I’ve always loved honey–even as a child–especially comb (also known as cut-comb) honey. Now that I have bees I have my own honey–but it is wildflower honey. It’s a mix of whatever is currently providing nectar for the ladies to tote back to the hive and process into honey.
Varietal honeys have flavors that can be quite distinctive. (Note that I’m not referring to “infused honey” which has had flavors added–e.g. chilli pepper, which sounds delightful to me, but rather honey which is made exclusively (or almost) from a single flower.) My honey shelf includes varietals such as leatherwood, tupelo, orange blossom, thyme, lavender, eucalyptus, buckwheat, sourwood–and what was purported to be kudzu honey. I think the Hawaiian white is all gone. Always on the lookout for good varietals. It’s a real treat to have these on biscuits or warm, homemade bread, or used in a sorbet, sherbert, or granita where the individual flavors really stand out–or just on morning oatmeal.
These thoughts on varietal honeys sprang from update from Honey Bee Suite answering the question of whether or not bees made honey from poison ivy/poison oak. Turns out that they do–and the blog post included a link to a source of some really interesting varietals from the Pacific Northwest varietals. I think I really have to have some poison oak honey–especially as I share the experience of having that same kind of reaction to exposure to poison ivy, although mine didn’t involve any horses. Just a lot of poison ivy.
The post on poison ivy/oak honey had a link to a site that has an interesting array of varietal honeys from Old Blue Raw Honey as single season, samplers, and the year-long honey subscription–a serious gift for a honey lover!
To have a varietal honey there has to be enough of the blossoms to let the honey bees do their “monofloral” thing. Even wildflower flavors will vary from season to season as the flora shifts; fall will bring goldenrod and aster nectar for honey. One of the intriguing things about honey in the comb is that you get to variable flavor even within “wildflower” honey.
I just have to pass along this post from Stefan’s Gourmet Blog. I love figs, love ice cream, and this is easy. I’ll be anticipating the fig season next year, though we have brown Turkey figs here, rather than the deep purple ones.
Fresh figs have to be imported and because they are quite perishable they are not often of a great quality, but sometimes some nice figs are available in the Netherlands. A nice way to use them is to make ice cream. I’ve used a recipe from SeriousEats that uses lemon zest and lemon juice to enhance the flavor, and it was very nice indeed. The recipe is quite easy as nog eggs are involved. Here’s what I did…
Makes about 750 ml (3 cups)
900 grams (2 lbs) fresh figs, plus additional figs for garnish (optional)
1 untreated lemon
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
Wash and dry the figs and remove the tough stem.
Chop the figs.
Put the figs in a saucepan with 125 ml (1/2 cup) of water.
Even though it’s colder than some parts of a witches anatomy (for here, at least), I have to pass on the link to Ice Cream Magazine. Although I doubt I’m going to be digging out the ice cream maker for a while this looks like a fun website to explore this summer–since ice cream is one of my favorite sweet things. There are some savory tarts and things like that, too.
Since blueberries are in the market–as well as blackberries, I’m getting ready to try blackberry ice cream (an adaptation of the strawberry/sour cream ice cream that I made at the peak of strawberry season)–there will be a follow-up report on that.
Meanwhile, I thought that this recipe for blueberry sour cream ice cream might be appreciated. It looks sumptuous–and seems close to the strawberry sour cream recipe that I used so it’s easy since there’s no custard to make. In this hot weather, easy and cool are both much appreciated!
This was scheduled for a later post, but the HOT weather and the impending end of strawberry season dictates it should be shared now. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did–and will be for a bit yet.
I’ve just realized that strawberry season may be coming to an end and I’ve not yet make strawberry ice cream–so that has become the project of the day. I brought a huge basked of strawberries home from the farmers’ market with me. Ate a bunch, and now it’s ice cream time. In the past I’ve not really make a lot of ice cream, but I received a wonderful book of recipes for my birthday: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz and I’m finding lots of things that I want to try out. (This is a Philadelphia style ice cream–a particular favorite of my as it does not have me making custard, so it’s really fast and easy to put together).
Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream (Adapted from “The Perfect Scoop” p. 90)
450 grams fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced.
150 grams sugar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) vodka or kirsch
240 grams sour cream
250 mL heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Slice the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka. Let stand at room temperature for one hour, stirring occasionally so that the sugar dissolves.
Pulse the berries and liquid with the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice in a food processor/blender until almost smooth, but still slightly chunky.
Refrigerate for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
How simple is that. The hard part is waiting until it’s frozen. The strawberry aroma is intense if you start this with good ripe strawberries…I’d never really though about smelling ice cream before–but while I was peeking into the ice cream maker I realized that I WAS smelling strawberries–and that made the waiting even more difficult.
It took about 25 minutes for the ice cream to be really thick and showing indentations where the blades had gone through. It expanded to reach the top of the canister, so I stopped at that point.
The recipe suggested having a dip while it was still at that creamy stage–for harder, put it into the freezer in air-tight plastic containers. I did have an immediate sample but some did get put into the freezer for later–in single-serving portions.
This may be the most intense strawberry ice cream that I’ve ever eaten. I’m sure that part of the credit goes to starting with really good, ripe strawberries–not supermarket berries. These were from the farmers’ market.
Now that blueberries, blackberries and peaches are on the way, I’m sure that the canister for the ice cream maker will absolutely have to live in the freezer. (Makes me glad that I have a small chest-type freezer on the back porch). I also have to say hearty thanks to the friend who gave me the Perfect Scoop for a birthday present!