mint are stronger.
2. Wash the herbs under cold water to remove soil and old leaves.
3. Fill pint jars with honey about 4/5 full. Use a light, mildly flavored honey so that the herbs will have a stronger flavor. Try Purely Organic’s Poggio all'Olmo Organic Sunflower Honey. A 24-ounce jar costs $16.99 at www.purelyorganic.com.
4. Chop the herbs into fine pieces. Use 3 to 5 tablespoons for delicate-flavored herbs and 2 to 4 tablespoons for stronger herbs.
5. Place herbs into a reusable tea bag and put in a pint jar.
6. Set the jar in a sunny windowsill for one to two weeks. (It takes time for the honey to steep and reach maximum intensity.)
7. After one week, taste the honey. If the flavor is strong enough, remove the bag and discard. If a stronger flavor is desired, either add more herbs or let the herbs steep for another week.
Photo by Indigo Goat/ Courtesy Flickr
If you just can’t wait two weeks for that delicious herb-infused honey try this faster method.
1. Using a double boiler, add two cups of honey.
2. Add 1 to 2 cups of the (chopped) herb of your choice directly to the honey, or use a mesh bag to contain the fragments.
3. Heat the mixture at 180 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Strain the mixture or discard the mesh bag then place the mixture in a jar.
If you want a more delicately flavored honey, you can also use the nectar of flowers, such as violets and honeysuckle blossoms or fruit, such as the zest of an orange, tangerine or grapefruit to infuse your honey. For a stronger flavor, try minced garlic.
Have you ever tried herb-infused honey? Leave me a comment and tell me your sticky story.
The Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook by Kim Flottum (Quarry Books, 2009).