giving: cinnamon cardamom honey

12.10.2012

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!

21 note(s) by friends.:

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

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

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  3. this is an awesome gift - that i would love to give OR get!

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

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

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    1. i don't know that one--looking forward to looking it up!

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

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  7. thanks for sharing this would be a great gift


    xoxo Wengie
    www.wengie.com



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  8. 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.

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  9. 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!

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

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  10. 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.

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

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  11. 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!

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

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  12. 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

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

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