If I were on an episode of MTV’s True Life, it’d be “I’m a Mike’s Hot Honey Addict.”
It started, like many things do, innocently enough: a drizzle here, a drop there. But, soon, I found myself using Hot Honey on pizza (with soppresata, of course), all sorts of sweet and savory toasts, roasted vegetables, salads, oatmeal, yogurt, and ice cream.
And as I bought bottle-after-bottle and felt more and more guilty—okay, not that guilty—a thought occurred to me: You have honey. You have dried chiles. Why not make your own?
So began a new episode of True Life: “I’m An Infused Honey Obsessivore.” Because I couldn’t just stop at Hot Honey. There was lavender-vanilla, rosemary-lemon zest, cardamom, and ginger-mint—and the end has yet to come.
The “problem” with infused honey is that it's easy come as it is easy go. Essentially, you’re adding dried herbs (or spices) to honey and waiting a long (like a week or two’s worth) time. That’s it.
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A jar of infused honey makes for one sweet gift—literally. But no one can blame you for keeping said gift to yourself either—at least I won’t.
A note on botulism risk: I consulted canning and preserving expert Cathy Wheelbarrow on the risks of honey infusions. "Most scientists regard honey as anaerobic and therefore not a hospitable environment for bacterial growth. Nevertheless, I would be hesitant to use fresh herbs or fresh chiles. Dried herbs and dried chiles do not carry the same potential for bacteria." Bottom line: Stick to dried flavorings.