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Thread: Homemade clover / fireweed honey

  1. #1
    Member trochilids's Avatar
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    Default Homemade clover / fireweed honey

    I tried to make the "Homestead Honey" out of clover and fireweed blossoms and sugar tonight, and I'm afraid it flopped. I followed the directions precisely as indicated here:

    http://alaskaoutdoorjournal.com/Depa...ams/honey.html

    Except that I omitted the alum. I've read several reports (including an old Garden Web forum on this very topic of Homestead Honey with alum) and the consensus was that you could omit it, which I did...

    Problem is that the "honey" looks great while boiling but it crystalized rapidly upon cooling and even after a water bath looks like a pale cloudy mass of sugar gunk in the 1/2 pint jars with a thin layer of liquid "honey" on top.

    Has anyone tried these "Homestead Honey" recipes with any success? If so, can you offer pointers for making it correctly, especially avoiding the crystalization problems I encountered? It smelled like honey for a bit, but tastes largely like sugar granules in a thick syrup...

    Thanks!!

    Cheers,
    Palmer, Alaska
    "There are some things money can buy. For everything else, there's ALASKA!"

  2. #2
    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
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    The only thing I can suggest is to try again using a candy thermometer. Boil the mixture until it reaches the syrup stage/temperature or even just a bit above rather than the timing method. I have had mock-maple brown sugar syrup do that if we didn't eat it all up that same day when I didn't boil it enough. Now I always use the thermometer.

    Looks like a nice recipe if you could get it to keep from doing the crystal deal. Still would probably be good in tea and and such...

    Grandma Lori
    If God had intended us to follow recipes,
    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

  3. #3
    Member trochilids's Avatar
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    Great advice, Grandma Lori. I'm new to the "syrup thing" and have done some more research on it (Google's great!) since my question. The syrup stage sounds like one key method of determining if a syrup is done. I invested in a candy thermometer (cheap) for that purpose in the future.

    I also noticed that crystallization can be caused by (among a host of other things)...

    1) stirring the syrup while it's boiling (VERY guilty), or
    2) boiling the syrup before the sugar is all dissolved (guilty again), or
    3) omitting an "interferring agent" (yep).

    A great explanation on crystallization of syrups can be found here:

    http://www.baking911.com/candy/101_c...he%20variables

    Anyway, just for kicks and giggles this evening I opened the jars of dry sugar "rock" that had contained my "wannabe (wanna bee?) honey" and scraped it into a large pot again. I had to microwave the jars for a bit in order to soften up the crystals enough to scrape most of them into the pot. I then added a little water (perhaps a half-pint total) brought it to a low simmer extremely slowly.

    I then added about a teaspoon and a half of lemon juice and a dash of cream of tarter. See the link above for why... I wonder (but don't know for certain) if THIS is what the "alum" was for in the original recipe -- the ingredient I omitted.

    After the junk all melted down again (into a beautiful golden color), I slowly boiled it (without stirring) for about 10 minutes. I then let it cool on its own -- and THIS time it didn't immediately glob up! It was a tad runnier than my original batch from the recipe (I added more water to this, remember), but it looked, smelled, and (more importantly) tasted like honey!

    So I carefully ladled it into clean 1/2 pint jars, applied lids, and hot-water-bathed them for 10 minutes.

    So far (about 2 hours later) -- it's still a beautiful liquid!
    We'll see how long that remains!

    I'm surprised so few folks seem to have tried this. It's actually pretty fun (when it works).

    Cheers!
    Palmer, Alaska
    "There are some things money can buy. For everything else, there's ALASKA!"

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