Honey Fermented Garlic

Sweet and savory are a historic pairing, and this shockingly versatile honey fermented garlic recipe is no exception. Everything about this recipe has had me interested for a while before I was brave enough to try it. It’s a flavor combo that I was weary of, and the fact that it is a form of produce preservation intrigued me.

Sugar is a preserving agent that we are all familiar with, and honey acts similarly. Take jam for example, it is a way of preserving fresh fruit with sugar and typically a little acid (like lemon juice) and then sealed. This method of preservation uses the sugar of the honey and fermentation properties of honey. If you are trying to remember where you have heard of preservation of honey and the use of fermenting, think of mead! It’s fascinating to me that a fermented drink can be made from just honey and water.

Both fermented foods and garlic have positive health benefits, especially for your immune system and gut health. Feel free to check out this article for 11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic and this article for 5 Reasons to Add More Fermented Foods to Your Diet. Personally, I make this fascinating recipe for the taste and for the pure sake of fermenting something, but the health benefits are cool too!

Now that you are interested in making honey fermented garlic, you are probably wondering what to do with it. I used it in an Asian style stir fry as a teriyaki sauce substitute and it was AMAZING! I used it in my favorite corn bread recipe and it added an inexplicable depth of flavor. Don’t worry, the corn bread didn’t have any noticeable garlic flavor though. Another context in which I used this tasty honey was as part of a fancy charcuterie board with some other homemade jams and fresh fruit. And lastly, the garlic cloves themselves can be used in any recipe that calls for garlic.

Honey Fermented Garlic

Equipment

  • 1 Glass Jar with Sealing Lid I used a basic mason jar and I didn't have issues with using the metal lid

Ingredients
  

  • Heads of garlic, pealed
  • Honey about a three quarters of a cup, enough to fill the jar

Instructions
 

  • Peel a head of garlic and pack the cloves into a clean jar. Add more cloves until the jar is full. Try to keep cloves whole and uncut.
  • Pour honey over the garlic cloves, use a small spoon or chop stick to remove air bubbles within the jar. Add honey until the jar is full.
  • Every day for about 12 days, briefly crack the lid open to allow the built up air from the fermentation process to escape. You will start to see little bubbles forming along the cloves within only a few days. The smell produced can only be described as "honey fermented garlic," and you'll know exactly what I mean when you get there!
    Similarly, rotate or stir the jar every day to maintain honey coating over all cloves. This helps the fermentation process and minimizes risk of mold forming on any of the garlic.
  • Leave the garlic in a cool dark place for 12 days. After this period, you should start to notice less air needing to be released when you "burp" it each day. This means that the fermentation has slowed down. You can keep the jar in the fridge for months.

Notes

Troubleshooting:
If mold starts to form, you should start over.  Don’t be disappointed, fermentation and mold are both natural processes and sometimes the conditions are close but not quite right for fermentation to occur.  When you try again, make sure the jar and lid you start with are clean and you stir or rotate the jar every day so that all the cloves are honey coated.
If your honey starts to harden or crystalize, keep stirring/rotating your jar and it will likely loosen up.  This is also a natural process, honey crystalizes.  As the fermentation progresses, the honey leaches some of the moisture from the garlic and becomes less viscous.  I’m not a scientist so I can’t explain much past observation, but you will notice that the honey gets runnier during the process.  
If your honey becomes cloudy, you should be fine.  This happened to me once the fermentation was over and the jar was just sitting in my fridge.  Everything tasted fine and some of the cloudiness would go away when I stirred it.  I think this is the honey starting to crystalize.  So from my experience, this is no reason to be concerned.


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