Throw out any notions you may have that eucalyptus honey is just a sweet, edible version of Vicks VapoRub. This is a complex, nuanced natural product whose flavor profile presents as quite exotic if all you’ve tasted is the generic honey found in bear-shaped bottles.
What is it?
Eucalyptus honey is considered a monofloral honey (although there are more than 500 species of eucalyptus tree). That is, the nectar the bees gather to make their honey is primarily from a single variety of flower. Eucalyptus trees grow well in Australia, South Africa, Italy and California, and these places are where you’ll find the most production. Beekeepers must be meticulous to understand flowering cycles for different plants so they can take the hives to these orchard areas at the exact right time to help with pollination and to craft a pure varietal honey. When the flowering cycle finishes, they close up the hives and move them to defend against cross-contamination from other flowers.
How do I use it?
Derived from the flowers of eucalyptus trees, eucalyptus honey is dark and creamy with notes of herbs, butterscotch and, yes, sometimes mild menthol. Less sweet than many varieties, eucalyptus honey adds a distinct richness to tea as well as to salad dressings and desserts. In summertime, grilled fruits drizzled with eucalyptus honey will be a smash hit. If you are a home brewer, try it in a honey brown ale or mead. And eucalyptus honey will shine when paired with a smoked blue cheese on your next cheese platter. Try Smokey Blue from Oregon’s Rogue Creamery.
Apricot Nougat with Eucalyptus Honey
By Kate Splendoria, Kakao
“Nougat is a confection that seems to be rarely made outside of Italy and France, but it is so delicious when it is homemade,” says Kakao’s Kate Splendoria. “This nougat recipe is a great way to use your favorite honey.”
Serves | 12 |
- 3 large egg whites
- ½ cup water
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups + 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ¾ cup eucalyptus honey
- 1 cup diced dried apricots or other dried fruit
| Preparation | Place whites in the bowl of a 5-quart stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Place water, corn syrup and 2 cups sugar in a medium saucepan. Spoon honey into a second, smaller saucepan. Set both saucepans aside. Whip the egg whites on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, slowly add remaining sugar and whip about 2 minutes, until medium peaks form. Turn off the mixer. Place the pot with the honey over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. The mixture will boil up considerably at this point. Don’t stir. Cook until the honey reaches 248°F. As soon as it reaches temperature, turn the mixer on high and add the hot honey in a slow, steady stream. Whip until stiff peaks form and then turn off the mixer. Transfer the pot of water, corn syrup and sugar to the stove and cook over high heat. Boil until it reaches 290°F. Again, don’t stir. Turn the stand mixer on high and add the hot syrup in a slow, steady stream. Whip for 3 minutes.
Add diced apricots and stir until combined. It will be very thick. Scoop the finished nougat onto a sheet of parchment paper. Cover with a second sheet of parchment and press the nougat into an even layer about 2 inches thick. Allow to cool completely. Remove parchment and cut the nougat into 1x2-inch pieces with a knife oiled with vegetable or another flavorless oil. Wipe knife down between cuts and re-oil the knife.
Stop by Straub's to pick up more delicious recipes featuring eucalyptus honey. Visit straubs.com for information on its four locations.