Cooking with Lavender: Infusing Honey with Lavender
It's Saturday morning, and I am hungry for some hot, fluffy, homemade biscuits with oozy, melting butter, and honey. Lavender Infused Honey to be more specific. It is so easy to make, and it adds such a unique flavor to the honey that pretty soon you, too, will be eating it every day.
Honey, in and of itself, has so many natural medicinal benefits. Adding lavender to the mix not only introduces the flavor, but the herbal benefits of the lavender. Now, there is naturally flavored lavender honey, created when the hives are placed in the lavender fields, but here in Lawton, Oklahoma we don't have that luxury, so infused honey is the next best thing. (Tipton Honey will be putting an experimental hive in my upper field this spring, so I will let you know how that goes. So exciting!!)
My father has always eaten honey on his cereal in the mornings, and he is the healthiest older (ahem, cough, cough) gentleman I know. Whether it is true or not, and studies have been inconclusive, he believes that if you eat local, raw honey it will help with your allergies to the local flora. A natural immunotherapy, if you will. And I agree. I buy my honey from Tipton Honey, right here in southwest Oklahoma and I swear it has helped my allergies. I eat it every single day, on toast, in tea, and just out of the spoon. And I am infusing it with lavender grown right here at Turkey Creek Farm.
In addition to the benefits, infusing honey is just plain fun. I also infuse honey with cinnamon, which I like on an English muffin. You can infuse it with just about any herb, or spice. Imagine infusing it with rosemary then using that on a honey baked ham, or cinnamon and cloves for spice tea, or mint...Yum....the cooking applications are so exciting.
The key to using it raw, and reaping the health benefits, is not heating it above 115 degrees when infusing. There are natural enzymes in honey that aid digestion, as well as a whole list of other things, and if heated too high, those enzymes are destroyed.
DIRECTIONS FOR INFUSING HONEY: When I infuse honey I use 1 cup of raw honey and 2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds. Put 1 cup of honey in a sauce pan, heat slightly to no more than 115 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds. Cover and let cool. Taste and, if it is not as strong as you like, repeat. When it is the strength you want, strain the honey into a container, and discard the buds (although I suppose you could add these to a recipe if you wanted to). I always do this twice because I like to taste my lavender.
There are other methods for infusing honey, like adding the buds to cold honey and letting it sit in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks, but I'm too impatient for that. Or, putting the buds in a cheese cloth, but I like my honey to actually touch my lavender. I'm weird that way.
Did I mention the gift giving benefit? What an easy, neat gift, right? A set of 3 different infused honeys in a basket and a loaf of bread...(please remember me when you are gift giving!). Honey is delish on the Lavender Banana Bread we made the other day, fruit, ice cream, dressings, sauces, meats...well, the list goes on. And your face. Honey is good on your face. It makes a wonderful, cheap facial, is naturally moisturizing and anti-bacterial. Just Google it, and you'll see.
Enjoy your honey, honey!