July: National Ice Cream Month! Homemade Honey-Lavender Ice Cream Recipe :)

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

I remember hot, humid summers spent in Arkansas and this delicious cold treat seemed heaven sent! Although, for those of us that are children of the 1970’s, as I am, you may still remember ice milk, my grandparents always bought ice milk instead of ice cream and I have the fondest memories of making Shasta grape soda ice milk floats with my beloved papa.

An ice cream lover, I have always enjoyed making homemade ice cream using my ice cream maker, cotton candy and bubble gum ice cream are fun flavors to make anytime, but especially when I’m feeling my inner child wanting to come out. 🙂 As an adult, my tastes lean more toward Green Tea ice cream or more exotic flavors like Honey Lavender ice cream. I first decided to try making homemade Honey-Lavender Ice Cream in early 2012 after watching the film It’s Complicated with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin and the characters discuss the deliciousness of the honey lavender ice cream Streep’s character, a restaurant owner, had made, the old fashioned way, without an ice cream maker, just using her freezer. It’s an exotic flavor, that is now a favorite of mine. You may find via making a few batches of the ice cream yourself, how you prefer yours to taste. The better-quality of honey you use the better it tastes, you may decide you like more or less of a lavender taste, and if steeping the lavender (or making your own lavender honey; recipe at bottom) less or more steep time with the lavender would make it less or more intensely flowery tasting. Currently, I’m in-between ice cream makers, due to moves and mine just getting old and worn out. So, I’m always pleasantly surprised to discover ice cream recipes that only require having a freezer. Below, I’m including a recipe for homemade honey-lavender ice cream, which doesn’t require an ice cream maker. I’ve placed an ice cream maker on my birthday and Christmas wish list for this year…if neither the birthday gift fairy or Santa sees my wish list, I’ll eventually purchase one again, but until I have a new one, I’ll continue to be on the look-out for delicious ice cream recipes that only require just using the freezer in my frig.

A super easy homemade lavender-honey ice cream recipe!

Lavender Honey Ice Cream Recipe

1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1/2 cup of Whole Milk

3 jumbo Egg Yolks

3 tablespoons Sugar

1 cup of Lavender Honey

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Spring of fresh lavender for garnish

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until they are a creamy color. In a separate pan, combine cream, milk and yolks, bring it almost to a boil, but do NOT boil it. Pour a small amount of the cream mixture into the egg mixture while whisking. Add the egg mixture back into the cream mixture and stir. Continue stirring until thickened, but remember do NOT boil the mixture! Remove from the heat and stir in the lavender honey and continue stirring until honey is completely dissolved and let it cool.

At this point, if you are using an ice cream maker, you just pour it into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. If you are currently like me, without an ice cream maker, you can easily make it the old-fashioned way. All you need is just a wee bit of patience. Pour your custard mixture into a freezer-proof container and freeze for about half an hour. After half an hour, stir and return to the freezer. Continue the process every half hour until frozen. It usually takes 2-3 hours, but will take longer in very hot climates, in which case, you can lower your freezer’s temperature by one notch for faster freezing while you are making the ice cream.

***A tip when making any ice cream recipes the old fashioned way [without an ice cream maker] is to always chill it for an hour or two in your refrigerator before putting it in the freezer. A cooler mixture will always freeze much more quickly.

I prefer to use fresh lavender buds (crushed) from my garden or dried culinary lavender in my recipe, but then a few extra steps are required as pouring the cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and then discarding the lavender, and this recipe is meant to be a super easy version so I’ve kept the fresh lavender in the recipe here just as a garnish before serving. You may purchase lavender honey online using this link: http://tinyurl.com/patuuh5 This link provides you several different choices of brands and sizes of lavender-honey you may choose from.

If you are bit more adventurous, I’ve provided recipes below for making lavender-infused honey (the natural way, which takes a week to infuse lavender into the honey, but well worth the wait!) 🙂 Or if you have a double boiler, you will find a quicker recipe using one at the bottom. Some have had luck with using a very large pan instead of a double boiler, but I have only made my lavender honey the natural way by week-long infusion.

Please do let me know if you decide to make your own lavender honey and which way you choose and how it turned out?  And I’ve love to hear what you think of this wonderfully exotic honey-lavender flavored ice cream; is it a new favorite of yours too?

If you’re in the mood for a bit more work and you’d like your homemade honey-lavender ice cream to have a pretty purple hue but are not a big fan of artificial food coloring and dyes, please follow this link on how to make safe food coloring alternatives. http://www.justaddgoodstuff.com/safe-food-coloring-alternatives.

