We’ve finally gathered all of our ingredients and supplies, including some really outstanding honey from Queen Califia, circa 2009, and we’re ready to get down to business. So how do you make creamed honey?
Ingredients and supplies: liquid honey, crystallized honey, lemon, blueberry paste, vanilla and a refractometer. Plus spoons for tasting.We followed the Dyce Method, which in our case (because we don’t pasteurize our honey) only required one step: mix your crystallized starter honey into liquid honey at a 1:10 ratio. You can use more starter than that without ruining anything, but don’t use too little or your honey could come out coarse and gritty. We used a ratio of 1:9, because we started with 3 cups of liquid honey and using ⅓ of a cup of crystallized honey was just easier. Any old electric mixer will do the trick. Just make sure the starter is mixed evenly throughout.
If you’re satisfied with plain creamed honey, you could stop here. But why stop here when you can add flavors? We ultimately decided on three batches: lemon juice, dried blueberries, and vanilla bean. I searched high and low for suggested quantities of flavor ingredients to add to our creamed honey, but all the message boards I found told me to experiment and taste test along the way, which is fine by me. You do have to be mindful of moisture content though.
I ran the blueberries through a food processor, and made a very thick blueberry paste with a moisture content of 15%. Because Califia's honey had a moisture content of 15% we didn’t need to worry about fermentation with this batch. I only had 3 heaping teaspoons of blueberry paste, so that’s what we added. For the lemon batch, we mixed in 4 teaspoons of lemon juice and ½ a teaspoon of lemon zest, bringing the moisture content to 18.4%. It could have used more lemon flavor, but we had to stop before reaching 19%. For the vanilla batch we added vanilla seeds from 1 ½ beans. In my humble opinion, vanilla is going to be the real winner.
Jarring our blueberry creamed honeyA side note on honey selection. We were so proud to use our Califia honey for this project. It has a very distinct flavor that just sings of ripe summer fruit, however, the flavor is so strong that our flavor ingredients had a hard time measuring up. The Beekind honey that inspired this project really showcased the raspberries that were used in their creamed honey. At least right now, ours is more like creamed honey with a tiny hint of blueberry. Hopefully, as the honey rests, the flavors will diffuse a little more. We’ll just have to wait and see. Next time though, we’ll probably use a more mild spring honey.
Once you’ve finished mixing your honey, with or without flavors, you need to immediately jar or bottle before the crystallization process starts. After jarring, turn the jars upside down for a couple hours, to remove any air bubbles that might have gotten mixed in in the process. All the bubbles will rise to the top (or the bottom in this case), and then you flip the jar over. The air rises to the top in a single bubble, and the surface of your creamed honey will be nice and smooth. Store the jars in a cool room (about 55 degrees) undisturbed for a week, or until the honey has solidified. When you can pick a jar up and the honey stays put, it’s ready to eat.