What to do with bad tasting honey
October 24, 2008 4:46 PM   Subscribe

I bought 5kg of very cheap honey at a market. Unfortunately it tastes off - it has a strong smokey flavour which makes it unpleasent to eat. I'm wondering what useful stuff I could do with it instead of eating it? Also, is that smokey flavour likely to be harmful? (I'm In Australia where bushfires are common, so that might explain the smokey flavour).
posted by singingfish to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:48 PM on October 24, 2008

is the flavour still strong enough to be unpleasant when added to food? e.g. in tea, oatmeal, etc.

i'm not sure if you're asking for ways to use honey without consuming it, or alternative ways to consume honey besides eating it straight.
posted by Xianny at 4:52 PM on October 24, 2008

The very first thing that I thought of was a BBQ sauce....nice smoke flavor provided by honey which is a sweetner to tomatoe sauce. Take a look at a BBQ sauce that requires honey and use your honey...might be very good....good luck.
posted by malter51 at 4:57 PM on October 24, 2008

That's probably why it was very cheap. I'd say use it as a marinade for grilling, or you could use it for jerky!
posted by dunkadunc at 4:58 PM on October 24, 2008

You could try baking bread with it. Honey whole-wheat is pretty common, and might actually benefit from the smoky flavor. I might also try a pumpernickel or dark rye style bread where a deeper dark flavor is desireable.

You can also, apparently, make face masks out of it, if you're writing off eating it entirely.
posted by fuzzbean at 4:59 PM on October 24, 2008

oh, i pressed post too soon. you can also use honey as a lip balm or face wash - or if you don't feel comfortable putting your dubiously smokey honey on your face, use it as a hair conditioner or add it to bath water.
posted by Xianny at 5:08 PM on October 24, 2008

Is it an unpleasant smokey flavor, or is it only unpleasant because you're afraid it might be harmful? I can't think of any reason off the top of my head why the smokiness would be at all harmful, unless the smoke was from old oil drums or something. Brushfires, no problem. Personally, I would enjoy it as is, but you have lots of good suggestions for alternative uses.
posted by bricoleur at 5:17 PM on October 24, 2008

Damned straight: use it for BBQ.
posted by Class Goat at 5:42 PM on October 24, 2008

Pour into sterilised jars and market as Singing Fish's Smokey BBQ Honey Glaze.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:01 PM on October 24, 2008 [5 favorites]

Might be good in salad dressing or glaze for fish, especially salmon, in combination with soy.
posted by Miko at 6:35 PM on October 24, 2008

I would dearly love to try a mead made out of this smokey honey. Go on, it's easy, just a five-gallon bucket, a fermentation lock, and a packet of yeast! In your situation, I would most certainly try making mead out of it. In the worst case scenario, it still tastes gross, but you get tipsy.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:38 PM on October 24, 2008

Nthing BBQ sauces/glazes.
posted by rokusan at 12:44 AM on October 25, 2008

Mead tends to amplify the flavour of the honey base - if it tastes bad as honey, it's going to taste bad as mead. Use it for something else.
posted by zamboni at 9:24 AM on October 25, 2008

I find the smokiness that you are mentioning quite flavorful and usually indicative of honey made from pollens other than citrus, tupelo, or clover (here in the United States). My great uncle, who has raised bees or tutored others apiarists for 60 years, used to cultivate the best goldenrod honey, which generally smelled a little "off," and was "smokey" but just awesome for cereals (not so much for tea). Even farther down the chain is buckwheat honey, which is not for everyone raw, but superior in granolas or dark/bitter hot drinks. As an agricultural product, honey is antiseptic so there is almost no chance that it has actually spoiled. It could be adulterated somehow, but I think it's more likely that the bees were just into something a little darker than what you are used to tasting in store bought honey.
posted by mrmojoflying at 10:05 AM on October 25, 2008

I know that problem, and have actually found a way to put strange-tasting honey to good use without ingesting it:
Take a big scoop of honey (about 150gr.) and some milk (1 liter), put it in a bathtub filled with hot water, soak for 10 minutes, rinse - voilĂ ! Delicious smell, very smooth skin! (Not suitable for babies, though). Pure honey can also be used as a facial mask which cleans clogged pores and soothes sensitive skin.
posted by The Toad at 11:14 AM on October 25, 2008

Wish I could taste it.

The only honey I could find whose description included 'smoky' is mesquite honey:

The mesquite tree is prized for its sweet-smoky smelling wood, primarily used in barbecues and meat smokers. The honey produced from its flowers also has this distinctive smoky aroma. ...

[The honey is] Dark brown and viscous. Remains semicrystalline even in hot weather.

Mesquite is considered a serious invasive weed in Australia.
posted by jamjam at 2:08 PM on October 25, 2008

Honey, as mentioned by others, can be used for various beauty products. Here's a site with a few recipes for face masks and toners, lotion, and shampoo.
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:13 PM on October 25, 2008

If nothing else, you can put it outside and let the honeybees "recycle" it. We had bees when I was a kid; when we robbed the hives we put the full honey combs on big metal trays. After we'd bottled it, we'd just put the pans out by the hives and in a few days the bees had them as clean as if washed.
posted by Justus at 1:52 AM on October 26, 2008

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