The Birds & The Bees (Humpday Giveaway, Part 1)
It’s official, spring has sprung! On this first day of the season, there is no doubt that the time of flowers and growth and abundance is upon us. I don’t know where you live, but here, the daffodils have already peaked, the tulips are emerging from their slumber party in the soil, and the apple trees are shamelessly showing off their pink finery. Spring. Is. Here.
This fecund green season is the time of projects for many of us. It’s also the time many newbie beekeepers and chicken-tenderers dip their toes into the age-old waters of animal husbandry. In recognition of that, and of all of this new life in the soil, on the ground, in the air and, well, pretty much everywhere, I’m giving away copies of two books in my Homemade Living series to one small measure reader, Keeping Bees today and, in a few weeks, Keeping Chickens.
In addition to the book itself, I want to sweeten the pot (literally) and include a jar of lavender infused honey for the winner of Keeping Bees. One of my most beloved herbs, the lavender used to infuse the honey I’ll be giving away was grown just steps outside our front door, and then harvested and dried at the end of this last growing season. Infused honeys are incredibly easy to create and are fantastic go-to gifts for birthdays, housewarmings, or anytime a little special sumpin’ sumpin’ is in order. If you’d like to make an infusion of your own, here’s how:
Infused Honey (from Keeping Bees: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More, Ashley English, Lark Books, 2011)
Yield: 8 ounces (1 cup).
You will need:
-1 cup honey
-Herb or spice infusing agent of choice
*Herbal infusing options include: basil, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, peppermint, rosemary, rose petals, sage, spearmint, tarragon, and thyme.
Spice infusing options include: allspice berries, anise seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, citrus peel, whole cloves, gingerroot slices, star anise, and vanilla bean pod.
1. Sterilize either two 4-ounce or one 8-ounce jar(s) by submerging into boiling water for about 30-40 seconds. Using a cloth, dry completely, leaving no traces of water whatsoever.
2. Place infusing agent of choice into the jar(s). If using fresh herbs, use 1-2 sprigs; if using spices, use 1-2 teaspoons, depending on intensity of flavor desired.
3. Put honey into a stainless-steel pot. Warm over medium-low heat until it moves easily in the pot, appearing completely “runny.” Don’t allow the honey to boil, only to be fully warmed.
4. With the aid of a funnel, pour honey into each jar, completely covering the infusing agent.
5. Allow jar(s) to cool at room temperature. Once fully cooled, place a lid or cork (depending on bottle being used) over the jar’s opening.
6. Store in a cool, dark area, such as a pantry or basement. Allow to infuse for at least one week before use, two weeks if at all possible.
7. Use within one year.
*If you’d prefer, you may also strain off the jar’s contents, composting the solids, after the one-two week infusing period.
To enter the contest, simply leave a comment below, stating why you’d like to keep bees. Canadians, feel free to enter, but know that, should a Canuck be the winner, we’ll have to (sadly) forgo the honey, as international shipping of food items gets dicey. I’ll run the giveaway until next Wednesday, March 28th, ending at midnight EST.
The birds and the bees are doing their thing! Now, do yours!
UPDATE: The winner of my “Keeping Bees” book and infused honey is Heather of Whatcha Buildin?”! Thank you so much to everyone that entered!!!