Making herb-infused honeys

Making cookies, jams, infused honeys or sauces for gift-giving has always been part of my life, but never more so than in 2008 when the downturn in the economy made so many of us re-think what gift-giving really means.

So last year, all my gifts (with very few exceptions) were prepared in my kitchen. It took several days to make all the goodies and package them beautifully, but the result was that long past the holidays, friends and family members would call me to thank me for the gifts they were still enjoying.

This made such an impression on me that I’ve committed to do the same every holiday. It’s not a small commitment — making gifts from your kitchen takes time! — but with a little creativity and planning I find that it’s not only doable, it’s downright enjoyable!

This year, two special treats are on the list: Sienese almond cookies, and honey infused with fresh herbs and spices. Both are easy to make… and incredibly delicious. Both also look absolutely gorgeous, and will be sure to impress your family and friends.

Gifts from your kitchen and your heart – now that’s what the holidays are all about.

Herb-infused honeys

makes one 4 oz (120 ml) bottle
active time: 15 min

For the supplies

  1. 4 oz (120 ml) bottles or jars – washed and thoroughly dried
  2. 1/2 cup (4 oz) (120 ml) good quality orange blossom or clover honey per bottle/jar (for larger bottles/jars, multiply the amount of honey and herbs needed equally)

For a single herb infusion – all measurements are for a 4 oz (120 ml) bottle/jar (choose one herb from list below)

  1. 1 sprig basil (a sprig with small leaves is easier to fit in the bottle/jar)
  2. 1 tablespoon shaved fresh ginger (use vegetable hand-peeler)
  3. 1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms
  4. 2 sprigs lemon balm
  5. 1 sprig mint
  6. 1 sprig oregano
  7. 1 sprig rosemary
  8. 2 sprigs summer or winter savory
  9. 1 sprig sweet marjoram
  10. 1 sprig French tarragon
  11. 4 sprigs thyme
  12. 4 sprigs lemon thyme

For a single herb & spice infusion – all measurements are for a 4 oz (120 ml) bottle/jar (choose one herb & spice combo from list below)

  1. 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  2. 1 small sprig basil & 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  3. 1 small sprig basil & 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  4. 2 teaspoons cardamom pods
  5. 1 stick cinnamon & 1 sprig sage
  6. 1 sprig rosemary & 1 strip orange zest (use vegetable hand-peeler)
  7. 4 sprigs fresh thyme & 1 strip lemon zest (use vegetable hand-peeler)

  1. Step 1: Choose one herb or one herb & spice combination for each bottle/jar. Place herb (and/or spice) in bottle/jar.
  2. Step 2: Place honey in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the honey becomes liquidy or until candy thermometer reaches 180ºF (82ºC), making sure the honey doesn’t come to a boil.
  3. Step 3: Using a funnel, pour the hot honey into each bottle/jar, making sure the herbs are submerged. Place honey bottles on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, close bottle/jar tightly and store in a cool dark place for 1 week before using.
  4. Cook’s note: Store the infused honey in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Viviane’s tip
  1. I love to use my homegrown herbs to make these honeys, but not everyone has a herb garden. Fortunately, fresh herbs are available in any supermarket. The fresher the herb, the more flavor it will impart to the honey. As for the honey itself, I recommend buying a good-quality local honey for the infusions. The flavor is unsurpassed!
condiment, honey, herbs

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  • Reply meatlessmama November 23, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    What a great idea! They look so pretty and I love using herbs.

  • Reply Marillyn @ just-making-noise November 23, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Love this idea! The pictures look beautiful… Thank you for sharing your ideas! I’ve thought about doing that with homemade vinegar or olive oil, but honey sounds great too.

  • Reply TasteHongKong November 23, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Very impressive gift indeed.

  • Reply myfrenchkitchen November 24, 2009 at 2:38 am

    these honeys look beautiful and what a great gift1

  • Reply Divina November 24, 2009 at 3:08 am

    This is such a great and fabulous gift. Not too hard to do. I just need some herbs and honey. The bottle is the most difficult item to find but I will find it.

