I have not delved much into the fermented foods world.  My only experience has been some sauerkraut and kombucha, other than a bit of cheese making….until now.  I’ve become intrigued with home made medicinals and remedies and my interest and knowledge has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years.  Even with that, my knowledge is limited.  I’ve made my own cough syrup, and my peppermint tea has become a go-to in our house for cold season.  In researching, I stumbled onto a remedy for colds and flu that involved fermenting garlic in honey.  It sounded good….it sounded easy….so I had to try it!  I thought now would be a good time to share this simple ferment, with garlic harvest just around the corner.

The process begins with peeled fresh garlic cloves….lot’s of them, an airtight container, and raw honey.  That’s it!  Three items.  I could do this…and I had a bunch of garlic cloves left from last year that I didn’t plant in the fall and didn’t use over the winter.  I had raw honey from our bee hives and I had flip top containers with good seals….I am a hoarder when it comes to those things!  If I see them at a flea market, thrift store or garage sale, I snatch them up, despite their size!  I use them for soooo many things….but that is a post for another day.  Back to fermented garlic…..in honey!

Peel and rinse your garlic cloves, let drain so that most of the moisture is off them.  Fill a jar with freshly peeled cloves, and cover with raw honey.  Close the lid….that’s it!  It couldn’t be any more simple.  This could be project to involve the grandkids with!

Much of the garlic I had left over to use, had sprouted, but I was assured that this wasn’t an issue.  As long as the cloves were solid, there was no problem using sprouted garlic.  I peeled the cloves, cut off the sprout, cut off the root end and cut out any dark spots that I questioned.  It didn’t take as long as I expected, the peels were loose, because they had had most of the winter to dry out.

The next step was to rinse the cloves and let them drain a bit before putting them into jars.  While they were draining, I got out a couple of jars of raw honey.  Some of it was starting to crystalize, but again, that was not an issue.  When the honey begins to draw the moisture out of the garlic, the crystals will liquify once again.

The crystals in the honey made it just a bit harder to pour, but a plastic scraper made quick work of emptying the jars of honey.  The key is to make sure the garlic cloves are covered with honey, and there is plenty of head space for the fermenting action to take place.  Latch the lid and your are ready to wait!  You will need to set the jars on a plate or in a shallow pan.  The fermentation process will create a lot of bubbling action, and despite a tight seal, some of the liquid may seep out over the edge.  I didn’t do that…..and wish I had while I was cleaning up the mess.  ;).  You will also need to “burp” the jars a couple of times a day to release excess pressure.

The uses for fermented garlic in honey are as varied as the process is simple.  Use the infused honey in marinades, sauces, and glazes for meats.  Mix it in your favorite veggie dip recipe for an added punch.  As for the medicinal value, just imagine!  Garlic has a chemical called allicin.  This may be the chemical responsible for it’s many uses over the centuries.  It has been used as an antiviral, antifungal and an immune system booster.  It has also been used to treat high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, narrowing of the arteries and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), not to mention coughs, congestion and fever due to colds and flu.

Honey has been called the perfect food, and has a shelf life that is almost indefinite.  Honey, used since ancient times, has anti-microbial properties that make it a time honored treatment for all types of infections.  Especially useful in wound treatment, it also creates a barrier against bacteria and keeps a wound moist for faster healing.  Papa had a partial amputation of his right foot, secondary to an infection exacerbated by diabetes a few years ago, and a part of his post surgery was actually the application of med honey.  His foot healed in record time with no secondary infections.  It’s anti-bacterial properties and uses for infection prevention and treatment have made a resurgence in modern medicine over the last few years.  Unlike modern antibiotics, there doesn’t seem to be a resistance that builds against its infection fighting properties.

Add to all that, the known probiotic benefits to fermented foods, this stuff could really be a wonder-drug in the making.  Best of all, it tastes delicious!  Whether you grab a clove and munch on it, or use the savory/sweet honey in cough syrup or other home made liquid remedies, it is a treat for certain.  If you have used the garlic fermented in honey in cooking or medicinal remedies on your modern homestead, please comment and let us know how you used it, and how you liked it.

For more information on harvesting/dry garlic, check out this post.  And for information on dehydrating and grinding garlic scapes for seasoning, check here.

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