Making your own herbal infused honey
Do you want to get acquainted with the world of herbs? Does making goodies and potions sound like fun? If so, herbal honey is a good place to start. Herbal infused honey is a simple and delicious ways to use herbs. Made with common aromatic herbs herbal honey becomes a beginning herbalists success story. Here you can learn how to make and use your herbal infused honey as an exquisite indulgence and culinary delight that is also beneficial. Use it in your tea, drizzled on your cereal or ice cream, in salad dressing or marinades, on your favorite vegetables or just slurp up a spoonful of flavored, golden goodness!
About the honey
Unless the honey is going into something that is baked or cooked I prefer raw local honey, because it has not been processed or pasteurized. Raw honey contains beneficial vitamins, enzymes and anti-oxidants that are destroyed in the heating and refining process of mass-produced honey. It also has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which preserve the herbs that we are infusing in it. I also prefer local honey because it will usually contain small amounts of local allergy-causing pollen which can actually be helpful for allergy sufferers. (I also like to support local farms). Raw honey is usually a little more expensive but the benefits are worth it. And as a rule, no honey for children under 12 months! Go here if you want to learn more about why babies should not eat honey.
But don’t worry if you only have pasteurized honey. This recipe still turns out, is still delightful and you can still benefit from the herbs!
What herbs to use
The next step is deciding what wonderful herb you want to use. Any herb can be infused in honey, some having powerful healing properties. For now I will include herbs that are mild, safe, familiar and especially tasty. And as a bonus to tastiness they will still have benefits when used in honey. Here are a few herbs to try:
- Cinnamon, Lavender, Rose petals, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Cinnamon, Chamomile, Basil, Ginger, Sage, Vanilla, Star Anise, Rosemary, Garlic (yes indeed) and Thyme are just a few of the many options.
Dried or fresh herbs
You can use either dried or fresh herbs. When using fresh herbs allow them to dry just a bit before adding them to the honey. When I use fresh I like to pick them in the afternoon after the dew has evaporated. Living in Oregon makes this impossible at times, so I let them dry on a rack or clean dish towel for a day before adding them to the honey. The key when using anything fresh is to get some of the moisture to evaporate out of the herbs. Especially when using fresh garlic or grated ginger. The excess moisture makes the honey spoil quicker, so it must be refrigerated. Never use plants sprayed with chemicals, or are growing next to a road or highway.
Dried herbs are pretty straightforward. Use high quality herbs that have good color and strong scent. A couple of good sources for dried herbs, spices (and much, much more) are Starwest Botanicals and Bulk Apothecary. Take a some time to browse around their websites and you will find lots of ingredients for make-your-own herbal recipes. These are affiliate links which means I earn a commission from products ordered through my site at no extra cost to you, so I thank you for ordering through my links!
Here is the fun and tremendously easy part
- Fill your jar half full of the herb of your choice.
- Pour enough honey over the herbs to cover the herbs. Hint: If you warm your container of honey first it will make this moment lot easier. Just set it in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes and it will thin the honey just enough.
- Stir honey and herbs until all dried herbs are covered in honey and air pockets are gone. A butter knife or anything long/thin will work for this.
- Add more honey to not quite fill jar and stir again. It’s good to leave a little head-space for expansion. Now if the herbs expand and rise above the honey you have room to add more honey.
- Tightly cap your jar and put in a warm place for about 4 weeks. Turn the jar over a few times every day to keep everything mixed up.
- After 4 weeks (or longer if you want) strain your honey into a clean jar(do it while the honey is still warm for easier straining) and then go make a cup of tea because you want to try it right away!
Aside from deliciousness and flavor of the herbs mentioned here, there are also benefits to using them.
- peppermint honey when you need a pick-me-up
- garlic, ginger or thyme honey when you have a cough
- chamomile or cinnamon honey when there are tummy troubles
- lavender or lemon balm honey when your nerves are jangled.
This is just the beginning. As you learn about more herbs the possibilities are endless. Get creative and try your herbal infused honey in your own recipes. For starters check out my recipe for Carrots with Garlic-Honey! Deeelicious!