lavender infused honey
A couple years ago I visited McEvoy Ranch on a MALT tour and bought a jar of lavender infused honey. It was incredible on toast, ice cream, drizzled over a salad, with nuts and cheese, and I am now down to the last teaspoon. I've asked at McEvoy's shop at the Ferry Building, at their farmer's market stand (I think an occasional stand in Napa)and have been told "oh, we don't have any now, but will in the spring" or other times it is summer, fall, etc.
So down to my last teaspoon I'm ready to infuse my own and need some help from those who may have done it before. Basic questions:
I assume I should choose a mild honey (such as orange blossom?) so that the lavender flavor comes through?
What proportion of honey to lavender flowers?
Fresh or dried flowers?
Heat? and if so for how long? And/or estimates on how long to steep?
This is an aside. I found lavendar honey at my local Whole Foods. It has a Lulu's lable on it. The lavendar flavor is very subtle but definitely there. Just enough in my opinion.
Also, the other day I toasted some baguette sliced, smeared on some goat cheese, sliced some dried black mission figs and drizzled on lavendar honey. It was a simple and impressive hors d'ouvere.
How about rose-infused honey?
I found an interesting recipe as I was reading last night (Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation, by Tammy Horn). She says that Martha Washington reputedly liked rose-flavored honey, and provided a recipe from the estate of George Washington.
This sounds so good that I wish I had a source for unsprayed, fragrant roses!
Bring 1 cup of honey to a boil; remove from heat as soon as the honey foams up. Stir in half a cup of fresh rose petals and let sit for four hours. Bring back to a boil, then strain and cool.
Lavender honey usually from Provence, is a natural product made by bees who feed on lavender flowers. I usually bring some back with me every time I go, but I'm sure you could locate some at a purveyor of French imports.
Honey infusions are tricky. The flavor and perfume of the honey would conflict with any blossom honey.
Orange blossom, star thistle or any other mild honey will do. Heat the honey in a small saucepan. Add crushed dried lavender blossoms; the quantity will depend on the pungency of the blossoms but 1 teaspoon dried flowers to 1/4 cup honey is a good rule of thumb. Infuse for a half hour or until desired lavender flavour is reached. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.