giving: cinnamon cardamom honey

December 10, 2012

cinnamon cardamom honey This weekend was a grey one. It was one for putting on a thick pair of socks and turning on quiet music and setting to work on a project that eclipses the dreary damp. For me, the project was infusing honey to give as gifts. honey It’s not that honey has need for much improvement, but subtly infused with herbs or spices it becomes something even more worthy of gift-giving. For the holidays, I decided on an infusion of cinnamon and cardamom. They’re two of my favorite cold-weather spices and ones that are just right for stirring into cups of black tea with milk on Christmas morning or sweetening whipped cream for post-sledding hot chocolate. cinnamon There are two options when it comes to infusing honey: you can either fill your honey jar with herbs and let them steep for a week before straining it, or you can infuse the honey by heating it with herbs. I chose the latter because I tend toward impatience and heating the honey means you can go from regular old honey to something delicious in a single afternoon. cinnamon cardamom honey I used Rachel’s suggested method of a make-shift double boiler (heat-resistant mixing bowl over a sauce pan of water) and gently heated my honey that way. For a 32 oz. jar of honey from a local farmer I used 5 cinnamon sticks and 24 cardamom pods (roughly 1 cinnamon stick and 6 cardamom pods for each cup of honey).
cinnamon and cardamom I sterilized each jar in a much larger pot before adding a sampling of the spices (just enough to look pretty and add some additional flavor without becoming overpowering). cinnamon cardamom honey I put a small square of parchment paper between my lid and rim so that I could label the jar. If you want something a little more festive, you could swap in a square of thin fabric. cinnamon cardamom honey

Infusing honey, step-by-step:

1. For every 1 cup of honey, add 1-2 tablespoons of herbs or spices. (You can use fresh or dried, but keep in mind that fresh herbs need to be completely dry to avoid the risk of bacteria). Lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, vanilla and (untreated) pine are all delicious options. If you use cardamom, make sure to crack open each pod so that the seeds inside are exposed.

2. Heat honey with herbs until it reaches around 160 degrees F. It’s not totally necessary that you use a candy thermometer to measure temperature–I’ve seen honey infused many times without one–but if you want to be technical, measure away.

3. Allow the honey to simmer for about ten minutes and then cool (anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours is fine). Once cooled, reheat the honey until it becomes thin enough to easily pour. I honestly don’t know the reason for this step, but it’s what the experts do, so I do it too.

4. Pour honey through a sieve into sterilized jars. (Expect some honey loss–I started with 32 oz. and was able to fill three 8 oz. jars (24 oz.) with just a small amount left over). Cover the honey tightly with a lid and wrap it up before you eat it all. Honey is shelf stable and should be good for (at least) a year!

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  • Reply Ana Cooks December 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    it must taste and smell so good!

  • Reply Abby December 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    This looks awesome. I made orangettes and jam to give as gifts, but I'll keep this in mind for next year.

  • Reply annton beate Schmidt December 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    what a wonderful idea. I start dreaming of this honey, only by looking at your pics!

  • Reply Little Kitchie December 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    this is an awesome gift – that i would love to give OR get!

  • Reply sweet harvest moon December 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    This sounds and looks delicious! Perfect for cold winter months!

  • Reply Michelle Justine December 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    What a great idea! Very cute gift.

  • Reply Ann December 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Love this!

  • Reply noireshinesblue December 11, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Looks great ^^ It also reminded me of a poem called The Cinnamon Peeler’s Wife
    by Canadian poet Michael Ondaatje.

    • Reply erin December 11, 2012 at 4:58 am

      i don't know that one–looking forward to looking it up!

  • Reply Tiffany @ Savor Home December 11, 2012 at 3:48 am

    My dad would absolutely love this! I will have to make it for him…

    • Reply erin December 11, 2012 at 4:58 am

      so glad! i hope you do!

  • Reply Wengie December 11, 2012 at 5:47 am

    thanks for sharing this would be a great gift

    xoxo Wengie

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic December 12, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Homemade food is always a good gift, and I'm sure it's also more fun to make these types of gifts than to buy them in a store and deal with all the crazed shoppers.

  • Reply Anonymous December 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    the honey is re-heated so you can actually pour it through the sieve. it might go through otherwise, but it might take a very long time, depending on your honey.

    I think I'll try this next spring with rosebuds and roses in it!

    • Reply erin December 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      yes, exactly! re-heating the honey makes it much easier to strain!

  • Reply Anonymous December 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

    If you are using raw honey, it would be a real shame to heat it, as above 115 F degrees all the good stuff in honey is destroyed …but then again, most store bought honey is already thermally treated at 160 degrees F.

    • Reply erin December 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      ah, yes. if you come by raw honey it seems like the infusion method without heat would be the best!

  • Reply Cyndi December 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I immediately ordered fancy tea and plan to make this infused honey this weekend! Thank you for the inspiration and, you know, crazy beautiful photos! I've just found your blog through Nat the Fat Rat, and I can't get enough. Looking forward to continuing to read!

    • Reply erin December 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks, Cyndi! So glad that you wended your way here! Hope your honey turns out well!

  • Reply Stephanie Roberts December 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    i have been busy lately and am just now catching up on your blog…and i just have to tell you, you sing to my earthy soul

    • Reply erin December 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      ha! glad to hear it stephanie. thanks so much for reading!

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