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How to infuse honey with chiles?

Does vinegar have to be added to reduce botulism risk? Any ideas on chile to honey ratio? And how much vinegar?

asked by needfulthings about 3 years ago
7 answers 1929 views
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Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added about 3 years ago

Hi needfulthings-- I would just combine honey and infusing ingredient over low heat for maybe 15min or so, then cool to room temp and let infuse for a while there or in fridge. Honey itself has antibacterial properties, plus you'd be heating it.

Some other ideas here: http://www.food.com/recipe...

Interesting idea, what do you need it for?

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JAC
added about 3 years ago

The antibacterial properties of honey will do you no good in this application. The honey will not kill any dangerous bacteria that may be in the chilies. The important thing is to use dried chilies. Fresh chilies (or any other fresh herb) will have a water content that increases the risk of disease causing spores.
Simply mix dried chilies with honey in a clean jar. Cover tightly and allow to sit at room temperature for at least a week. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor.

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Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added about 3 years ago

I'm not sure I agree, JAC, but that's an interesting take. Heating, especially if extended to 30+min, would do a lot to rid fresh chilies of what may be lurking, and risk never goes to zero in any case.

Personally, I would use fresh chilies because I prefer the flavor. You could keep the jar in a cool, dry, dark place and check to make sure the honey doesn't become cloudy, which could mean something is growing in it (or more likely that it's crystallizing).

I think most important is to use your senses and common sense!

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JAC
added about 3 years ago

I don't mean to sound argumentative but... I have to stick with my original answer. Dried is the way to go if you are going to store the infused honey for later use.
If fresh chilies is your taste preference, maybe you should try mincing fresh chilies with honey when making your dish? What will you be using the honey for?
Rebecca, I do agree that the most important thing is to use your common sense!

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Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added about 3 years ago

No problem, JAC! I make simple syrup all the time with fresh jalapeno infusion and have kept it at the back of the fridge for at least two months with no problem except perhaps sliiight degradation of flavor. Plus, simple syrup is much less stable than honey... so much more water! needfulthings, you could keep the jar in the fridge if you're really concerned (which I'm still not ready to say I would be) and then it would just be a question of melting a bit of honey at a time as you need it.

And JAC, just to clarify, I am NOT a proponent of fresh herb-olive oil infusions kept long-term at room temp. I think we may just be at different parts of the risk-evaluating spectrum.

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Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added about 3 years ago

(Meaning I'm not alllll the way to the risk-taking end, in spite of the honey answer.)

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added about 3 years ago

Hi ladies, thank you so much for your quick responses and sorry for my own delayed one. I think I will go with what JAC says - use low heat, simmer both honey and dried chiles together and then see how it goes. I would use fresh chiles only if making a very small bath that I think I can consume in a week. I've read up a lot elsewhere as well and it seems it might be unnecessary to worry when using honey because of it's ph value and water content. Also, heating honey to boiling point would just kill it's nutritive qualities and is neither necessary nor desired.

Let's see how batch #1 goes!