homemade fireweed honey

Homemade Fireweed Honey Recipe

 

I made some fireweed honey, just like the Alaskan homesteaders used to do.

As you can imagine, living on the frontier and away from civilization was tough. Foodstuffs normally found in stores were difficult to get. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. The homesteaders got creative and used what was readily available. By collecting fireweed and cooking it down with sugar, they made a delicious honey. As honey was frequently in short supply in early Alaskan history, fireweed and clover honey became a common sweet treat for early homesteaders.

Here’s the method we used for making our own fireweed honey.

First, we picked some fireweed plants. Not enough grows in our yard, so we picked the plants on Big Mountain.

 

Picking fireweed on Big Mountain, Whitefish, Montana

The fireweed is purple. The red flowers in the foreground are Indian Paintbrush.

Then we picked some clover.

 

E picking fireweed on Big Mountain, Whitefish, Montana

E picking fireweed on Big Mountain, Whitefish, Montana

 

At home, we thoroughly rinsed the clover and the fireweed. Be sure to wash all of the critters out.

 

fireweed honey - rmkkcompanion

 

(That poor little beetle was a real survivor. He lived 4 days sealed in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator.)

(However, I must confess that we added to Mr. Beetle’s torment by giving him to our cat Wes to eat. Wes has been desperate to go outside this week, but we can’t let him because our neighbor shot him with a B-B gun.  We thought this would make him feel better by giving him a taste of the outdoors.)

 

Wes and bug

Wes scarfed him up right after this photo.

 

Next up, we put the ingredients in a large pot. The liquid boiled over and caught fire. It was a huge mess and I had a heck of a time cleaning the stove.

 

Canning can be quite messy.

What a mess! I recommend you watch the boiling closely as to not suffer the clean-up that I had.

 

It may be a mess, but the results were quite satisfying.

 

 

 

Fireweed Honey Recipe

 

What you will need:

  • 50 pink clover blooms
  • 10 white clover blooms
  • 18-25 fireweed blooms
  • 3/4 tsp. alum
  • 5 lb. bag white sugar
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • cheescloth

Instructions:

  1. Wash blooms in cold water to remove insects.
  2. Put all ingredients except water in pan, then pour boiling water on.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Strain through cheesecloth.
  6. Ladle into canning jars and water bath process for 10 min. before sealing lids.

Enjoy!

 

 

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