Garlic and honey? It's what fermentation dreams are made of! Fermented Garlic Honey is one of my first honey ferment projects. It's three pantry ingredients that pack a punch! I've never been a fan of the cold, but this delicious garlic honey is. I'm excited to share this recipe for this delicious honey-fermented garlic and what you can do with it!
This is a great project to try if you want to get into fermenting that not only allows you to enjoy the benefits of garlic fermented in honey but to preserves garlic and keeps it from spoiling.
While this wasn't the first project around fermentation (hello, kombucha), it's the one that's stuck with me over the years. The result is delicious fermented honey and garlic cloves, eventually losing the raw bite.
Fermented honey garlic is an excellent addition to anyone's pantry. It's a simple recipe that's easy to make and can be used as a spread, sweetener, tasty glaze, and so much more.
People were fermenting their foods for thousands of years. Celery and cabbage became sauerkraut and kimchi, and fish was fermented to make fish sauce. Fermenting is a great way to preserve extra food, keep them from spoiling, and extend the harvest. Fermenting garlic in honey is an ancient preservation method. It is also a way to make the garlic taste better.
Fermenting Garlic in Honey
This honey ferment combines whole garlic cloves and raw local honey. Some call it "honey infused garlic" or "garlic-infused honey" This fermentation process is one of the oldest in the world.
Honey fermentation is a process that occurs when the sugars in honey are converted into alcohol by the action of yeast. It is a natural process that can occur when honey is stored for an extended period, especially if it needs to be adequately sealed or stored in warm, humid conditions.
The fermentation process begins when the yeast present in the honey, or introduced through the environment, begins to eat the naturally occurring sugars in the honey.
As the yeast consumes the sugars, it produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. Therefore, the alcohol content of the honey will increase as the fermentation process continues.
Fermentation can also be induced intentionally by adding a starter culture of yeast to the honey. This is often done to produce mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey.
It is important to note that honey is naturally antibacterial and has a low pH, which makes it difficult for spoilage microorganisms to grow. However, if the honey becomes contaminated with other microorganisms, such as bacteria or mold, it can spoil and become unsafe to eat.
As I stocked up my pantry and prepped for the winter, I needed to make a new batch, but first, I had to settle on a few tools that made this process easier. Here's what you need:
- Glass jars: An ideal fermentation container is lightweight and has a wide opening. Glass mason jars have been used for decades. Any container and a lid will work if it has no narrow opening and a tight seal.
- Screw Top Lid: It's important to get a screw or flip-top lid that fits your container. are good to use as they help keep the mixture submerged and are easy to get in most stores.
- Raw Garlic Cloves: Fresh garlic is a powerful, healthy ingredient that adds flavor and healing properties to many dishes. The cloves must be removed from the head and peeled. If you want to learn how easy it is to plant garlic at ost.
- Raw Honey: It's key to use raw honey in this recipe. I found mine in the bulk food area of my local grocery store. Using unpasteurized honey is important as it allows the fermenting process. My favorite type of raw is dark forest fruits honey (check out how it's harvested!), but whatever you find should work. Check if you have a local beekeeper selling at a farmer's market.
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (optional): add a splash of vinegar to help balance the ph level helping tame the wild yeast. While the vinegar is not required, I add it to be on the safe side, plus I have a LOT of vinegar.
Why ferment your garlic in honey?
Fermented garlic changes in flavor thanks to the chemical called Allicin. Allicin is the stuff that makes raw garlic so potent as an antibiotic. Allicin is heat-sensitive, and you lose most of it if you cook your garlic.
How does this work?
A member of the onion family, the active ingredient in garlic is a chemical called allicin, which gives garlic its characteristic taste and smell. You can eat allicin alone; it's not half bad, though strong enough to clear a room.
The first thing to understand about allicin is that it's not an ingredient like sugar in the cake; it's a catalyst, like yeast. When you cut up an onion or crush some garlic, you're releasing enzymes that cause allicin to be transformed into allicin.
The allicin transforms, breaking down fats and proteins into smaller components interacting with each other and other flavors in ways we're just beginning to understand. (I think this helps explain why fermenting garlic in honey also changes the flavor.)
How to make fermented honey garlic
It's a good idea to clean your empty jars before you start. Place the garlic cloves in a glass jar. Pour honey over the garlic to cover it completely.
Cover the garlic cloves with honey but leave a ¼ inch of space from the top of the jar. Cover with a lid and place in a cool dark spot at room temperature.
For the first week, check it daily, opening the top and "burp the jar" to release any gasses that may have built up. You're on the right track if you see tiny bubbles on the surface of the honey. Make sure to turn over the jar upside jar.
Add a small splash of raw to balance the ph mixture after your first week. I use it, but you're good to go as long as it's raw ACV.
