Habanero-Infused Honey Recipe
A marriage of sweet, sticky honey and the delicious burn of hot peppers has become the latest in trendy condiments. Declared the “it” topping for everything from pizza to ice cream, we were intrigued and immediately hit the kitchen. The verdict? While it won’t be replacing the hot fudge on my sundae, the syrupy-sweet heat of hot pepper honey is transformational on ribs, chicken, biscuits or grilled cheese and cheeses, vegetables and charcuterie all pair well with the sweet heat of this habanero honey.
When infusing spirits, herbs, fruits and vegetables can be added to alcohol and left on a sunny windowsill to absorb the flavors. The slow-infusion strategy will also work with honey when using dried herbs or peppers, but trapping the moisture found in fresh peppers in honey left us concerned that bacteria would develop. Instead, a stove top "quick-infusion" will draw out the flavor in just a few minutes under heated conditions. Not only is this infusion alternative safer, your habanero honey will be ready to use by dinnertime.
Heating to 180 degrees as we do for this infusion destroys some enzymes that are associated with the health benefits of honey. Many honey distributors routinely heat commercial honey to higher temperatures to dissolve the small crystals found in raw honey. The flavor won’t be compromised, but some of the nutritional value of raw honey will be lost by heating.
The heat will vary depending on your peppers, so tread lightly. An early effort using too many peppers quickly cleared my sinuses and left me scrambling for a glass of milk. Heat lovers may wish to increase the number of peppers used, but 3-4 peppers for two cups of infused honey is a nice place to start with this “hot” condiment.
- 2 cups honey
- 3-4 habanero peppers, chopped
Place honey in a double boiler or a bowl nested in a pot of water over medium-low heat.
Heat honey to 180 degrees and maintain temperature.
Add chopped habanero and steep for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from heat and strain honey into a sterilized jar with a fine sieve or cheesecloth.
Cool to room temperature and cap jar with an airtight lid to store.