Herbs can be used in many ways and sometimes we forgot how versatile they are. Plants contain powerful botanicals and these botanicals are used to flavour foods, in skincare products, and are distilled into essential oils. People have been using the plant botanicals for thousands of years as a medicine or for skin care.
With the versatility of many botanicals, we get stuck on thinking we can only use these powerful plants as spices for our pasta sauces or cookies. The same plants found in many popular essential oils are spices you have in your cupboard. One way to enjoy the botanical benefits of your spices is to infuse them into local honey so you can enjoy their benefits and flavours on your morning toast, porridge or tea!
There are 2 main methods for infusing honey with herbs and spices. With heat or without heat. The easiest method is to use no heat because when applying heat honey can boil easily. If the honey boils over it can burn and spoil your whole batch. The no heat method takes a bit longer but is much easier. All you need is a clean mason jar, spices from your pantry and the sun...the sun will do the work for you!
Whole herbs and spices will work best for this method such as:
- Whole Oregano
- Whole Thyme
- Cardamom pods
- Star anise
- Cinnamon chips
- Ginger root slices
- Whole cloves
You will need:
- 2 cups of honey - support local if you can
- 1/2 cup dried herbs
- Stainless steel colander
- 4 cup glass measuring cup
- Medium pot
- Mason jar or reuse any jar for that matter
Get a clean quart mason jar and add dried herbs of your choice. Fresh herbs can be used for this however if you decide to use fresh you should be using the heating method otherwise you fresh herbs may start to ferment in the honey. The heating method will allow extra moisture to evaporate.
Add honey to dried herbs and put lid on mason jar. Place the mason jar on a window sill in a south facing window and let the magic begin! You will want to flip the jar often to ensure the honey fully infuses all the spices. The honey will be done after 1 week. Strain the honey through a stainless steel colander into a glass measuring jar and pour into a clean mason jar for storage. Don’t forget to label the mason jar!
Honey can make a bit of a sticky mess. Plus you will not want to waste any of your precious honey. You can make a sweet tea base from leftover honey and spices. For an easy clean up, bring a kettle to boil and use the hot water to rinse the glass measuring cup and jar into a pot. Add the strainer to the pot as well as all remaining spices. Heat over medium but do not boil until honey is dissolved. Then strain the water honey concentrate back through the colander into the glass measuring cup. You can drink this as is or add a tea bag to the sweet tea base. It can be enjoyed iced or hot!
Enjoy your flavoured honey on things like toast, in your teas, on your porridge or even in savory dishes for a little extra flavoured sweetness!
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