Plans for Vintage Honey
April 10, 2015 11:05 AM   Subscribe

While cleaning out my parents house for their upcoming move, I discovered and inherited seven large jars of honey that have been lurking in the basement for 20-30 years. What are some interesting things I can do with what appears to be 5-6 liters of honey?

The honey hasn't crystallized, altho the jars generally have an inch or so of settled sediment at the bottom. The jars were very well sealed and kept out of sunlight for as long as anyone can tell. The honey itself is very dark, perhaps a few shades lighter than molasses, but clear and smooth in texture. The taste is like a mildly bitter buckwheat honey - not unpalatable, but definitely sharper than honeys I've tried before.

My dad apparently got it with plans to make mead several decades ago, and that's definitely a possibility still. What are some other interesting things I could do with this unexpected windfall of deliciousness?
posted by FatherDagon to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah, mead! Honey literally lasts forever, so you are good to go.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:19 AM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

I mean, I'd just use it like normal honey and pass what I didn't eat down to future generations, but I'm a weirdo.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:22 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

My mom has bees so I frequently have an abundance of honey. I mostly use it for regular cooking, but my husband sometimes uses it to make barbecue sauce.

When I'm feeling fancy, I use Mom's honey to make jam. The darker, the better.

Strawberries are coming in and this recipe for Strawberry Honey Jam is one of the best I've ever had. Her Honey Lemon Apple Jam is also the end-all be-all.

For day to day cooking, some honey, soy sauce, lime juice, and siracha makes a wicked good marinade for salmon. Cooking carrots in orange juice and then finishing them in honey is also a go-to in my house.
posted by teleri025 at 11:31 AM on April 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

...altho the jars generally have an inch or so of settled sediment at the bottom.

I wonder if there used to be a comb in the jars?
Do you have siblings? If so, maybe you could re-bottle the honey into smaller containers, put a "Dad's Ol' Honey" labels on them and give as gifts?

Other than that...Use as you would any other honey. Honey-Butter is especially yummy on anything.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:10 PM on April 10, 2015

Homemade honey ice cream!
posted by amaire at 12:18 PM on April 10, 2015

Definitely planning on checking various recipes like that jam upthread, making honey candy or something similar.. are there any more unusual options available to me based on the sheer volume of material I have to work with? Lots of recipes request 1/4 cup here or a full cup there... any projects that require a full gallon of honey?
posted by FatherDagon at 12:24 PM on April 10, 2015

Honey cake! Not a full gallon, but plenty - and I add a honey glaze on top.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 12:37 PM on April 10, 2015

Honey is kind of expensive (it's very labor-intensive!), and the good stuff is seriously flavorful. A little really does go a long way, which is probably while most recipes don't use more than 1 cup of the stuff. That said, mead's probably your best bet for using a lot of honey in one go. (Also, scale the recipe down accordingly if you don't want 5 gallons of the stuff.)

Not sure if this is what you're going for, but this honey-brined, smoked turkey uses a pound of honey in one go. Of course, then you've got a huge turkey to contend with...

Easter's just passed, but honey-glazed ham is usually a good crowd-pleaser.

This Salty Honey Pie only uses 3/4 of a cup, but it's been on my "to-make" list for a while.

If I had such a honey abundance in my life, I'd make a honey pie, cake, cookies, etc. Then I'd just use it in lieu of sugar on everything. Honey-drizzed fruit, honey in my tea, honey on my yogurt, on my waffles, drizzled on good bread with butter, etc.
posted by PearlRose at 12:48 PM on April 10, 2015

In addition to mead, don't neglect cyser, which is mead made with honey+apple juice instead of honey+water.
posted by fings at 12:51 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Go to a grocery store, buy some pint canning jars. Wash them, put the jars on a baking pan in the oven, for 15 minutes, and barely boil the lids and bands in a aeparate pan. Strain the honey off into the pint jars, and give some out to sibs for the heck of it. Barely warm the honey so it will separate from the sediment, but not melt comb.
posted by Oyéah at 12:53 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Not quite enough to make yourself a Mellified Man.
If you want to do something kinda gross, you could try for Mellified Mouse (catch and kill a mouse and inter it in honey to see if it's true that honey prevents decay).
posted by bad grammar at 12:55 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you like the idea of mead, but are unable to do the brewing, see if you can find a brewer that will go halfsies on the project with you. Check a local home brew supply store to see if you can put up a listing. I suggest a 50/50 split on the product, but you could negotiate. You should decide if you want a dry mead or a sweet one, and if you want it to be carbonated or still. The resulting mead may take a year to mature, and will last for a decade or more.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:00 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Krupnik! It's an Eastern European honey liqueur. It is VERY STRONG. The Hairpin has a good recipe.
posted by ostro at 1:29 PM on April 10, 2015

Double plus hell yeah on the krupnik!
The Hairpin does have a good recipe.
posted by Seamus at 1:35 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would follow Oyéah's suggestion of portioning it into smaller jars to give away.

I love doing honey facial masks. If you know anyone who is into DIY beauty treatments, they'd probably love some gifted honey for that purpose, since, as noted, honey is expensive.
posted by padraigin at 9:01 PM on April 10, 2015

How about Taiglach - a Eastern European cookie boiled in honey. This recipe uses 2 cups of honey to make 30 cookies. By the way, the cookies keep for a long time and make a good gift (in a jar with the syrup).
posted by metahawk at 9:29 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

oh, creamed honey is to die for.....I've made it twice with advice from the honey lady at my farmers market. It worked well both times but the first batch separated into three layers---apparently the three different sugar types in honey, but delicious just the same. The second time I used a starter from a batch from my honey lady's creamed honey and there was some but a lot less separation. Honestly it is one of the most delicious things I've ever had. The trick is to get it to the right hot temperature and then immediately into jars into a cool temp. I made mine without a candy thermometer but using one would probably be better. There are a ton of recipes on the web and I see that some just suggest mixing your starter with the liquid honey and put in the fridge. I might try that but didnt based on what the honey lady told me. I used the heat method. but trust me, this stuff is amazing and if I had the stash of honey you have I would be making thia for all my friends and family. It's delectable!
posted by bluesky43 at 8:37 AM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

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