A Winter Pantry Staple: Herbal Honey Infusion with Dried ElderberriesMichelle Norman |
Many people know the health benefits of raw honey. Honey has been used in ancient medicine, as a sweetener for beverages and baking, or in skin care products or routines. Honey has numerous health benefits and has been used to treat and soothe peptic ulcers, aid in wound and burn healing, is a mild cough suppressant, eases and soothes sore throats, is high in antioxidants, has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, eases seasonal allergies, and is high in beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals. By infusing honey with different herbs or spices, it enhances the honey’s health benefits. I use organic raw honey for all of my honey infusions, because raw honey is not heated and only strained before it is bottled, therefore, it retains unaltered beneficial nutrients. Basically, it is unfiltered and unpasteurized.
Winter Pantry Honey
I call this my “winter pantry honey.” Honey that I’ve infused with medicinal herbs and spices for winter ailments and immune support. For this particular post, I am sharing how to infuse honey with dried elderberries.
Dried Elderberries, (Sambucus nigra), have many medicinal properties, particularly for the immune system. Elderberries are high in quercetin, helps boost and support the immune system, eases and lessens cold and flu symptoms, reduces the length and severity of colds and flus, are high in vitamin C, and they have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-oxidant properties. When infused in honey, it helps ease sore throats, acts as a mild cough suppressant, and helps ease respiratory congestion. My main focus when I infuse honey with dried elderberries, is for its anti-viral properties and to support and boost the immune system.
Other wonderful, immune-supportive and antiviral dried herbs that I infuse honey with are: cinnamon sticks, star anise, rose hips, dried ginger root, and orange slices.
**Remember, honey should never be given to children under the age of one, due to their immature immune system, it can expose them to C. botulinum.
This recipe calls for dried elderberries, and you can find them at most health food stores.
Once the elderberries have infused for at least 4-6 weeks, you can drizzle the infused honey over toast, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, or add a teaspoon to your tea or coffee.
For immune support, take 1 teaspoon daily during cold and flu season.
To make the infusion, you will need 1 cup of raw honey, preferably organic, and 1/3 cup of dried elderberries, (preferably organic).
Add the elderberries to a wide mouth pint jar, then pour the honey over it. If your honey is thick, try warming it up gently and slowly by using the double broiler method, (making sure the water is no more than 105 degrees F. High heat will destroy the natural and beneficial enzymes and nutrients in the honey).
Gently stir, so the elderberries are all covered with honey, then place a tight lid over the jar (I like to use a piece of parchment paper between the jar and the lid to keep it cleaner and keep it from leaking out).
Then store in a warm spot, away from direct heat or sunlight, for 4-6 weeks.
Turn the jar once or twice a day, to help incorporate the honey around the elderberries (doing this helps extract all of the elderberries’ healing properties).
To strain the elderberries once infused, you can soften the honey by using the double broiler method again. Set out another clean jar, and gently pour half of the infusion out, gently pressing down on the berries to strain all the honey, (this can take some time).
Discard the elderberries from the first step, then repeat and strain the second half of the jar and then discard the elderberries.
Infused honey has a long shelf life and will remain shelf-stable if stored at room temperature.
Have fun making your own herbal infusions and with confidence and peace, knowing you are adding healing infused honey to your winter pantry.
See pictures below.