Sometimes the perfect gift for the holidays can be the sweetest and simplest, too. What’s easier than honey?
Just like oils and vinegar, honey can be infused with the fresh scent and taste of your favorite herbs.
With three pint jars and a little mixing and matching, you can add some spice and fragrance to your favorite sweetener and have the perfect gift for your friends and family, too.
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How to Make Herb-Infused Honey
Making herbal honey is a fairly easy process. The two basic methods of making herbal honey are the heated and unheated method.
We prefer the unheated method using dried herbs since it is a little more straightforward process. Dried herbs are also safer when making homemade herbal infusions.
For infused honey, dry ingredients are best.The HoneyBee Suite
The amount of herbs used is largely dependant on the type of herb selected as noted below in the following herbal honey recipes.
Lemon Balm Honey Recipe
Lemon Balm is a common herb that is used in teas, and like its name, has a mild lemony flavor. Since so many of us like our tea with honey and lemon, it’s the perfect herb for flavoring a pint of honey.
- Take four or five leaves of dried lemon balm and place them in the bottom of a clean jar, then pour honey over the top, fully covering the herbs completely.
- Give a stir with a clean spoon or wooden chopstick, then put a cap on securely.
- Let it sit anywhere from five days to three weeks, turning the jar over every day if possible. The longer you leave the infusion, the more intense the flavor. A sunny window can also speed up the process.
- After that time has passed, strain out the herbs into a funnel and a fresh jar.
- The final product will be a treat for teas during times of stress or anxiety, as lemon balm has a relaxing effect.
Mint Flavored Honey
Mint is an extremely hardy plant, and if you spread a few seeds in your garden, you’ll never be without this amazing and uplifting herb.
Mint-flavored honey is perfect for Earl Grey and green teas. Earl Grey contains the herb bergamot, and mint and bergamot complement each other in a sublime way. Mint-flavored honey can also be used in many chicken and lamb dishes.
Prepare this honey the same way as with lemon balm, but only use three or four leaves, as mint is strongly flavored.
Lavender Infused Honey
Lavender is popular in soaps and lotions for babies and is used in sachets and aromatherapy extensively. It is a very calming and relaxing herb, so incorporating it into honey for your teas or herbal remedies is a smart idea.
This honey can be given to children before bedtime to encourage sleep, and it can soothe a cough or sore throat, too. Lavender honey will also blend well with any kind of tea, whether it be green, white, or black.
You’ll use about half a cup of dried lavender flowers for a pint jar of honey. Prepare in the same way as the lemon and mint-infused honey.
What herbs go with honey?
Almost any culinary herb blends beautifully with the sweet nectar of honey. The herb you choose will depend largely on the season, intended use, and flavors you enjoy. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Lemon Balm
- Mint (including the flavored mints like orange, chocolate, or apple mint)
Should you use dried or fresh herbs?
Dried herbs are preferred when making infused honey since there is a lower risk of introducing any type of bacteria into your honey infusions.
Fresh herbs can also be used if the herbs are well washed and you soak them in a citric acid solution. Heating the honey to 180 degrees or more will create a better product for storing. See this article by NC State for safety recommendations in creating infused honey or oil safely with fresh herbs.
How long does infused honey last?
Herbal honey is generally best when used within 1 year.
How do you infuse raw honey?
To get the benefits of raw honey, use the unheated method to make herbal honey. In this method, the procedure to infuse honey with herbs is fairly simple.
In short, add dried herbs to the raw honey in a clean jar, allow them to blend for 1-4 weeks turning over the jar daily, then strain the herbs before use.
Summary of Making Herbal Honey
Making herbal infused honey for the holidays can be a delightful addition to an herbal remedies basket or even just as a stand-alone gift.
They take time to prepare, so the giving of these jars of herbal-infused honey is another way of letting that special person know that they’re worth it.
Spread the joy and the sweetness this holiday season with an aromatic trio of herbal honeys.