Honey Fermented Garlic
Hollie J. Schipper ND
Honey fermented garlic can be used to combat cold and flu, used as an immune booster, or simply as a condiment to add a honey garlic flavor to any dish. Whether you call it ‘honey infused garlic’ or ‘honey fermented garlic’ – the final product has both the flavors of honey and garlic! You end up with garlicky honey and sweet mellowed garlic.
Since the beginning of time garlic and honey have been used in traditional medicines around the world. The main health ingredient in garlic is allicin. It contains oxygen, sulfur, and other chemicals that give garlic antibacterial and disease-fighting properties.
Honey is naturally high in antioxidants called flavonoids and polyphenols. These chemicals may help to fight inflammation (redness and swelling) in the body. This can help balance the immune system. Honey also has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties according to many documented sources.
The typical use of garlic is to treat colds and coughs. It’s also reported to boost the immune system and help ease asthma symptoms. Arab traditional medicine recommended garlic to help treat heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, toothache, constipation, and infections.
Both garlic and honey are high in antioxidant compounds. These healthy chemicals help to balance your immune system and may prevent illness. According to some researchers they may also protect your brain from common diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Why make honey fermented garlic?
- It’s just fun!
- Well, it’s not so much fun after you peel 24 garlic buds and your fingers are now on fire!
- It’s quite easy
- You appreciate the medicinal qualities of honey & garlic and want to take advantage of their anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and immune boosting properties
- You grow your own garlic and you want to naturally preserve your garlics for long term storage without refrigeration
- You want to eat more raw garlics for the health benefits but can’t tolerate the pungent taste
- You love honey garlic flavored foods and want to have a naturally preserved honey garlic condiment on hand to add to your dishes
- You want to take advantage of having it on hand as a cold and flu remedy
- I personally use it as a daily immune booster and for cardiovascular health. It’s relatively inexpensive and it tastes good (especially after it has fermented for awhile)
While it is based on anecdotal evidence that it works as a cold and flu remedy – many use it for those reasons. They are both powerful antimicrobials and honey is also a natural cough suppressant. It’s also much easier to consume honey fermented garlic rather than raw garlic in my opinion.
It is important to understand how fermentation works.
- You want just enough honey to cover the garlic, not too much. The garlic will release moisture into the honey to set the stage for the start of fermentation.
- The garlic should be kept under the liquid to prevent mold growth. Since garlic naturally floats on top of the honey, I typically tip the jar upside down at least once daily. In addition, especially for the first few days it is good to stir it. It’s important to ensure that all garlic cloves are coated in honey. These steps should be continued until the garlic no longer floats.
- When you see bubbles, this means that the fermentation has begun. These bubbles will be produced varying from a little to a lot. Sometimes, the bubbling can be very active; overflowing the jar.
- I always keep the jars on a tray or something so that when there is overflowing (because it will!) I don’t mess up a whole cupboard. It is important to leave plenty of head space in the jar when fermenting honey and garlic. This step may save you from ending up with a sticky mess. It’s also crucial to open the lid of the jar daily to “burp” to release the carbon dioxide. The bubbling will subside over the weeks, and eventually you will not see bubbles produced nor will you need to release carbon dioxide from the jar.
- If too much honey is used, the mixture may not reach the moisture content required (18-20%) for the fermentation process to begin.
As the honey fermented garlic continues to ferment it will change color. Over time, the garlic cloves will gradually sink to the bottom of the jar, and the color of honey will gradually darken. In addition the honey will thin out over time due to the moisture released by the garlic.
- Prepare your glass jars by sterilizing or boiling them. Have your lids available. I use 1/2 pint (jam jars) or 1 pint wide mouth jars.
- Peel the garlic. I cut large cloves so they are edible size. Combine garlic cloves and just enough liquid raw honey to cover the garlic in a glass jar. The glass jar should be large enough to roughly double the capacity of your ingredients to leave room for expansion. Close the jar with a lid.
- Stir the mixture &/or flip the closed jar upside down daily (2 times a day is optimal) to ensure all garlic cloves are coated with honey.
- Within a few days, air bubbles should be forming, a sign of active fermentation. At this point it is important to open the jar daily to release excess carbon dioxide. If fermentation doesn’t begin by the third day, then add a spoon or 2 of water into the mixture. Repeat step 2.
- Continue this process until fermentation slows down, the honey thins out, the bubbling stops, and the garlic cloves sink to the bottom of the jar. It may take over a month. At this point, you can store the honey fermented garlic in a sealed jar, unrefrigerated, to let it age.
For best taste, the honey fermented garlic can be consumed after 3 months. The finished products can be stored in a dark place in room temperature for years.
Although the honey garlic tastes better as the flavors age and the garlic becomes mellower, you can eat it at any time. Over time the flavor will continue to develop, the garlic will mellow, and the honey will become much runnier. It will store well in a cool place for many months, if not longer.
How can you use the honey?
It’s delicious on salads, on bruschetta, or as a marinate on chicken or fish. Use it whenever you want a nice garlic honey taste. You will find many delicious ideas on-line.
This information is what I have learned over the last couple of years of making honey fermented garlic.
Information is provided for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice or attention of health-care professionals