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.
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.
Herbs, washed and dried
Pretty glass jars
Muslin tea bags
1. Choose herbs to infuse into your honey. Rose petals, chamomile and lavender have a delicate flavor, while rosemary, anise and mint are stronger. You can also make a delicate honey using the zest of an orange, tangerine or grapefruit.
2. Fill glass jars with honey about 4⁄5 full. Use a light, mildly flavored, raw honey so the flavor of the herbs can shine.
3. Chop herbs into fine pieces. Use 3 to 5 tablespoons per pint of honey for delicately flavored herbs, and 2 to 4 tablespoons for strongly flavored herbs.
4. Place herbs in tea bag and put into the jar, pressing with a spoon to submerge herbs into honey.
5. Set the jar in a sunny windowsill and allow to steep for a week.
6. After a week, taste the honey. If the flavor is strong enough, remove the bag and discard. If a stronger flavor is desired, let honey steep for another week, adding more herbs if desired.
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.
Adapted from The Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook by Kim Flottum, Quarry Books, 2009.