how to make fresh gardenia flower infused honey in a mason jar

How to Make Fresh Gardenia Flower Infused Honey

Did you know those gardenias bursting so brilliantly into bloom in your garden are edible!? Learn how to make a fresh flower infused honey from the most fragrant blooms in your garden. This is an easy and super delicious honey to help keep the delightful aroma of gardenias around just a little longer. Drizzle it, spoon it, bake with it, or treat yourself to a gardenia honey facial!

And if you don’t have gardenias, you can just as easily use roses, violets, calendula, or any other edible, fragrant flower! Your favorite local honey is a quick fresh flower infusion away from being the herbal honey of your flower lovin’ dreams!

HERE YOU’LL FIND:
Gardenias Are Edible?!
The Health Benefits of Gardenia
Try These Other Herbal Honeys Too!
How to Make Gardenia & Rose Petal Infused Honey
Check Out These Other Edible Flower Recipes!
How to Use Gardenia Flower Infused Honey
Tips, Tricks, & FAQs
Recipe for Gardenia & Rose Petal Honey

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edible gardenia flower for flower infused honey

Gardenias Are Edible?!

It was news to me too. In my many, many years of eating plants and working with medicinal herbs, the fact that gardenia flowers are edible just never crossed my path. Just as I was starting to really miss the lilacs that are starting to bloom up north, in come the gardenias and their attention-demanding aroma as if to say “Hey! Lilac… shmlilac… gardenias are all the rage!”

Common gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), also called cape jasmine, is an incredibly popular ornamental shrub. Its leaves are a deep and glossy green and its blooms are so wildly fragrant that you can’t walk within 10 feet of it without getting smacked in the face (in the loveliest of ways) with its scent. It’s a scent very similar to jasmine.

And yes, the flowers and fruits are edible! The flowers are often eaten raw (as in salads, perhaps) pickled, or preserved in honey. Whereas, the fruits are actually used more in medicine.

The Health Benefits of Gardenia

As a native to Asia, gardenia is commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine. For centuries, the fruits of the gardenia plant, known as Zhi Zhi or Cape Jasmine fruits, have been used help with conditions associated with excess heat in the body. These conditions may include eczema, jaundice, or a tendency towards irritability. It’s even used topically to treat burns.

However, in Western medicine, the uses for gardenia are a little less straightforward, and the fruits may be used to treat everything from insomnia to influenza. And while science is still catching up to gardenia’s long history of folk medicine, studies are slowly confirming its medicinal efficacy.

In general, gardenia is considered to be:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-cancer/Anti-tumor
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-hypertensive (may be helpful in lowering blood pressure)
how to make easy homemade herbal honey
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Try These Other Herbal Honeys Too!

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fresh gardenia flowers in a mason jar

How to Make Fresh Flower Infused Honey

Here’s a basic walk-through of how to make a fresh flower honey. You’ll find the detailed recipe at the bottom of this page.

This recipe yields ~1 1/2 cups of gardenia flower infused honey. You can always make more or less if you’d like.

Equipment You’ll Need:

  • Pint-sized Glass Jar with Lid (a canning or a recycled glass jar will do)
  • Fine Mesh Strainer (THESE are my go-to, all-purpose strainers.)
  • 4-cup Glass Measuring Cup (A 2-cup measuring cup works, but may be messier. Alternatively, strain your honey into another clean canning or recycled glass jar.)
  • Kitchen Scissors (make sure they’re clean and dry)
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Chopstick (for stirring)

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Gardenia Flowers (Be sure they’re harvested from bushes that aren’t sprayed with chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides.)
  • Mild-Flavored Honey (preferably local and raw for the highest nutritive value)

