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Fermented Honey and Garlic

Use this garlic preparation when cooking to add extra flavor

Simple ferments that can stay on the shelf to pull from whenever I’d like are my favorite kind, and honey ferments are exactly that. Every workshop we do always ends with me talking about the magic of honey, even though we never plan it that way. People are drawn to the gorgeous jars of honey and bottles of mead on the shelves and never fail to ask about them.

It’s important to use raw honey. Look for this on the label or buy from a local beekeeper.

You can add nigella seeds (Nigella sativa) to the garlic and honey, then look into adding these seeds to other ferments as well, both for their flavor and because they are historically very healing. A gentleman approached me at my stand at a market recently and told me that nigella seeds were said by the Prophet Muhammad to be "good for all diseases except death" and that putting them with garlic and honey was even better. Score! Use of these little seeds is also documented as far back as the time of Cleopatra.

Take garlic-fermented honey as a syrup with some nigella like a medicine, or add it to a hot drink. Use the garlic in your cooking or eat one raw to fight colds. Great for sore throats!

The garlic can be replaced with jalapeño chillies, small red shallots, and a small sprig of rosemary or oregano.

Raw honey is precious and can be rather expensive, but small items like garlic don’t require too much. This recipe is so easy, but you’ll treasure it. — Sharon Flynn, author of Ferment for Good

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Fermentation time: 7+ days

Equipment: 750-milliliter (25 1/2-fluid-ounce) or larger jar with a lid or air-lock system, weight

Notes

The garlic cloves may take a while longer before they impress you with their development. However, this honeyed and fermented garlic is divine. Pull a clove out as needed to slice finely or chop and add to anything in which you can imagine a honeyed garlic clove belongs. I keep ours on the shelf to keep aging, but if you are afraid of botulism then keep it in the fridge. (Or don’t make it.)

Suggested uses:

— Lamb chops: Chop a clove and sprinkle on your lamb chop, and add a little of the honey before barbecuing or grilling.

— Blue cheese: Pour the garlic-infused honey over a thin slice of baguette.

— Labneh: Use as oil to store it.

— Yoghurt (particularly smoked yoghurt): Drizzle it over a bowlful.

— Stir-fries, dressings, and marinades: Finely chop a garlic clove and add or use the honey.

— Cheese platters.

— Replacement for regular garlic: Put it under the skin of a chicken in a roast.

— Healing: Take a tablespoon for a sore throat or to ward off a cold.

 

Ingredients

  • Garlic, enough to fill the jar 3/4 full
  • 1 Tablespoon nigella seeds (optional)
  • Raw honey, enough to cover the garlic

Directions

Fill the jar 3/4 full with peeled garlic and, if using, sprinkle in the nigella seeds.

Pour the honey over the garlic carefully, waiting for it to settle before pouring some more.

Move the garlic around with a chopstick, making sure the honey fills every hole.

Weigh the garlic down with something like a glass disc, as it’s better to keep the garlic under the honey.

Lid with an air-lock system (or use a normal seal, place the jar on a plate and be sure to check on it every 24 hours to release the gas).

Check it the next day, as the garlic tends to rise, so you’ll need to push it back down under the honey again.

As the honey becomes more liquid it will be easier to push the garlic down.

Keep checking on your jar, as the ferment can get quite fizzy.

If you aren’t using an airlock, you should release some gas from time to time until it stops.

Leave for a week or so. The honey takes on an amazing flavor and can be used straight away if you wish — any way you’d like.

Recipe adapted from Ferment for Good by Sharon Flynn (Hardie Grant, 2017)