Honey Infusions to Flavor Basic Soda

Change up your soda recipe by experimenting with infused honeys to add different, subtle, and delicious flavors to each batch.

| Fall 2019

honey-infusions
Shutterstock/Mama_Mia

Honey’s antibacterial qualities can be problematic for the microorganisms necessary in the fermentation process. However, the addition of liquid to honey disrupts its naturally occurring antimicrobial environment and allows healthy microbes to move in. The exciting thing is, even when diluted, honey maintains the ability to carry and catalyze the phytochemicals from herbs, fruits, or vegetables mixed into it. When we ferment a blend of these ingredients, we make a true superfood that delivers all the benefits of fermentation, including improved digestion, along with all the inherent benefits of honey, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Thyme Infusion

In France, it’s traditional to use a combination of thyme and honey for sore throats. Thyme is chock-full of water-soluble vitamin C and the vitamin B complex. Give this infusion a try; it’s as delicious as it is nutritious.

Yield: 1 quart.



Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh thyme
  • 1 quart raw honey

Instructions

  1. Cut the thyme into coarse pieces, and allow it to wilt on the cutting board for a few hours.
  2. Add the wilted thyme to a glass quart jar.
  3. Pour in the honey, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jar. Wait for the thyme to begin to soak into the honey and release any air bubbles. Once everything has settled, add more honey if necessary.
  4. Cover the jar with a lid.
  5. Set the jar in sunlight or in a dehydrator set at 95 degrees Fahrenheit to infuse.
  6. Taste often. This infusion rarely needs a second addition of ingredients and may take only 2 to 3 weeks.
  7. Strain out the thyme, and use it if you wish. This honey should be shelf-stable, and can be kept somewhere cool and dry; it’ll last indefinitely.

 


Rose Petal Infusion

We have more than 250 rose bushes on the farm, and when they bloom in late May and early June, I pick them every morning for an hour! These two weeks of bloom are the only time that we make rose petal honey. It’s a labor of love with big rewards.

Yield: 1 quart.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh rose petals, or more if needed
  • 1 quart raw honey

Instructions

  1. Wilt the rose petals by allowing them to sit in a warm, shaded area for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Add rose petals to a glass quart jar.
  3. Pour in the honey, leaving ¼ to ½ inch of space at the top of the jar. Wait for the rose petals to begin to soak into the honey and release any air bubbles. Once everything has settled, add more honey if necessary.
  4. Cover the jar with a lid.
  5. Set the jar in sunlight or in a dehydrator set at 95 degrees Fahrenheit to infuse.
  6. Taste regularly. This infusion often needs a second or third addition of rose petals. Strain out the old petals so they don’t add a bitter taste to the infusion. You’ll know to change them when they shrivel and turn dark. A basic rose infusion typically takes about 2 to 3 weeks with about 3 or 4 rose petal changes.
  7. Strain out the rose petals. Use them if you wish; they make a beautiful tea mix. Check the water content of your infusion with a refractometer before storing on a shelf, or store in the refrigerator to be safe. Use within 3 months.

 


Coffee Infusion

I’m actually not a coffee drinker, but when a coffee connoisseur friend suggested a coffee-honey infusion, I knew I had to get to work on it. We use an organic, fair-trade roast with a fruity character that combines well with the floral notes of our honey. The finished infusion carries a distinct taste of caramel with a hint of chocolate.

 Yield: 1 quart.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly roasted coffee beans
  • 1 quart raw honey

Instructions

  1. Grind the coffee beans coarsely, and add to a glass quart jar. Note: Choose your beans carefully; the character of the bean will inform the flavor it imparts to your honey.
  2. Pour in the honey, leaving ¼ to ½ inch of space at the top of the jar. Wait for the coffee grounds to begin to soak into the honey and release any air bubbles. Once everything has settled, add more honey if necessary.
  3. Cover the jar with a lid.
  4. Set the jar in sunlight or in a dehydrator set at 95 degrees Fahrenheit to infuse.
  5. Taste often. This infusion rarely needs a second addition of ingredients and may take only 3 to 4 weeks.
  6. Strain out the coffee grounds. Use them for delicious French press coffee! Store your honey in a cool, dry area; it’ll last indefinitely.

More From Sweet Remedies by Dawn Combs


Dawn Combs is an ethnobotanist and herbalist. She’s the formulator at Mockingbird Meadows and chief soda jerk at her family’s storefront apothecary, Soda Pharm. This is excerpted from Sweet Remedies, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

 honey-refractometer
Shutterstock/COZ

A honey refractometer is a useful tool to have if you’re into beekeeping. Refractometers determine the concentration of a particular substance within a solution by measuring the degree that light is bent when passing through the solution. Different from homebrewing and winemaking refractometers, which give a reading of sugar content in water, honey refractometers give a reading of water content in honey. This is important, because water content affects the stability of honey at room temperature. If the water content is too high, the honey will ferment, and if it’s too low, the honey will crystallize. As a general rule, honey with a water content below 16 percent will crystallize, honey with a water content between 16 and 18 percent will remain stable, and honey with a water content above 18 percent will ferment. You can reduce water content by adding more honey, or store honey in a refrigerator to prevent fermentation. — Editors

 

Sweet Remedies

Sweet Remedies by Dawn Combs

Well known for its healing properties, honey acts as a tasty way to turn natural remedies that taste unpleasant into sweet treats. In  Sweet Remedies, readers will learn author Dawn Combs’ methods for making traditional herbal honeys, called “electuaries,” in their home kitchens. Plus, they’ll find instructions for making simple honey infusions and oxymels, with additional recipes that offer creative ways to get a daily dose of healing by using herbal honeys in no-bake cookies, smoothies, candies, cocktails, and more. Order from the My Fermentation Store






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