Method | Unheated Infusion

  1. Gently brush/shake the gardenias free of debris. Then use scissors to snip the petals just above where the outer petals turn green, saving as much of the white as possible. Compost the green bits.
  1. Fill a clean pint-sized jar 1/2-3/4 full of the petals.
  1. Then pour honey in slowly. Use a chopstick to help the honey find its way to the bottom of the jar. This takes some patience as the honey slowly fills all the little spaces.
  1. Continue to fill until jar is full ~1/2″ from the top, then seal with a lid. It’s not an exact science, but do make sure that the gardenia flowers are covered by the honey. (You may find the need to add more honey as it settles.) After a few hours, the gardenia petals will shrink and float to a mass at the top, and that’s okay.
  1. Let the honey infuse for a few days up to 2 weeks. Set the jar on a small plate (in case of leakage). The longer the infusion, the stronger the flavor. Likewise, the warmer the environment, the more quickly the honey will infuse. You could set the jar on a warm, sunny windowsill.
  1. Flip the jar once a day to jostle the petals around. (In other words, the jar is right side up one day and upside down the next.) This will help create a better infusion since you can’t shake honey as you would a tincture.
  1. Taste the honey every couple days, and when you like the taste, strain the honey using a fine mesh strainer. To do so, you’ll actually need to gently warm the honey. Set the sealed jar in a bowl of warm water for ~15 minutes or place on a sunny windowsill to warm it up so that it’s easier to pour, then dry the jar off and strain.
  1. Be sure to label and date your honey. Use within 3 months.
herb infused honey with honey dipper and chamomile

Love honey? Who doesn’t?! You can learn more about making your own nutritive & medicinal herbal honeys in this complete guide: How to Make Herbal Honey – 3 Ways (+Recipes!)

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Check out These Other Edible Flower Recipes!

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hand holding a fresh gardenia flower in front of a jar of gardenia flower infused honey
fresh gardenia flower infused honey in a mason jar

How to Use Gardenia Flower Infused Honey

You can use fresh flower infused honey any way you’d use regular honey. Because gardenia flowers are edible, after straining, you could even use the honey-soaked petals to make a sweet tea concentrate. Just add the honey-soaked petals to a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to just a boil. Then steep covered for 8-10 minutes, strain, and you have yourself a gardenia sweet tea!

Other ways to use your gardenia flower infused honey include:

  • Use it to sweeten your coffee or tea.
  • Make a fragrant, floral summertime lemonade.
  • Drizzle it on buttered toast, fresh biscuits, over fruit salad, or in oatmeal.
  • Add it to your summertime charcuterie boards. (Sprinkle in a few fresh gardenias for accent!)
  • Enjoy a little spoonful for a quick afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Use it in your spring and summer cocktails and mocktail.
  • Take advantage of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of both gardenias and honey and treat yourself to a gardenia honey facial!

Tips & Tricks & FAQs

How do I harvest gardenia flowers?

Be sure to harvest your gardenia flowers from bushes that haven’t been sprayed or treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. Otherwise, you’ll end up with all these nasty chemicals in your infused honey.

If harvesting from areas you’re uncertain about, always be sure to ask! Knock on your neighbors door or wave down the park ranger if you have to!

To harvest, just snip the flower off where its base meets the larger stem.

Is herb infused honey safe?

Generally, yes. Honey is naturally antimicrobial. This is another reason that raw and locally produced honey is a better option than mass-produced pasteurized honey products. The biggest factors that make herb-infused honey unsafe is the introduction of water from using fresh herbs and/or improper storage.

Store your herbal honey properly, be extra mindful when using fresh herbs, and always discard if you notice any unfavorable changes in taste, smell, or appearance. I think it’s also important to remember that all honey is considered to be unsafe for infants under 12 months of age.

How long does fresh flower infused honey last?

In general, honey made with fresh herbs or flowers should be used within 3 months. While it may last much longer, 3 months is a safe bet. Just be mindful of any unfavorable changes in taste, smell, or appearance. Discard if you have any question of its safety.

How to store herb infused honey?

The best way to store herb-infused honey depends on it you’re using dried or fresh herbs in your infusions.

For this fresh flower infused honey, I generally would recommend storing this honey in the refrigerator. Honey made using fresh herbs should be treated as a perishable food. The water content of fresh plant material will lower the shelf life of your honey and could cause it to ferment. And while it’s unlikely to be harmful to your health, it may not be pleasant. Keeping it in the fridge will help to deter microbial growth, prevent fermentation, and help it last longer.

