I love the taste of honey, but do not use it as a vegan. (If you are new to veganism, and want to know why vegans don’t use honey, read this article or watch this video.) I missed honey in tea and on oatmeal, and my granola recipe just wasn’t the same without it. I thought about buying vegan honee, but it is $5.99 for just one cup! I decided to make my own, and looked for recipes online. There are a number of them, but none gave precise directions on how to get consistent results, nor did any use this exact combination of ingredients. After quite a few test batches, I can say this recipe is perfect! It is also very easy to make, and much less expensive than buying it. My cost for four cups of homemade vegan honee is just $4.35, compared to $23.96 to purchase the same amount.
You only need three ingredients! (Four cups of vegan sugar, eight cups of apple juice, and four chamomile tea bags):
For consistently good results, you will need a digital kitchen scale for this recipe. If you do not have one, read my post on Why You Should Use a Kitchen Scale. You can make the honee without a scale, but there is a good chance it will be too thin or too thick. This only really matters if you will be baking with your honee, so you’ll have to decide how important the right consistency is for your use.
To make the honee, start by weighing 800 g (4 level cups) of vegan sugar into a large saucepan:
Next, add 1,920 g (8 cups) of apple juice. I was too busy taking photos to remember to not just add the whole bottle of juice, and my honee ended up a little bit too thin. Weigh or measure your juice, even if the bottle says it contains 8 cups. There is usually a bit extra in the bottle, and that bit is enough to make your honee too thin. So, don’t make my mistake!
The keys to getting the right consistency are to weigh your sugar and juice, and to cook your honee until 1,360 g of water have been evaporated from the mixture. To do this, you need to know how much it weighs at the start. Turn on your scale and add a hot pad, then place the full saucepan on the scale. You want the combined weight of the hot pad and the pot. Write down the weight:
Now, subtract 1,360 g from your starting weight, and circle the number. This is your target weight:
Place your saucepan on a burner or induction cooktop, and heat on medium-low heat while stirring continuously until the sugar is completely dissolved. This takes about five minutes:
The key to the perfect honey flavor is steeping chamomile tea in your hot mixture for the right amount of time. I like to use four tea bags and boil the mixture gently for 30 minutes. Looping the tags around your pot handle keeps them from falling in. (Make sure the tags are nowhere near the flame, however, if you have a gas burner!)
Bring the mixture to a boil, but not this strong:
This is just right:
Boil gently for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes just to be sure there is no scorching on the bottom of your pan. Remove the tea bags:
Now, you need to continue cooking the mixture until the right amount of water has evaporated. You will also want to give it a stir about every 20 minutes during this time. I turned on a stopwatch to see how long this took for those without a scale, and it ended up being two hours and six minutes:
For those with a scale, I would start checking the weight after about one hour and forty-five minutes. To do this, turn your scale on, put the hot pad on the scale, and then the saucepan. Check every few minutes when you are getting close to your target weight. Remove from the heat and cool until lukewarm once you hit the target weight:
You can see that your honee reduced quite a lot from the start. It will still be pretty thin, but will thicken some as it cools and then much more as it chills in the fridge. This is why you can’t judge the doneness by appearance, and why using a scale is so helpful! This is what it looks like while still very hot:
Once your honee has cooled sufficiently to not risk burning yourself if it spills, pour it into clean jars and refrigerate for several hours:
You have four cups of beautiful vegan honee! This amount scantly fills three pint-size mason jars:
That’s all there is to making vegan honee! This is what it looks like after chilling for several hours (yours should be a bit thicker if you remember to weigh your apple juice!) Enjoy your honee!