Honey is a magical,wondrous thing. From how it's produced to how it tastes, looks and feels, we don't get over the marvel of it even as grown-ups! The English language even has a word inspired by it, an adjective that describes smooth and elegant movement, and sweet vocal tone: mellifluous. sweetly or smoothly flowing like honey. How neat is that?
Honey is loved all year round, but it really comes into its own in the colder months. It's almost an essential winter ingredient. Whether you're adding it to your morning porridge or drizzling it over a freshly made crumpet with lashings of butter, its rich fragrance, amber colour and pure sweetness just makes you feel warmer.
As good as honey tastes, it's also wonderful at absorbing other flavours, just as other ingredients added to it can enhance the honey itself. While finding the right balance takes a bit of patience, your taste buds will truly be rewarded.
I’ve been experimenting with flavouring honey for the past few months. Consequently my kitchen has become stacked with jars of honey and starting to look like a potions lab from Harry Potter.
Below are my top 5 combinations. We think you'll enjoy experimenting with honey as much as we have!
Honey - approx 300ml
Your infusion ingredient, see individual recipes below
300ml Jar for storage
With all these flavourings, leave the jar sealed for 3 - 4 weeks to allow the infusion to really take hold.
If using fresh ingredients, sterilise the jar first and burp your fermentation at least once a week to allow any built up gases out. I used the method from Cornersmith for sterilising.
1. Vanilla Honey:
I’ve been making this one for a few years now and it’s been a family favourite on toast and in porridge. Using our North Queensland Vanilla beans creates a delicate vanilla flavour to the honey.
Once you’ve scraped the vanilla seeds out for something else, don’t discard the rest of the bean out but simply chop it up and add it to a jar of honey. Any leftover vanillin will infuse with the honey to provide a beautiful vanilla undertone. If you are feeling decadent add the bean with the seeds still intact. Simply slice the bean to expose the seeds and add into the jar. Leave for 3 - 4 weeks for the flavour to develop..
2. Lavender Honey:
I’ve only recently been making Lavender honey and it’s truly remarkable. The lavender flavour is just out of this world and is quickly becoming the new favourite. Especially on a warm crumpet with butter. So good.
Add 2-3 teaspoons of lavender flowers to the 300ml jar of honey. Stir them in and then close the jar. Leave for 3 - 4 weeks for the flavour to develop. You can leave the flowers in the jar as they are edible or you can remove them by gently heating the honey (10 seconds in the microwave) and then pouring the honey through a sieve to remove the flowers.
3. Lemon Myrtle Honey:
The delicate citrus of the Lemon Myrtle is wonderful with honey and I enjoy this the best on toast or in a vinaigrette.
Add 3 - 4 teaspoons of Lemon Myrtle powder to the 300ml jar of honey. Stir them in and then close the jar and wait 3 - 4 weeks for the flavour to develop. I used dried finely cut lemon myrtle so it isn’t necessary to remove it from the honey.
4. Hot Honey:
Adding Chilli to honey adds a delicious spice to the sweetness. It’s actually really good drizzled over pizza or any fried foods for the ultimate salty/sweet combo with a zing. Try it on fried halloumi!
You can do this with fresh chilli: Sterilise a jar and add the honey and add 3 - 4 fresh whole chillies. Leave for at least 4 weeks but open the jar (burp) once a week to allow any built up gases to escape. The honey will become runnier with fresh chillies in there as the chillies ferment and that’s perfectly normal.
I used dried chilli flakes as I had them at hand. Add about 4 teaspoons of chilli flakes to the jar of honey. On the down side, using dried flakes takes longer for the flavour to develop - about 6 - 8 weeks, but you don’t need to burp the jar each week. After about 8 weeks you can remove the flakes if you want by gently heating the honey (10 seconds in the microwave) and then pouring the honey through a sieve to remove the chilli flakes.
5. Garlic Honey:
Our staff member, Olivia, was extolling the virtues of garlic honey to me one day and I knew then I had to try it. The honey is wonderful in vinaigrettes and eventually the garlic becomes infused with the honey and is so delicious to just eat straight from the jar.
Using a whole bulb of garlic, peel and gently crush the cloves a little (but you don’t want to mash them up). Sterilise a jar and add enough honey to cover the garlic cloves. Leave for at least 4 weeks but open the jar (burp) once a week to allow any built up gases to escape. The garlic aroma is pretty strong so you may want to do this outside if you don’t want your house to smell like garlic. The honey will become runnier as the garlic ferments and that’s perfectly normal.