Bee-free vegan apple honey has the same sweetness as traditional bee honey but without animal products. This easy recipe is made using four simple ingredients in only 45 minutes. After that, you can enjoy cruelty-free honey anytime.
Why is Honey Not Vegan?
Honey can be a confusing subject for vegans and non-vegans alike. Are bees an animal or an insect? The general consensus is that it is not vegan because it involves practices that exploit bees. It is important to note the term ‘general consensus’, because not all vegans feel that honey is non-vegan.
The exploitation happens when beekeepers disrupt bee colonies by taking their honey and replacing it with sugar water, clipping the queen bee’s wings, artificially inseminating queens, and culling drones when they are no longer needed. These actions can be stressful for the bees, leading to colonies collapsing. All of these actions contradict the fundamental principles of veganism.
I first learned about honey not being vegan almost 20 years ago. At the time, I thought it was extreme. However, as I have learned more about bees, their importance, and the impact humans are making on colonies, I changed my mind.
What are Honey Alternatives?
Instead, vegans typically use blue agave or honee, which is a common vegan spelling of apple honey. I do like blue agave. However, I find it to be very runny, which does not work well on a PBJ. Instead, I started making vegan apple honey. The longer the apple juice is simmered, the thicker the honey is!
Step One: Cook
In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine apple juice, sugar, and lemon and bring it to a rapid boil. Lower to medium heat and occasionally stir for 35 – 45 minutes. At some time in the cooking process, place the chamomile tea bags in the pot for ten minutes. When the mixture has reduced by 1/2, remove the pot from the heat and allow the honey to cool. If you prefer a thicker texture, continue to cook over medium heat longer.
Step Two: Cool
Once cooled, transfer to a jar or an airtight container. Refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours. This will cause the honey to thicken. When the honey coats the back of a wooden spoon, you can remove the saucepan from the heat.
Note: it is not as thick as desired, return it to a saucepan at any time and cook until the desired thickness is reached.
Tips for Selecting the Best Apple for Homemade Juice
If you are making apple juice from scratch, consider buying organic vs. non-organic and what apple variety is right for you.
Vegan Hot Honey Variation
I have been obsessed with hot honey ever since I saw Garlic, Salt, and Lime post their recipe on Instagram. From then on, I could not stop thinking about making a vegan version. The result blew my mind; it tastes like hot cinnamon candy!!! The variation is simple to make and only takes a few extra steps. Those steps are sooooo worth it!
HOT HONEY INGREDIENTS:
- 1 cup of vegan honey
- 2 tablespoons dried red chili flakes
HOT HONEY INSTRUCTIONS:
- Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Gently cook on low to medium heat. Once bubbles begin forming on the saucepan’s edges, remove it from the heat. This happens quickly, so stay close and keep an eye on it.
- Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- For additional details, visit Garlic, Salt, and Lime.
Make-Ahead and Storing
Make-Ahead Instructions – Honey will take a few hours to thicken. Always make it at least 3 hours before you plan on using it.
Countertop Instructions – Once the honey has been refrigerated, it can be stored on the countertop in an airtight container for up to one week.
Refrigerator Instructions – Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month. Hot honey can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Apple Vegan Honey Recipe
- 1 Medium saucepan
- 1 Wood spoon
- 4 cups (946ml) apple juice
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15) lemon juice
- 2 tea bags Chamomile
- In a medium saucepan, combine apple juice, sugar, and lemon juice.
- Bring to a rapid boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- At the 10-minute mark of the cooking process, add 2 chamomile tea bags to the pot and let steep for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and allow the honey to cool.
- Strain the honey through a fine-mesh sieve (optional).
- Transfer the honey to a jar or airtight container and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- For a thicker texture, continue to cook the honey over medium heat after removing the tea bags until it reaches the desired thickness.
- If the honey is not as thick as desired after refrigerating, you can return it to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it reaches the desired thickness.
- If the consistency is too thin, return it to a saucepan at any time and cook until the desired thickness is reached.
- Honey will take a few hours to thicken. Always make it at least 3 hours before you plan on using it.
- Once the honey has been set in the refrigerator, it can be stored on the countertop in an airtight container for up to one week.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.