Spring has sprung, my friends, and nowhere is this more evident than the beautiful Texas Hill Country in its collective chorus of......
It's spring allergy season. But I probably didn't have to tell you that did I? Seems downright wrong that the most beautiful days of the year are notorious for sniffles and sneezes and red-rimmed eyes.
Natural health care enthusiasts as well as formally-trained allergists seem to agree that local honey may be a helpful antidote in your efforts to battle that sneeze into submission. Certainly the beekeepers think so.
Below, find my recent collaboration with Round Rock Honey Company and Texas Farmers Market. It was one sweet deal.
Guest Chef Maggie C. Perkins
There are two methods for infusing honey-- one takes a little time and patience, the other takes a little heat.
Traditional Infused Honey
In a sterilized glass jar or bottle, place herbs of your choice (washed, and dried completely). Add honey (we used our favorite local honey from Round Rock Honey Company), cap the bottle, and place in a sunny, warm window. Depending upon the amount of herb you use, this process should yield a full-flavored infused honey in about three weeks. Strain herbs, and bottle strained honey in a sterilized bottle or jar.
Quick Infused Honey
In a saucepan over low heat, combine your choice of herbs and honey. Allow to infuse slowly, at a heat low enough to avoid bubbling, stirring occasionally. When flavors have permeated the honey, remove from heat, strain herbs from honey and store in a sterilized bottle or jar.
We served this infused honey over our favorite cheese, on a slice of toasted baguette, at the market, however you'll find many uses beyond this simple preparation. Try glazing poultry, use to sweeten dressings, dressing up carrots or favorite fresh vegetables, or even as a simple perk-up for afternoon tea.
Some of the herbs and additions we used at the market, in different combinations, include the zest of Meyer Lemon, culinary rosebuds (untreated), culinary lavender (untreated), fresh mint and rosemary, (courtesy of Organicare Farms), and vanilla bean. Let your imagination, and your taste buds, be your guide!
Be sure to use untreated culinary herbs and flowers, to avoid in pesticide or fertilizer residue in your infusion.
In addition to drizzling over your favorite cheese, you may like to try infusing a delicious Fromage Blanc (ours courtesy of Mill-King) chevre, or even cream cheese, by stirring the cooled honey directly into the cheese and garnishing with a few of the herbs or flavorings with which you infused the oil.
Alternatively, we covered a creamy crowd-pleasing brie from Brazos Valley Cheese in the honey, garnishing with edible flowers, and served aside Champagne Glazed Pecans from Yegua Creek Farms, and freshly-baked bread from the market booth of Texas French Bread, for a serve-yourself platter perfect for entertaining.