Easy tutorial for infusing your own honey at home in two different ways.
Honey is a delicious and beneficial natural sweetener that can be added to enhance a wide variety of foods and dishes. It's mild flavor profile can also easily take on the delightful and welcome flavor of most herbs, spices, flowers, and fruit peels through the process of infusion. Infused honey also makes a great homemade gift for the friends and families in your life.
This Instructable will detail two ways to infuse your honey. The first technique is a "fast" infusion method utilizing heat. The second method is a "slow" infusion that uses time instead of heat. Each has it's own benefits, use whichever you feel more comfortable with. No matter which method you use, steps 1-5 are the same and should be followed for both fast and slow methods.
Step 1: Ingredients & Materials
You’ll need the following:
- Herbs and Spices to Flavor*
- Tea Bags
- Honey Dipper**
- Double Boiler
- Glass Jars with Lids
- Cutting Board
- Measuring Cups
*NOTE: You can choose any herbs and spices that you’d like to infuse your honey with. For this Instructable I infused three different honey batches with Vanilla & Orange, Rosemary, and Hot Chili. Other combinations could include: Green Tea, Thyme, Lemon Zest, Sage, Allspice, Mint, Ginger, or any combination of the above. As always, get created. I would avoid fruit and stick to fruit zest if possible.
Step 2: Sterilize Your Jars
Fill a large pot with water. Place your jars and their lids inside the pot, submerging them in the water. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes. This will clean and sterilize your jars before you put your infused honey in them, reducing the risk of bacteria. Allow your jars to cool while you start to infuse your honey.
Step 3: Wash
Wash any herbs or fruit you may be using under a steady stream of cold water. Allow your washed items to dry. This will prevent bacteria from getting into your new batch of honey. You'll also want to make sure that your herbs and/or fruit are completely dry before adding them to the honey, you don't want any water in your finished honey.
Step 4: Prepare & Chop
After your herbs or fruit have dried you can prepare them for infusion. I like to chop herbs and/or muddle my spices to release more of the aromatic flavors. You can use whole herb leaves, but you will need more of them for the infusion.
You can adapt the strength of the flavor in your infusion to your own personal preference. Add more spices/herbs for a stronger flavor and less of each for a milder flavor. Get creative! I used the following amounts for my infusions:
Vanilla & Orange Honey:
- 1/2 Cup of Grade A Honey
- Zest from 1/2 of a Large Organic Navel Orange
- 1/2 Chopped Vanilla Bean
- 1/2 Cup of Grade A Honey
- 2 Rosemary Sprigs Chopped (each sprig was roughly 4")
Hot Pepper Honey:
- 1/2 Cup of Grade A Honey
- 1 Thai Chili Chopped (can be substituted with other peppers)
Step 5: Tea Bags
You can steep your honey with loose herbs and spices but then you will have to strain your honey mixture at the end, or be okay with solids in your finished product. Instead, I prefer to place all of my herbs and spices for the infusion in a loose leaf tea bag. This will allow for the honey to soak in the aromatic flavors you've chosen, but also allow for easy removal when you are done.
For this step, place your prepared (chopped, muddled, or zested) herbs and spices in an empty loose leaf tea bag and twist the top to help the bag remained closed.
Step 6: Fast Infusion
This is technique #1: The Fast Infusion. This technique utilizes heat to help the honey quickly absorb the flavor profile of the herbs/spices that you are using to infuse with. It is beneficial in that it can be used in a pinch to create a flavored honey for a cheese plate or last minute dessert. It does however heat the honey, which can eliminate some of honey's natural benefits. Nonetheless, it's delicious and works wonderfully.
- Set up your double broiler.
- Pour ½ cup of Honey into your double broiler.
- Add your tea bag of herbs and spices.
- Slowly heat your honey until it reaches a temperature of 185F (85C). Keep your honey mixture steeping at 185F for ten minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow your honey to cool for 10 minutes.
- Remove your tea bag from the honey.
- Gently and carefully pour your honey into your sterilized jars.
- Screw on the lid. You’re done!
Step 7: Slow Infusion
This is method #2: The Slow Infusion. This particular infusion will take up to 2 weeks for your honey to absorb the flavor profiles of the herbs and spices you are infusing.
- Untwist your tea bag and tie a knot in it instead to secure your infusion spices and herbs.
- Place your prepared tea bags into one of your sterilized jars.
- Pour honey over the top of the tea bag, filling the jar.
- Screw on your jar lid tightly.
- Let your jar of honey sit for up to 2 weeks to absorb the flavors.
- Invert your honey jar whenever your tea bag floats to the surface to keep your herbs and spices submerged and to mix the honey ever so slightly.
After two weeks your honey should be infused to it's maximum intensity. Open your jar and remove your tea bag. Replace your jar lid, screwing it on tightly. You're done!
Step 8: Enjoy
You’re done! Use your newly infused honey anywhere you’d regularly use honey. It is a wonderful and flavorful addition to tea, baked goods, or tagines. My new personal favorite use for my honey is to lightly drizzle it over vanilla ice cream.
Your newly infused honey also makes a great gift. Simply label it or tie a ribbon around it and proudly gift it to friends and family.