I stumbled across this recipe a while back on the Wild Fermentation facebook page and couldn't believe my luck that I had found a way to combine two of my loves: fermenting food and eating garlic! But as you'll read, this recipe has certainly taught me a few valuable lessons when fermenting foods.
Now, we eat A LOT of garlic! Luckily, we also grow A LOT of garlic! Once we've harvested and hung our garlic to cure, we then reserve the best heads for next years planting. And then it's fun in the kitchen making this fermented honey garlic.
When I first made this recipe I set about eagerly peeling over 100 fresh garlic cloves and popped them into jars with raw honey. What happened over the next few weeks absolutely amazed me. The jars within two days begun to bubble and overflow, woops.....I didn't leave enough room at the top of my jars for the natural expansion. The honey drizzling out made a real sticky mess but this settled after 5 days and I didn't lose too much of the total amount.
Lesson number one: Make sure you leave at least an inch of space at the top of your jar.
My jars continued to bubble away for the next month and each day I needed to "burp" them by undoing the lid to allow the gas to escape. What I was unprepared for was the intensity of the smell of fresh garlic fermenting. Garlic breath has got nothing on this sulphury smell!
Lesson number two: Open all doors prior to 'burping' as the smell seems to otherwise permeate every room and cupboard! Or take them outside to burp.
And, Lesson number three: Don't burp the jars 10 minutes prior to visitors or clients coming for a consultation! eep.
After 30 days the transformation was complete. The garlic had released its juices into the honey and the honey had infused into the cloves. This garlicky honey can be used for many things like salad dressings, however I save mine for when one of my loved ones has a sore throat or a cough. 1 teaspoon of this honey every couple of hours soothes the symptoms beautifully. Plus for a potent immune boost, eat a clove per day.
This photo is Day 3: some are the honey garlic jars and some are garlic pickling in apple cider vinegar.
Simply peel all of your garlic cloves and put them into your jars. Don't fill to the top! Leave at least an inch between your cloves and the top of the jar.
Pour in your honey in stages, regularly stop to lightly tap the bottom of your jar on the bench. This ensures all spaces are being filled with honey and there are no air pockets. Fill the jar with honey until it covers the garlic cloves - but don't fill to the top!
Within a day or two, you will notice your garlic cloves float to the top of the jar. Normally with any lacto-fermenting, this is a total NO NO. But, don't be concerned with this as they are covered in honey and therefore won't go mouldy. Give the jar a gentle shake and turn each day to help keep them covered in honey.
Place your jar on a plate in a cool, dark spot like your pantry for 30 days. Each day, release the lid to 'burp' out rich garlicky gases (prepare your nostrils for an assault)!
After 30 days the fermentation process will have settled. When you open the jar you'll notice the honey is runnier and the smell is less likely to burn your nose hairs!
Store the jars in your pantry unopened or in the fridge was opened for months, if not years. It really does develop amazing flavours as it ages. Over time the cloves become darker, more mellowed and sweeter as they're infused with the honey. The honey remains runnier from the garlic juices.
Above is a photo of a batch that has aged 18 months. YUM!!!!
End note copied from Sarah Miller's website who posted the original recipe:
"Worried about Botulism?
Honey and garlic both have a reputation for harboring botulinum spores, and I’ve fielded a lot of questions about the safety of this ferment. Clostridium botulinum is a very hardy little pathogen, but it’s finicky about what kind of conditions it can reproduce in. In order to sporulate and produce the botulinum toxin it needs: a neutral ph, moist environment, and no oxygen. Food preservatives also inhibits it, and salt and sugar are our oldest preservatives. At high enough concentrations of either botulinum spores cannot reproduce. Honey, being about 80% sugar and 20% water, qualifies as a high-sugar, low-moisture food. Additionally, honey is an acidic food, having an average ph of 3.9. Now, in this recipe the honey is being diluted a bit, and I can’t give you the final numbers for the sugar and water content. I can only tell you that I and many others have been eating this for a long time with no problem. Of course, it should not be fed to infants or anyone with a severely compromised immune system."
Green Tree Blessings x