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Recipe: Fermented Honey Garlic
Both honey and garlic are ingredients that we adore independently. We find ourselves combining them often enough, in marinades and sauces and topping drool-worthy pizza recipes. But fermenting honey and garlic together creates something so incredibly special. It’s truly an entirely new flavor profile.
When you ferment honey with garlic, the honey takes on intensely savory garlic flavors and becomes super runny and perfect for drizzling on pretty much anything (roasted vegetables, cheese boards, and pizza are some of our favorites). But this recipe isn’t just about making flavorfully infused honey. The garlic cloves actually change drastically during fermentation—losing their harsh bite while tasting mellower and sweeter. We use these cloves whole studded into focaccia, sliced in pasta sauces and minced into marinades and dressings.
So, how do you make fermented garlic honey?
Fermented garlic honey is one of the easiest ferments to make, with the most tedious task probably trying to get all those garlic cloves peeled. You will need a glass jar, two heads of garlic and one cup of local honey (you’re looking for raw, unpasteurized honey) to cover your garlic cloves.
It is important to note that honey has a really low water content and naturally antibacterial properties. This means that it can kill off wild yeasts and bacteria from the environment. By crushing the garlic cloves slightly and allowing them to release their juices in the honey, the antibacterial properties become less potent and the fermentation process can start. The honey will start to foam and become runnier as it begins to ferment and infuse with the rich flavors of garlic. Fermented garlic honey will take about a month before it is ready to eat and can be left up to twelve months in a cool, dark cupboard.
This process differs in a few key ways from most of our fermentation recipes. We recommend using a 16 ounce jar instead of your 1/2 gallon FarmSteady fermenter (because it would be quite a bit more honey to fill). But you can absolutely scale it up (and once you’ve had a taste of this, you will likely want to). We also don’t use a fermentation weight (it would just get covered in honey) or airlock, and we instead recommend that you turn over your jar every day or two to re-coat the garlic cloves, and loosen the lid periodically to release any built up CO2. And lastly, we don’t ever move this to the fridge. Honey and refrigeration don’t go well together. So this is one ferment that you will keep at room temperature the whole time.
Fermented garlic honey should become a staple in your home. It’s really easy to make, will elevate the flavor of even the most tried and true dishes and can be your secret immune-boosting and cold-fighting weapon. Try it, and you’ll always need a jar on hand.
Uses and health benefits of fermented garlic honey
Fermented garlic honey has a sweet but savory taste. It can be used as a marinate for meat and poultry dishes, or as a drizzle for vegetable bakes (think roasted pumpkin and butternut). When mixed with a bit of olive oil, it makes a perfect salad dressing, especially where fruits like figs or dried apricots are featured in the salad. You can also drizzle it over herby breads or crispy bacon, and it is absolutely amazing on pizza.
Both honey and garlic have well-known health benefits. Unpasteurized raw honey is packed with antioxidants that protect and strengthen the immune system and has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. In ancient times it was used as a traditional medicine to help heal wounds and as a remedy for sore throats and coughing. Honey can also be used as a natural sugar alternative.
Garlic is an ingredient found in most cuisines around the world. It contains high levels of sulfur, amino acids, flavonoids and allicin. Allicin is the compound that gives garlic its antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it quite a potent immune booster and cold and flu fighter. Some folks swear by eating a clove of fermented honey garlic when the onset of a cold is detected. While it can’t protect you from germs or viruses, it can help alleviate those dreaded cold and flu symptoms and soothe a cough and scratchy throat.