-posted by Jayne
This week on Wednesday I participated in "Create" - a craft series offered by Whole Foods in Columbus, featuring local Etsy artisans teaching a variety of craft classes. I taught a class on making infused honey and beeswax lip balms. It was a lot of fun, and of course Whole Foods made the whole experience inviting and casual.... great snacks and a welcoming atmosphere.
|As you can see there are two more classes open |
We used a very simple recipe from the book I co-authored, Honey Crafting
Basic Lip Balm
1.5 oz apricot kernel
oil (you can use other oils such as almond, coconut, sunflower,
or grapeseed oil)
.10 oz essential oil
or flavor oil
I changed the method from the book just a bit, since I wanted each participant to make and pour their own batch. Instead of warming the beeswax and oil together in a double boiler, we just warmed the beeswax in a double boiler, combined it with the oil in pyrex measuring cups, and then re-warmed it just enough to melt them completely in the microwave. Each participant added their own choice of essential oils, poured it into lip balm tubes, and they were ready to go!
|Class participant and fellow Etsy Team Columbus member|
Kellie Gedert and her daughter Cassie work on filling their lip balm tubes.
|Carefully pouring hot beeswax in to oils|
|Half the class worked on creating infused honey |
while the other half worked on their lip balm.
To create the infused honey, we used a variety of fresh and dried herbs, chopped them to bits, combined with any dried spices they desired, and mixed it with honey. I instructed them to stir the mixture several times over the next few weeks, strain out the herbs, and enjoy! They simply need to steep until the desired flavor is achieved. Herbs and spices we worked with included: Dried Lavender, Dried Lemon Verbena, Fresh Thyme, Fresh Rosemary, Fresh Sage, Spearmint, Cinnamon, Dried Ginger, Cloves, and Nutmeg.
|My own honey infusion, with thyme, rosemary, and sage. |
I like to use a mixture like this in homemade pizza dough
or as a glaze for chicken or ham.
I also showed the group our Refractometer which measures the moisture level of honey. It is important when making your own infused honey not to add ingredients that have too much moisture (fresh fruit for example). When the moisture content of honey goes over 18.5% it can actually ferment. Storing this type of honey blend in the refrigerator is fine, but it will not be shelf stable like traditional honey.
A refractometer used to determine
the moisture content of honey
To use the refractometer we drip a bit of honey on the top part underneath the glass. The bottom part operates similar to a microscope, except you look through the refractometer towards the light, and it shows the moisture content (or the index of refraction... to be scientific).
You don't need a refractometer to make infused honey at home, just be aware that adding too much moisture can cause fermentation of the honey. Choose your herbs and infusions wisely! Isaac and I used to make huckleberry honey when we lived in Montana and although it was delicious, it definitely needed to be stored in the refrigerator.
You can catch us at both the North Market and the Worthington Farmer's Market this weekend. I plan to bring an abundance of fresh rosemary that is growing in our hoop house, so if you'd like to try making your own rosemary infused honey, here is your chance!