  • Reply foodlovee November 24, 2009 at 6:56 am

    looks good

  • Reply The Foodie Forkful November 24, 2009 at 10:37 am

    What a cool idea – I know about infusing oils and vinegars, but it never occurred to me that you could infuse honey. We’re doing a series of posts on our blog about Christmas gift ideas, and I think I will add infused honey to the list and link to your post.

  • Reply Vegetable Matter November 24, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Gorgeous. Now I need a bee hive!

  • Reply wasabi prime November 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Beautiful! Your friends and family are so fortunate to have such a creative, talented and thoughtful gift-giver. I remember making herb-infused olive oil one year — people do love something made from the heart and from the kitchen!

  • Reply Tasty Trix November 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    You are inspiring me!

  • Reply Lydia, Clueless Crafter November 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    ahh, gustatory gifts. Love honey and think that lavender infused would be magical on my husband’s delicious oat cakes.

    I should bring these the holiday hosts and hostesses.

  • Reply Lisa November 24, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    These are beautiful. I love lavender honey. I didn’t know it was so easy to make yourself.

  • Reply downhomeeats November 25, 2009 at 7:04 am

    I never thought of doing this with honey and they make baeutiful gifts. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Reply Martica November 25, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Absolutely beautiful gift ideas…thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Dana Treat November 25, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Those bottles are so beautiful! I’m not sure I would be able to give them away after I had made them. :) I agree though, handmade gifts are so special.

  • Reply Mariko November 27, 2009 at 2:05 am

    That is an amazing idea, and not one I’ve seen before. I would love to give these for the holidays.

  • Reply Jen November 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Oh my gosh, where have I been? How did I miss this post? I was just thinking I should do something creative with the few herbs that are still growing back there. The lemon thyme would be especially yummy. I saw some empty bottles at Crate & Barrel

  • Reply Shelly Huang November 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    This is such a great idea! Elegant and thoughtful – will definitely have to keep this in mind, but I think I’m going to end up keeping all the bottles!

  • Reply Noel Chapman November 29, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    What a great idea for the holidays! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Sebastian December 1, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Is it necessary to heat the honey, if it is already liquid? Don’t suppose honey would need to be pasteurized..?


    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre December 1, 2009 at 11:50 am

      Sebastian, The honey needs to be warmed up so that it infuses with the herbs. If you do not warm it up the infusion simply will not happen. However, I recommend not boiling the honey and only warming it up to 180F. To my knowledge all honeys you buy at the store have already been pasteurized, unless they are labeled “raw”. Warming up the honey to infuse the herbs does not replace pasteurization.

      Hope this helps…

  • Reply Eleanor Hoh (WokStar) December 16, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Wow, you are amazing and superwoman! I only did a few kimchi jars and ended up eating it myself! You are an inspiration. Elves woulda been helpful.

  • Reply Nastassia December 16, 2009 at 10:18 am

    What beautiful honeys! I am sure they are going to make great gifts. Thanks for posting the step by step for making them.

  • Reply Raynee December 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    These sound like a great gift idea. But interesting flavor combinations and what would you use the honey on or in?

  • Reply Trish December 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Such a fabulous idea for the holidays. I would have never thought of this. Who doesn’t love honey?! Happy Holidays!

  • Reply Jenny Nguyen December 15, 2010 at 3:38 am

    What a great idea! I wish I had’ve seen this post before I bought all my presents! Ah well, there’s always next year…

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  • Reply Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes June 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I made a pain d´epice a few days ago and couldn´t find a different honey to make it with other than the regular. It´s not common here, except for eucaliptus. But this opens such a wide variety of flavors! Baking with honey is such a pleasure that I will get down to business right away. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply Viviane June 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Paula, Thank you so much for stopping by and for your lovely comment. Indeed… You will love infusing your own honeys. The possibilities are endless and the results so delicious! Enjoy…

  • Reply Paula @ Vintage Kitchen June 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Viviane, I just posted a Pain d´epices with a link to this post. I made two honeys finally!

    • Reply Viviane June 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Fabulous Paula – Thank you! On my way to check your post now…

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