You can stir herb-infused honey into tea, or you can swallow a spoonful straight from the jar. These honeys also work well for cooking -- and a lot of people make herb honey with culinary uses, rather than medicinal ones in mind.
Always sterilize the equipment you plan to use when processing herb-infused honey, and make sure that both the herbs and the jars are dry. Honey itself is not prone to spoilage, and is used to preserve the more delicate herbs. While most sources consider herb honey safe to store at room temperature, if you see signs that the herbs may have gone bad, discard the contents of the jar. As with all foods involving honey, it should not be given to infants, as sometimes honey may contain the spores responsible for infant botulism.
Herb-infused honey is easy to make, and some methods don't even require cooking. You just layer the herbs and honey in a clean jar, screw on a lid and leave the jar in a sunny window for two to three weeks. (It should be ready just in time for the first day of spring.) Check on the honey every day or two. If you notice the herbs floating to the top, flip the jar over a couple of times to redistribute the herbs. When the honey is done, you can strain the herbs out. Alternately, you can leave the herbs in the jar for a decorative look, but the honey's herbal flavor will continue to intensify over time. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of herbs per pint jar, or more if you want a truly intense flavor.
If you decide to heat process your honey, it may destroy a lot of the honey's health-enhancing properties. You can minimize this loss by making sure the honey never gets hotter than 120 degrees. The plus side: you don't have to wait for the honey to steep. This is the best method if you have an impromptu dinner party tonight, and you just decided to serve rosemary-and-garlic-honey-glazed vegetables. In that case, combine the honey and herbs in the top of a double boiler and cook over gentle heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Strain the herbs out, and the honey is ready to use.
Spices can also be infused into honey, either alone or in combination with herbs. Other additions that work well are ginger, garlic and citrus zest.
To add multiple flavor notes to the honey, you can use any combination of herbs. In addition to sweet uses (such as in tea and for baking), think about ways you could use infused honey to glaze meats or vegetables, or as ingredients for marinades. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Basil Leaves and Lime Zest and Julienned Ginger
Rosemary Needles and Orange Zest and Cloves
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary Needles and Thyme
Lavender Flowers and Lemon Zest
Rosemary, Savory, Thyme and Lavender Flowers
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