Right off the bat, let us say this: the best thing about local honey is that each one naturally has a unique flavor because of the mix of pollens and nectars inside. If a bee in Florida pollinates an orange blossom, the honey it makes will taste a bit like oranges. We don’t have to add flavorings or other ingredients because the bees already make it taste delicious naturally.
That said, crafty, creative cooks have found lots of ways to flavor their local honeys by infusing it with herbs, spices or flowers. There’s something kind of magical about that, isn’t there? Bees make their honey by pollinating flowers & herbs, and if you add those same plants’ leaves, stems and fruits, you can make honey taste even better.
How to Make Herb-Infused Honey
The recipe is as simple as it gets. Take a small mason jar and fill it halfway with local honey. Then, add 1–2 tablespoons of your choice of herb and fill the remainder of the jar with honey. You’ll most likely want to use dried, whole-leaf herbs. The bigger the pieces, the better.
Let it sit for 3–10 days, stirring occasionally. Every day or so, taste test it to see how strong the flavors are getting. For most infusions, a week will be fine. When the flavor is where you want it, strain out the herbs with a strainer or cheesecloth. As you’ll see below, some herbs are large enough that you can just pick them out, while other infusions are so fine you shouldn’t even bother – just leave them in.
Our Favorite Infusions
Roses: We tried using rose petals (it was around Valentine’s Day) to create rose-infused honey. It smelled amazing and quickly became our new favorite for sweetening tea.
Lavender: Lavender will take some work to strain out, and it can easily overpower the honey, so make sure not to let it sit too long. But the flavor was well worth it for us.
Mint/Peppermint: We’re always looking for fun ways to use wild mint. There aren’t too many recipes we would use mint honey for, but it’s delightful in tea.
Lemon balm and/or Orange Peel: Local Hive So Cal and Orange Blossom are always popular honeys because of their citrusy taste. Infusing lemon balm, lemon peel, lemon zest, or orange peel can really brighten up any honey.
Peppermint and lemon peel: This combination was truly delectable. We’re saving it to make mint lemonade this summer.
Thyme: We infused our limited edition Washington Raspberry honey with thyme and called it “Razz Time.” It was a hit, and thyme goes great with any honey, light or dark. Try thyme-infused honey with biscuits, bacon and eggs, or as a pork chop glaze.
Rosemary: This infusion was funky and interesting. We want to try it on a fancy-pants brick oven pizza or with cheese and crackers on our next charcuterie board.
Elderberries: Just straight-up yumminess here. This honey perfect for our bedtime tea thanks to raw honey’s naturally ability to help you sleep.
Ginger: Ginger is downright magical and infusing it into honey makes it magically delicious, too. We recommend using a light honey and chunks of peeled ginger root. Avoid the mess of sliced or powdered ginger.
Cinnamon: You really can’t go wrong here. Like honey and butter, honey and cinnamon just belong together. A few cinnamon sticks will do the trick, or you can use cinnamon powder (not too much, though) and just not strain it out.
Vanilla Bean: We infused our Orange Blossom honey with full vanilla beans to make a “Creamsicle” and it didn’t disappoint. Vanilla honey would also make an amazing latte.
Chiles and lime peel: “Hot honey” has been something of a food trend for quite a while now. If you ask us, it tastes a lot better if you make it at home and start with raw & unfiltered local honey. Start with your choice of pepper (habanero, jalapeno, or chipotle) and slice it into long strips, removing the seeds. Infuse these strips with some lime peel as well for a really head-turning, Mexican-inspired flavor. Word to the wise: don’t let your peppers infused too long – 3 days will be plenty.
Check out more recipes and honey tips on our Instagram.