Let the mixture sit for about two weeks before consuming. The honey will take on the consistency of simple syrup and a mild garlicky flavor. You may need to stir it at least once during this period. I turn the jar 1-2 times a week.
There are lots of uses for both honey and fermented garlic. You can add garlic to salads, roast it alongside your meats, or even add it to your smoothies for an extra punch of flavor. Some folks (including myself) will eat a clove from the jar if their immune system needs support. I also top my pizza with it or mix it into a glaze. Food is medicine, FTW!
- Take a spoonful of honey and garlic or whole cloves
- Honey garlic would make a tasty glaze for meat and veggies.
- Immune booster or cold/flu coming on
Notes and Tips
- The honey becomes runny, similar to syrup
- Don't fret if your garlic changes color. Blue or green garlic cloves are still safe to eat
- Allicin is an enzyme in garlic that gives the plant its pungent scent.
- When checking on the mixture, tighten the lid and turn the jar upside down to ensure the honey covers all the garlic cloves.
Expert Tips for Fermented Garlic Honey
- Peel: Peel the garlic cloves before adding them to the honey. The fermentation process works primarily on the garlic cloves, not the peel 1.
- Botulism: Although the risk of botulism is generally low in fermented garlic honey, use raw honey, which contains enzymes and compounds that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria 2. However, it is not recommended for infants under 1 year due to the risk of infant botulism 3.
- Quart Jar: Use a clean quart jar for fermentation, providing enough space for garlic and honey allowing expansion during the fermentation process.
- Storage: Store fermented garlic honey in a cool, dark place during fermentation and transfer it to the fridge once the fermentation process is complete to maintain its freshness and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria 4.
- Flu Season: During flu season, consuming fermented garlic honey may help alleviate coughs and sore throats due to their combined antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties [^5^, ^6^].
- Blood Pressure: Garlic has been shown to help reduce blood pressure, offering potential benefits for those with high blood pressure 5.
- Purchase: Choose high-quality, preferably organic, garlic and raw honey from reliable sources to ensure the best taste and health benefits.
- Multifunctional: Fermented garlic honey can be used in various dishes, including salad dressings, drizzled on hummus, or in salsas, pesto, and soup for added flavor and health benefits.
- Cooking: Use fermented garlic honey in stir-fries or when making garlic butter, as it significantly enhances the taste and adds depth of flavor to your dishes.
Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.
- Morse, S. A. (2019). Fermented Honey-Garlic. Mother Earth News. Link ↩
- Turnbull, S. (2008). Fermented Foods: General Considerations. Independent Nutrition Consultants. Link ↩
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Botulism. Link ↩
- Quail, M., Lim, Y., & You, S. (2018). Honey for Nutrition and Health: A Review. Link ↩
- Ried, K., Frank, O. R., Stocks, N. P., Fakler, P., & Sullivan, T. (2008). Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Link ↩
Fermentation is the process of converting sugars into lactic acid and other compounds. These have preservative properties, so fermented food can last longer than non-fermented food.
You don't need to worry about Botulism in the infusing honey I describe below. Fermentation results in lactic acid, which makes this fermentation safe. This mixture will continue to ferment for a long period but not forever.
The honey is sweet with a touch of garlic, while the bulbs lose their raw edge and mellow out. The texture is chewy.
Fermented garlic honey should last for several years if stored in a cool, dark place.
With its high sugar content and sweet flavor, it is no surprise that honey is used to make mead, a delicious honey wine. But—unlike other plant-based ferments—honey does not ferment into alcohol immediately.
Fermented garlic honey is an excellent addition to anyone pantry. This is a great product for someone looking to get into fermentation with two ingredients that are natures oldest preservatives. It is easy to make and can be used as a spread, sweetener, good for digestive and immune support.
- 30 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup raw honey
Fermenting garlic in honey produces a delicious condiment that adds great flavor to salads, sandwiches, meat dishes, and more.
- Place the peeled garlic cloves in a glass jar.
- Pour enough honey over the garlic to cover it completely.
- Cover with lid and place in a cool dark spot; for the first week,
- Check it daily, opening the top and "burp the jar" to release any gasses that may have built up.
- Add a small splash of raw apple cider vinegar to balance the ph mixture.
- Let the mixture sit for about two weeks before consuming. The garlic cloves may still taste raw after two weeks. If so, let it go longer. Over time the raw garlic flavor mellows out and the honey takes on a savory but sweet garlic flavor
Raw honey has natural yeasts and does not spoil.
This mixture becomes runnier and looser as fermentation occurs
Don't fret if your garlic changes color. blue or green garlic cloves are still safe to eat
Allicin is an enzyme in garlic that gives the plant its pungent scent.
Serving Size:1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 0g