Fermented garlic honey is both a tasty condiment and a medicinal syrup with seasonal yuck combatting abilities, immune-boosting properties, and a long shelf-life. All you need is two ingredients and a sterilized jar to make this old fashioned tried and true remedy. Honey and garlic have both been used medicinally for centuries in homes and communities across the world. The acidity of the honey makes this a very safe, shelf stable, and beginner friendly ferment.
Based on how much you want to make, your ingredient amounts will vary. No matter the size of container or amount you desire to make, the ratio to remember is simple. You want to fill whatever clean glass jar you have 1/2 to 3/4 full with your garlic cloves. Then, you want to fill your jar with the honey to the top of the stack of cloves. Easy peasy.
- Generally speaking: 1-2 cups of honey (your honey should be raw) I used Nate's Raw Honey
- 4-10 cloves of garlic (depending on the clove size and the amount you are making), peeled and crushed or cut in half (crushing your garlic clove with your knife, mincing, or cutting it in half helps to release the juices from the garlic, and speeds up the fermentation process)
You ideally want your garlic as fresh as possible. This recipe does not work with pre-jarred or dried garlic. If you are in a pinch for time, you can find bags of pre-peeled whole garlic cloves at the grocery store.
- Glass jar with a tight-fitting lid ( I am a big fan of swing lid lock jars ) 32 oz Set of 4
- Mixing spoon or spatula
- Cheesecloth, mesh strainer, or coffee filter
- Rubber band (depending on how you strain the honey)
1. Start by cleaning the glass jar. You want it to be sterilized as to not introduce unwanted bacteria to the mix. No need to anything fancy, simply wash it with hot soapy water, rinse it thoroughly, and let it air dry.
2. Peel the garlic cloves and crush, mince, or cut them. If you have pre-peeled garlic, just give them a pop with your hand flush against the side of your knife to release the juices. You can use a knife or a garlic press for this task. Make sure to remove any green sprouts if present, as they can give a bitter taste.
3. Place the garlic into your sterilized glass jar.
4. Pour the honey over the garlic, ensuring that it covers all the garlic pieces completely. Honey acts as a natural preservative and provides a favorable environment for fermentation. You will notice that the cloves will start to rise to the top of the honey, and this is completely normal in the beginning of the process.
5. Use a mixing spoon or spatula to stir the garlic and honey together, making sure that all the garlic is evenly distributed.
6. Seal the jar tightly with a lid. This is where I turn the jar over and plate on a small plate in case anything spills. This process is optional but it is how I do it.
7. Place the jar in a cool, dark place at room temperature. Avoid direct sunlight and excess heat.
8. Allow the mixture to ferment for at least 2 weeks, but preferably 4-6 weeks. During this time, the garlic and honey will naturally ferment, developing complex flavors and beneficial compounds. In the beginning when the cloves are rising to the top of the mixture, I simply turn the jar each day to ensure the cloves are always coated with the honey. You can also burp your jar, releasing any excess pressure by slightly loosening the lid to release some air and then immediately tightening the lid again. This is part of my daily kitchen rounds. Once the garlic begins to release it's juices and the fermentation process takes over, the cloves will sink to the bottom and become more self sufficient. The goal to a safe ferment, is keeping the garlic coated with the honey. If you desire, you can purchase ferment weights to plop into your jar, that will hold the garlic down under the honey. This will save you some time in the kitchen.
*During the fermentation process, you will notice the honey becoming thinner and you may see little bubbles. This is normal and a good sign that everything is progressing as it should.
9. After the fermentation period is over, you can strain the mixture if desired. Line a strainer or colander with a cheesecloth, mesh strainer, or coffee filter, and pour the fermented garlic honey through it. This step is optional and depends on personal preference. It will help remove any solids or impurities.
*You can also leave the fermented garlic cloves in there, and take one out to eat whenever you feel the yucks coming on.
10. Transfer the strained fermented garlic honey into a clean glass jar. Secure the jar with a tight-fitting lid, and store it in your fridge. This will slow down the fermentation process and extend the shelf life of the honey.
- Make sure the garlic is fresh and free from any mold.
- Adjust the amount of garlic according to your taste, depending on how strong you want the garlic flavor to be.
- Fermented garlic honey can be used as a flavorful addition to marinades, dressings, sauces, or taken straight as an immunity tonic.
*Note that it’s normal for the honey and garlic to darken over time – sometimes your garlic will even turn blue/green (though this isn’t typical for a honey ferment), it’s a natural normal reaction.
Eat one of the honey-soaked garlic cloves when you feel yuckies coming on.
Eat a spoonful of the garlic-infused honey for it's immune boosting properties.
Use the infused honey for salad dressings and marinades.
Drizzle it over cheese
Use as a glaze for your favorite meat, fruit, or veggies.
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