Lavender Infused Honey: Thoughts of Sunny Weather and French Provence
I am sitting here in front of the fire trying to think warm thoughts. It is (really) cold and rainy outside, but during the month of November what else can we expect? Still, it isn’t easy to look thru the window towards outside and see grey and raindrops and remember what the sun used to look like (just one month ago). During these dreary days in Pau, I try to add color to my life. It helps, all of it. Adding a dash of pink color to my hair (so fun), wearing a bright color scarf, or just moving around for a quick power walk or exercise class at the gym.
But there is lavender still growing in my herb garden. And it only takes a second to smear a leaf of lavender between my fingers, close my eyes and breathe in that smell. A quick aromatherapy session. What a feeling of being warm in the sun in French Provence, the lavender capital of France. What if this smell and taste was infused in my cooking?
And thus came the idea:
Why not make homemade lavender infused honey?
Recipe Redux Monthly Theme: Adding Merriment to Mixes
If you follow the blog (if you don’t you can subscribe to the newsletter here), you know that the 21st of each month is the day that us Recipe Reduxers publish healthy and tasty recipes linked together based on a scheduled theme. This month’s theme is: “From hostess gifts to holiday gifts, it’s the season for DIY offerings from your kitchen.” Perfect timing because with Christmas around the corner what better gift than a homemade offering from the kitchen (and your heart?).
I wanted to show you how to make your own lavender infused honey. Why? Because it is just tastes completely way too good.
My friends live in Provence, one of the few places you can buy real lavender honey, where the bees have pollinated the lavender in the fields. Thanks to them, I have had the privilege to taste lavender honey. It was so good, the memory still etched in my taste brain.
You may not find real lavender honey to purchase where you live, but you can easily make your own to share with friends and be sure to keep a jar for yourself.
Raw honey is a health treasure, and is fragile at high temperatures.
So please don’t heat up your honey.
My recipe uses raw honey, which is the honey taken from the hive and poured cold into jars. Raw honey has not been processed nor pasteurized. Raw honey has the most health benefits compared to processed honey, including antioxidant, anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Raw honey strengthens the immune system, decreases a body’s inflammation, helps digestion, helps cure sore throats and colds (and more!).
But here is the raw deal: pasteurization or high heating of honey will kill most of its beneficial properties. Raw honey (or other less processed honey) should not be heated on the stove or double broiler. When honey is heated above 100-105 degrees F (or 38-40 degrees Celsius), the honey starts to lose its enzyme and other health properties. On the internet, you can find many recipes to make your own lavender honey, but most instructions state heating honey in a pan on the stove or in a double boiler, and this is a procedure I do not recommend. Neither do I suggest heating the honey in the microwave to warm it and make it more fluid to pour. If you need to warm the honey to make it more fluid, place the jars of honey into a bowl of very warm (almost hot) water and let it sit for several minutes.
How to make lavender infused honey
This recipe uses raw honey and I do not want to heat the honey to risk its health benefits. So, to make this lavender honey you need to plan. The lavender must stay a minimum of one week in the honey to infuse the lavender taste.
Note on the honey to use: buy a raw honey that is lighter/milder in taste. I recommend Acacia honey.
2 empty sterilized jars: one to give away as a gift and one to keep for yourself
2 cups of raw or unprocessed honey (1 cup for each jar) If you do not have a honey farm near you, you can order raw honey from Amazon. Here is one brand, but there are several to choose from: HoneyTree Great Lakes Raw Michigan Honey, 24-Ounce
2 bunches of lavender flower sprigs (about 14 sprigs) or 4 tablespoons of lavender flowers (I picked lavender from my own herb garden, but you can also order online).
Note: you need to use organic, culinary lavender. Do not buy lavender that isn’t used in food. If you do not have your own lavender, here is one brand, but you can choose between several options. Starwest Botanicals Organic Lavender Flowers (Extra Grade), 1-pound Bag
Optional: cheese cloth if using lavender flowers and you must filter lavender out of honey at the end of infusion
Steps to Make Lavender Infused Honey
1. Find your source of lavender. Here is mine from our back garden.
2. Cut lavender into 2 bunches, about 6 springs per bunch. If using lavender flowers, use 2 tablespoons per jar
3. Put lavender springs into 2 clean sterilized jars
4. Cover lavender with raw honey
5. Let lavender infuse in honey for at least one week.
Once a day turn jar over and back again to mix lavender into honey.
6. After a week, open honey and take out gently, the sprigs of lavender.
Note: if using lavender flowers, you will need to filter these out by warming up honey jars in bowl and filter with a cheesecloth.
7. Bottle up the jar.
8. Add your favorite decoration to the jar. Share with your favorite person. Keep one jar for you.
This is a great homemade gift for the winter months because the honey is a treatment for the common cold or sore throat. But even better, lavender honey is perfect on:
- toast with salty butter
- grilled chicken
- cheese topping
- duck meat
- waffles, pancakes or crepes
- mixed in greek yogurt
- in green salads as a honey dressing
How do you use lavender honey?
Be creative and share your food ideas with the lucky person who will receive your DYI homemade gift.
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