Are you looking for more ways to use or preserve your fresh herbs? This article is for you. Infusing honey with herbs is pretty simple and beneficial for health too. Why honey? And should you use fresh herbs or dried? Read on to find out how to infuse honey with herbs and how to use them in your daily diet.
Firstly, let’s talk honey…
Honey is a Superfood
Merriam-Webster dictionary defined superfood as “food that is rich in compounds such as antioxidants, fibre or fatty acids considered beneficial to a person’s health.
However, Wikipedia defined superfood as a marketing term for food assumed to confer health benefits resulting from an exceptional nutrient density. Dietitians and nutrition scientists do not commonly use this term.
Personally, the term does not matter much to me at all. How about you?
Superfood or not, so long you and I understand the basis of health benefits it provides.
Honey has been used as food and medicine since ancient times. Its long shelf-life plays an important reason too.
You ought to know that honey contains about 200 substances, including fructose, glucose, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and flavonoids. Its composition may differ dependent on the plants on which the bee feeds.
However, almost all natural honey contains flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. On top of that, antibacterial activity of honey is another important finding. Refer to study found on NCBI.
Does honey’s health benefits give you a worthy reason to make infused honey? Yes? … No?
On top of honey’s benefits, infusing honey with herbs will boost its nutritional and medicinal value too. As you may aware, herbs are beneficial to health in many ways.
Related read: Herbs and Spices Health Benefits
How to Make Infused Honey
Making herb-infused honey is pretty straight forward. All you need is honey and herbs. Should you have a sprig or two of rosemary remaining after cooking your dinner, use them to infuse honey.
Generally, a light, runny and mild flavoured raw honey works best. If there is a local beekeeper in your neighbourhood, that will be awesome. Visit them, support your farm neighbour.
This Honey Locator may help you locate them.
Materials you need
- • Clean and dry jars and lids – half-pint or pint mason jars work well
- • A wooden spoon or other stirrers or chopstick
- • A strainer
- • A clean cloth for wiping the rims
Choose your ingredients
Fresh Herbs vs Dried
Is it safe using fresh herbs when infusing honey? Similar to making herb-infused oil, you must wash and ensure the fresh herbs are dried thoroughly to avoid spoilage. Moisture can encourage the growth of bacteria, fungus or yeast and you do not want this to happen to your infused honey.
I would suggest you make yours using dried herbs when giving herb-infused honey as a gift for friends or family. It has a more stable shelf life.
If you are making it for yourself, use your leftover fresh herbs and try to consume them as quickly as you may or store it in the refrigerator and used within a month. Unless you use the heated method which will be explained further below.
Common herbs to infuse
- • Rosemary
- • Thyme
- • Sage
- • Mint
Spices to spice up the flavour
- • Cinnamon
- • Cloves
- • Cardamom
- • Star Anise
- • Vanilla
- • Ginger
Floral and citrusy flavour
- • Lavender
- • Chamomile
- • Rose petals
- • Elderflowers
- • Orange peel
Now, let’s get started…
Prepare your herbs or flowers. Herbs must be dry. You can use either whole sprigs or separated leaves, buds and petals. Chopped herbs may infuse faster but may be harder to strain out. Place the herbs, spices and/or flowers into a clean and dry jar.
Combine with honey. Fill the jar almost to the top with honey. The basic formula to follow is 1–2 tablespoons of dried herbs to 1 cup of honey. If you are using fresh, you may double the amount if you wish as fresh herbs are less potent and concentrated. Stir gently to coat the herbs with honey. Wipe the jar rim with a clean cloth and cover tightly. Remember to label the jar with the ingredients and date prepared.
Related article: Fresh Herbs vs Dried – How to Substitute Fresh Herbs with Dried
Infuse for at least 5 days. For a stronger flavour, infuse longer. If the ingredients float to the top, turn the jar over several times to ensure they are well coated.
Strain the honey into a clean and dry jar. Do NOT discard the valuable herbs. Waste NOT. As you can see, the herbs still have honey on them. Save the honey-soaked herbs and add them to your teas or warm beverages to boost your drink.
Store the tightly covered jar in a cool dry place but if you are using fresh herbs, remember to put it in the refrigerator.