How to make lavender infused honey

You may use raw honey for this recipe, but it’s not required, remember you will be using it to make the honey lavender ice cream, so choose the type (raw or processed) you wish to use and consider texture and taste. I’m more natural minded and prefer this method of making lavender infused honey to using a double boiler for the honey retains more of it’s health benefits if not heated as one would using a double boiler. I have also included a lavender honey recipe using a double boiler, I have not used it, but people seem to be happy with it. I prefer the slower, closer to nature way personally, but that is just my own preference. So, to make this lavender infused honey it’s not labor intensive but it is well worth the time of waiting one week to be able to use it to make honey lavender ice cream. The lavender must stay a minimum of one week in the honey to infuse the lavender taste.

Buy a honey that is lighter-milder in taste. Clover or Wild Clover are good options.

Ingredients:

2 empty sterilized jars: one to give away as a gift and one to keep for yourself

2 cups of  honey (1 cup for each jar) 

2 bunches of lavender flower sprigs (about 14 sprigs) or 4 tablespoons of lavender flowers (If you do not have your own herb garden, you may order culinary/food grade lavender by following this link: http://tinyurl.com/ku26fub ).

Note: you need to use organic, culinary lavender or what is also called food grade lavender. Do not buy lavender that isn’t used in food. The link above will give you several different choices of culinary lavender to choose from.

Optional: cheese cloth if using lavender flowers or dried lavender you must filter lavender out of honey at the end of infusion

Steps to Make Lavender Infused Honey

1. Find a source of lavender. Your own backyard garden or purchase online.

2. Cut lavender into 2 bunches, about 6 springs per bunch if picking from your own garden. If using culinary lavender flowers, use 2 tablespoons (or more, depending on how strong of a flowery taste you desire) per jar

3. Put lavender into 2 clean sterilized jars

4. Cover lavender with honey (if using raw honey it will be a bit thicker)

5. Let lavender infuse in honey for at least one week. (I like to put my honey in a kitchen window to use the heat from the sun to assist in the infusion process, but only do this in off-summer seasons of the year, when the sun is not at it’s hottest, unless you have a window somewhat shaded or it doesn’t get direct sunlight at the hottest times of the day. Depending on where you live, the weather temperature may be too hot to do this.) Once a day turn jar over and back again to mix lavender into honey.

6.  After a week, open honey and take out gently, the sprigs of lavender or if using lavender flowers or dried lavender, you will need to filter these out by warming the honey jars in a bowl and filter with a cheesecloth.

7.  Bottle up the jars.

8.  If giving one as a gift, label and decorate the jar as desired and keep the other jar for making the honey-lavender ice cream. Lavender honey doesn’t need refrigeration. It will last up to a year in your cupboard.

Lavender Honey Recipe (using double boiler)

This recipe is courtesy of The Herb Grower Blog.

  • 8 ounces clover honey (you can use other varieties, but keep the honey light and neutral)
  • 3 tablespoons dried lavender buds

Tools

  • Double boiler
  • 2 lengths of cheesecloth (about 6″ x 9″ each)
  • Twine
  • Funnel
  • Glass jar with a lid
  • Decorative gift giving jars

Directions for Lavender Honey

Measure the lavender into two lengths of folded cheesecloth (fold each piece in half) and tie with twine. (You can add the lavender directly to the honey, but this method is less messy and almost as effective. If any bits get out — some do — you can strain them through more cheese cloth after you’ve finished the infusion.)

Place the honey in a double boiler and add the lavender packets.

Tie the twine ends to the handle of the pan to make it easier to remove the lavender later. (Keep the twine away from your heat source).

Heat the mixture for 40 minutes on a low to medium flame (The water in the double boiler should be at a light simmer, not a rolling boil).

Stir every few minutes.

Cool.

Remove the lavender, and pour the honey into a decorative jar (or jars). You may need a funnel for this.

If there are lots of suspended lavender bits, strain them through three lengths of cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer.

For extra flavor, retain one lavender bag with the mixture, place the batch in a glass jar, cap it and place it in a sunny window for a couple of days. The more time you cook or season the honey with the lavender in place, the stronger the flavor will be. If you’ll be using the flavored honey mostly in cooking, stronger is better. As a sweetener or condiment, the minimum cooking time and no extra curing usually works best.

Lavender honey doesn’t need refrigeration. It will last up to a year in your cupboard.

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