However, with this particular honey, because the water content in gardenias is not great, this honey should store well in the pantry at room temperature for at least 3 months.

**Note that there are many herbalists who wouldn’t recommend storing fresh herb-infused honey in the refrigerator. Instead, they’ll recommend just keeping it in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight. This is the beauty in practicing herbalism; everyone has their own tips, tricks, and techniques that work best for them. Feel free to experiment on your own. Just be mindful and always discard herb-infused honey if it changes unfavorably in color, taste, or appearance.

What other flowers can you make infused honey with?

You can make infused honey with any edible, aromatic flower! Some good options include:

  • Roses
  • Calendula flowers
  • Violets
  • Borage flowers
  • Lilacs
  • Nasturtiums
  • Dandelion flowers
  • Peonies
  • and so much more!

For more plant magic & herbal wellness in your life, be sure to follow along on ➡️ Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, & snag my herbal 📚 eBooks Nourishing Herbal Gifts & Holiday Pies from the (Un)Bakery. 🌿 And please don’t forget to tag me in your snaps 📸 @_botanyculture_. I love to see all the plant magic you make happen!

Gardenia Flower Infused Honey

Difficulty: Easy
Quantity

1.5

cups
Prep time

10

minutes
Infusing time

3

days

This easy DIY fresh flower infused honey takes 2 ingredients and 10 minutes of your time. You can use the fragrant honey any way you’d use regular honey. Drizzle it on toast, fresh biscuits, or over fruit salads. Used it to sweeten your coffee or tea. Or make a refreshing flower garden lemonade with it!

Ingredients

  • ~1 1/2 cup fresh gardenia petals (white parts only, loosely packed)

  • ~2 cups mild-flavored honey (raw and local if possible)

Directions

  • Gently brush or shake the gardenias free of debris. Then use scissors to snip the petals from the flowers just above where the outer petals turn green, saving as much of the white as possible. Compost the green bits.
  • Fill a clean pint-sized jar 1/2-3/4 full of the petals.
  • Then pour honey in slowly. Use a chopstick to help the honey find its way to the bottom of the jar. This takes some patience as the honey slowly fills all the little spaces.
    Continue to fill until jar is full ~1/2″ from the top, then seal with a lid.

    It’s not an exact science, but do make sure that the gardenia flowers are covered by the honey. (You may find the need to add more honey as it settles.) After a few hours, the gardenia petals will shrink and float to a mass at the top, and that’s okay.
  • Let the honey infuse for a few days up to 2 weeks. Set the jar on a small plate (in case of leakage). The longer the infusion, the stronger the flavor. Likewise, the warmer the environment, the more quickly the honey will infuse. You could set the jar on a warm, sunny windowsill.
  • Flip the jar once a day to jostle the petals around. (In other words, the jar is right side up one day and upside down the next.) This will help create a better infusion since you can’t shake honey as you would a tincture.
  • Taste the honey every couple days, and when you like the taste, strain the honey using a fine mesh strainer. To do so, you’ll actually need to gently warm the honey. Set the sealed jar in a bowl of warm water for ~15 minutes or place on a sunny windowsill to warm it up so that it’s easier to pour, then dry the jar off and strain.
  • Store the infused honey in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Be sure to label and date your honey. Use within 3 months. (Can last much longer if refrigerated.)

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how to make fresh flower infused honey with gardenias

DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.

Find Organic Herbs & Spices at Mountain Rose Herbs

2 Comments

  1. I’m doing a rose infusion but I find my pedals shrivel up! Is there a way to keep them intact?
    Or is this an inevitable natural occurrence?

    • Hi Dee… Rose honey sounds delicious! Yes, just an inevitable natural occurrence. Unfortunately, as the petals infuse into the honey, they typically shrivel (and may even turn a bit brownish) due to the water being pulled from them. But at least you end up with delicious honey! 🙂

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