For gifting, leave the herbs in. It looks beautiful! Write a simple instruction on the gift-tag for the lucky recipient to strain the herbs.
I mentioned about this heated method earlier. Here is why and when you should consider using this method. Do note that there are pros and cons. Read on…
You may have your reasons using fresh herbs to infuse honey. But as you know by now, the moisture introduced into the infusion from the fresh herbs or flowers increase the risk of bacteria growth. In this case, heating the honey during the infusion process limits the risk.
The fresh herb infused honey using heated method has a more stable shelf life.
On the flip side, you will lose some of the beneficial properties of the raw honey.
Although more work and effort are needed in the preparation process, you need to understand that dried herbal plant leaf such as sage or bay leaf, and denser plant parts like cinnamon bark or ginger roots gain better result using the heated method.
Is this method worthwhile? All depend on your needs. Stable shelf life or less work? Is the nutritional value of the raw honey more important to you? Want a stronger flavour? Tell us more about this in the comments section below.
If this method is for you, here is
How to Use Heated Method
- 1. Prepare your herbs or spices similar to the non-heat method.
- 2. Place them on a cold saucepan.
- 3. Pour honey over the herbs and turn on the heat to medium.
- 4. Stir gently to coat and combine the honey and herbs making sure NOT over boiling the honey and burning the herbs.
- 5. Remove from heat immediately once the honey begins to bubble. Let cool.
- 6. Repeat the heating and cooling process several times throughout the day or over multiple days.
- 7. Taste and when you are satisfied, strain out the herbs. Remember to save the honey-soaked herbs for your teas or warm drinks.
- 8. Store the tightly covered jar in a cool dry place.
As you can see, more work is needed in the heating and cooling process but it is necessary to achieve the desired result.
How Will You Use Your Infused Honey
Although it is best used to sweeten your teas or lemonade, dribbling cinnamon honey onto your porridge, oatmeal or toast is a must-try.
Also, try stirring infused honey into yoghurt, salad dressings and marinades.
Other ways to enjoy are drizzled on ice cream and fresh fruits. Not forgetting pancakes and waffles.
Besides flavour, the herb-infused honey may also be used therapeutically.
A single herb or spice infusion is a good start. For example, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon or ginger.
Drizzle rosemary-infused honey onto your vanilla ice cream for a sweet and refreshing taste. Cinnamon or ginger-infused honey is perfect for teas.
If you are excited to get started with blends, try these
Cinnamon Spice Honey
- • 1 cup honey
- • 4 Star anise
- • 4 Cinnamon sticks
Zesty Herbal Honey
- • 1 cup honey
- • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- • 1 ½ teaspoon dried rosemary (3 – 4 sprigs fresh rosemary)
Consider Buying Infused Honey
I understand that not all of you have the time to make your own. Also, you may like to try the infused honey before spending your time and effort making it yourself.
Conveniently buy on Amazon
All in All
Infusing honey with fresh herbs is one of many ways to preserve herbs. Not only are the herbs beneficial to your health because of their nutritional and therapeutic properties, but honey also has its own values too. Combine these two ingredients, you will benefit from their valuable health properties as well as the amazing flavour.
Honey has been recognized as a superfood, rich in antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. While the word “superfood” may just be a marketing term, the benefits of raw honey is real.
It is relatively easy to make herb-infused honey using no heat method but if you want to get a stronger flavour or infusing with denser plant parts such as a whole leaf, bark or root, heated method works better. No doubt, more work and effort needed. All depends on what you have and needs.
Get started with a single herb or spice and slowly experiment with blends. The combinations are limitless. Make small portions to find your favourite. You may end up creating your own signature blend.
Don’t forget to give a jar or two to your neighbours and friends. Herb infused honey makes a heartwarming gift!
Articles You May Be Interested to Read
Now that you know how to make infused honey, will you be making yours? Whether to preserve your fresh herbs or simply love the idea of infused honey, I believe this is a healthy DIY project worth trying. Let us know how you feel at the comments section below.
If you have made them before, share with us. We love to learn more.
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From the Corner of My Home – Spice Up Your Life with Herbs and Spices
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