The sun is out, the sky is blue, and temperatures are rising. Summertime is the right time for putting crushed, fresh leaves of spearmint, peppermint, lemon verbena, rosemary, thyme, and edible flowers such as violet and lavender in your ice water, iced tea, and lemonades. Super tasty and versatile, herbal honeys are a perfect fit in refreshing drinks, dribbled on yogurt, waffles, and English muffins, and licked from the spoon.
To make an herbal honey, simply fill a jar ¾ full of chopped herb leaves and flowers, fill the jar to the top with honey, and put on a lid. Let it steep for 2-3 weeks, then strain and enjoy.
To strain, place the jar with lid on in a sauce pan on the stove. Fill the pan halfway with water, then heat on low until the honey is thin enough to strain from the plant matter. This may take 10-15 minutes. Cool fact: the very center of a beehive is kept at 100-110 degrees by the bees’ labor. Keep the warm water from going above 110 degrees to preserve the enzymes in the honey and nutrition of the plants.
Suggested herbal honey combos:
- 1 cup each spearmint and lemon verbena leaves
- 1 cup violet leaves and flowers and ½ cup raspberry leaves
- 1 cup rosemary and ½ cup thyme leaves
- 1 cup lavender flowers, leaves, and stems, and one vanilla bean
Refreshing Herbal Lemonade Recipe:
Use 1 cup of herbal honey with the juice of 2 lemons in a gallon pitcher. Add ice and fill with water. Add a few crushed mint leaves and lemon slices, stir, and watch it quickly disappear. Your friends and family will clamor for more! // (Suzanne Tabert)
[Feature photo “Herbal lemonade” by Suzanne Tabert]