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Foods -- Sweeteners

Is herb-infused honey safe to prepare at home?

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Yes it is. The reason it is safe is because C. botulinum cannot grow and produce toxin in an acid food (pH less than or equal to 4.6) or in a food having a water activity of at least 0.92. The pH value of most honey is well below 4.6. The typical pH value is 3.9 but the range has been cited between 3.4 and 6.1. Even if the honey has a higher pH, the low water activity (typically 0.5 and 0.6, far lower than the required 0.92) prevents the outgrowth of C. botulinum spores.

To prepare herb-infused honey at home, one can use the following instructions. Put two or three sprigs of clean, dry herbs into two cups honey. Lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage are all commonly used. Allow the herbs to steep for at least five days for maximum intensity before using. Remove the herbs from the honey and discard. For best quality, keep the jar tightly covered and stored in a cool, dry area.

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