Fermented honey has been the sweetener of choice for thousands of years. It is one of the most delicious, healthy and sustainable sweeteners available. Honey ferments are an excellent food preservative. They just keep getting tastier as they age.
The easiest and most popular recipe is fermented garlic honey. It’s a seriously delicious recipe for those who love the flavour of honey garlic.
We share our easy fermented garlic honey recipe at the bottom of this story. For those who like to keep creative in the kitchen, we also provide other suggestions such as fermented mango honey and fermented cranberry honey.
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What is Lacto-Fermentation?
At some point, thousands of years ago, early humans learned to use the process of fermentation to enjoy its tasty results. The most familiar fermented foods, like Korean kimchi, Jewish pickles and German sauerkraut are made using lacto-fermentation.
Most people think about beer or wine when they hear the word fermentation. While specialized yeasts are used to convert sugars in grape juice or grains into alcohol, it is tiny bacteria that are responsible for lacto-fermentation. Various strains of these bacteria are naturally present on the surface of plants, especially those growing in or close to the ground such as garlic, carrots, and jalapeños.
The naturally occurring bacteria convert sugars into lactic acid. This acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Lacto-fermentation also increases and preserves the beneficial vitamin and enzyme levels, and digestibility of fermented food.
What is Fermented Honey?
Honey ferment, also known as bakers honey, has a higher moisture content than most honeys. This allows the natural yeasts and enzymes, present thanks to hard-working honey bees, to begin the fermentation process.
Moisture content and warm temperatures help kick-start fermentation. Ever left a jar of honey in the back of a sunny kitchen in the summer only to discover it’s exploded inside your cupboard? You unknowingly fermented your own honey!
What About Mead?
Due to honeys high sugar content, it is easily fermented into alcoholic honey-wine, also known as mead. But unlike other fermented foods, such as fruit or vegetables, honey ferments do not immediately become alcoholic.
If the moisture content is higher, the honey turns into mead. If you’re looking to enjoy honey fermented products you won’t need a wine glass of beer mug as it has a much lower moisture content than mead.
What Kind of Honey Should I Use?
Raw honey is the purest form of natural honey. It has not been heated or treated from the hive to the jar. You want to use raw honey when preparing honey ferments because it features naturally occurring yeast and enzymes. By fermenting honey we naturally increase those benefits.
We use Nude Bee Honey when preparing a honey ferment. This premium, natural, raw honey from Canada is available in a selection of jars based on the pollen content. Nude Bee Honey is available as Blueberry Honey, Buckwheat Honey, Raspberry Honey, Wildflower Honey and Orange Honey. Each jar of Nude Bee Honey differs in aroma and colour based on the nearby fruit farm in which it was harvested.
Why Make Fermented Honey?
- If you’re keen to try fermentation for the first time it’s best to start with an easy recipe. Honey ferments are the easiest fermentation recipes you’ll find.
- It’s known to have healthful medicinal properties that are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and boost your immune system. Many people enjoy honey fermented products during cold and flu season.
- If you have access to cheap garlic, adding them to a raw honey allows you to naturally preserve them to enjoy over a long period of time.
- Apiculture enthusiasts know that the pollen in raw honey is beneficial to those suffering allergies.
- The enzymes in a honey ferment can also help digest the foods you consume with honey.
- Honey fermented products have a distinct taste and smell, ideal for preparing lemonade, smoothies or drizzled over yogurt parfaits.
- Honey ferments are rich in beneficial bacteria, which have been proven to encourage healthy gut flora.
Get Creative with Honey Ferments
- Fermented Garlic Honey: the most affordable and delicious honey ferment is our recipe for fermented garlic honey. Some call it “honey infused garlic” or “garlic infused honey,” because the standard recipe works like an infusion as well as a ferment. By fermenting garlic in honey you mellow out the acrid raw garlic flavours. The final product pours like a thin syrup. The garlic in the jar is so tasty you can eat it like candy.
- Fermented Mango Honey: if you have access to fresh mangos, follow our fermented garlic honey recipe to enjoy a sweeter, tropical-scented syrup.
- Fermented Cranberry Honey: we love finding creative ways to use leftover cranberries after Thanksgiving or Christmas. Why not take the remainder of your cranberries and prepare a honey ferment? The lacto-fermentation process mellows out the cranberries tart taste. This healthy honey pours a rich red colour and is best enjoyed on pancakes or waffles as a replacement to maple syrup.
Tips on Making Fermented Garlic Honey
Our recipe for fermented garlic honey looks very easy based on the short ingredients list. Since lacto-fermentation is a science, it’s best to ensure you understand how fermentation works. Here are our favourite tips and tricks to prepare fermented garlic honey:
- You’ll need to purchase standard fermentation equipment which can be basic or more specialized. At the very minimum you’ll need measuring spoons, measuring cups and canning jars with a rubber seal. If you plan on fermenting often purchase this fermentation crock for large batches or these fermentation jars fitted with bubble airlock.
- Do not fill the garlic and honey all the way to the top of the jar. You want to have just enough honey to cover the garlic. Once the fermentation process begins the garlic will release moisture into the honey. If too much honey is used, the mixture may not reach the desired moisture content (18-20%) required for fermentation.
- You can speed up the fermentation process by adding a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar or “sauerkraut juice.”
- Ensure the garlic is always submerged under the liquid to prevent mould growth. Since garlic naturally floats to the top of honey, shake the jar once a day to ensure all garlic cloves are coated in honey.
- Open your lid each day to burp the jar, releasing a build up of carbon dioxide.
- Fermented garlic honey changes colour over time. Expect the garlic to sink to the bottom of the jar over time. The colour of the honey will also darken into a rich syrup.
How To Make Fermented Honey
Fermented Garlic Honey
- 1 cup garlic cloves peeled
- 1.5 cups raw honey
- Crush garlic cloves with the blade of a French knife. It’s important to crush the garlic as it helps speed up the fermentation process.
- Place crushed garlic cloves in a clean mason jar and top with raw honey. The glass jar should be large enough to double the capacity of the ingredients. Close the jar with a hermetically sealed lid.
- Flip the closed jar upside down daily to make sure all garlic cloves are coated with honey.
- Once air bubbles start forming you know your garlic honey is fermenting. Each day burp your jar by removing the lid to release carbon dioxide. If for some reason fermentation has not begun after a few days, simply add a few spoons of water to thin out the mixture.
- Continue the process until fermentation slows down and the honey thins out into a syrup. Once the bubbles stop the garlic cloves should sink to the bottom of the jar.
- Store the fermented garlic honey in a sealed jar, unrefrigerated to let it age.
- Fermented garlic honey is best enjoyed after 3 months of aging. The finished product can be stored in a dark place at room temperature for up to a year.
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New to fermenting? Check out these great books and products to get you started!
Fermentation Revolution by Sebastien Bureau & David Cote: Covers everything you need to know about fermentation to start a lacto-fermentation revolution in your pantry!
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz: The most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published.
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by Rene Redzepi & David Zilber: At Noma in Copenhagen, named the world’s best restaurant, fermentation is one of the foundations behind their extraordinary menu. Read their never-before-revealed techniques to creating Noma’s extensive pantry of ferments!
Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten & Christopher Shockey: This easy-to-follow guide presents more than 120 recipes for fermenting 64 different vegetables and herbs.
If you’re ready to start fermenting and are looking to ferment beer or wine purchase this great home brewing kit!
This Easy Fermenter Kit was created to help make fermenting simple. It comes with 3 Wide Mouth Mason Jar Lids & 1 Oxygen Extraction Vacuum.
This 5L Glass Fermentation Crock + 45 recipe book set lets you make delicious, fermented favourites in an affordable design at home.
We also love this Simply Sauer Vegetable Fermentation Kit which comes with 1 oxygen pump and 4 air airlock lids. If you are planning to ferment multiple items at once, they also make this great Mason Jar Fermentation Airlock Lid Kit.
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