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How to ferment honey

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Learn how adding moisture to raw honey can allow the honey to ferment and gets tastier, healthier, and perfect for drizzling on pizza or yogurt.

Fermented honey is becoming increasingly popular among chefs looking for new ways to add flavor to their dishes. While it seems like a new trend, it has been used as a sweetener for thousands of years. It is one of the healthiest sweeteners available, with a unique taste in sauces, marinades, or even as a condiment for cheese plates. It also makes an excellent ingredient for sweet bread.

What is fermented honey?

What is fermented honey?

Fermented honey is more liquid than usual honey, allowing the natural yeasts and enzymes to kick-start the fermentation process. Moisture and warmth are two factors that help to start the process of forming bubbles and transforming honey into a frothy concoction that can sometimes overflow the jar. Unlike other fermented items like fruits and hops, honey does not automatically become alcoholic. However, if the moisture content is greater, it turns into mead.

Fortunately, honey ferment has a lower moisture content than mead and an intense flavor and aroma. It is foamy in texture yet packs a punch on the tongue.

garlic fermented in honey

Fermenting with honey

Fermenting with honey is a unique way to create delicious and healthy recipes. You can infuse various flavors and health benefits into your finished product by fermenting fruits, vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs with honey. From fermented honey garlic to fermented honey cranberries, the possibilities are endless. Not only does fermenting with honey help preserve the ingredients, but it also adds a unique and complex flavor profile. Learn how to make all kinds of fermented honey recipes and discover their medicinal properties. 

What is Lacto-Fermentation?

Fermentation is one of the oldest methods of food processing.

While it was traditionally used to increase shelf life, nowadays, people enjoy eating lacto-fermented food for its unique taste and health benefits. Lacto-fermented food includes yogurts, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other pickled vegetables like cucumbers.

In the fermenting process, the natural beneficial bacteria in raw honey convert sugars in the honey, creating lactic acid. The lactic acid will act as a natural preservative and impart a characteristic sour flavor.

Use raw honey

Use raw honey

Using raw honey to get the best results when fermenting is essential. Pasteurized honey has been treated to kill off wild yeast and bacteria, which is necessary for fermentation. Raw honey also contains beneficial enzymes and other microorganisms that can help create a balanced flavor in the end product. In addition, the pollen in raw honey benefits those suffering from allergies. When a person with allergies consumes raw honey that contains pollen from the plants they are allergic to, it can help to build up a tolerance to those allergens. 

I use local honey from our beekeeper neighbor.

Nowadays, it is challenging to find unpasteurized honey. Most store-bought honey is heat-treated for two main reasons – to stop fermentation and to be able to strain it.

Fermenting with honey

Fermented honey

Honey ferments are a fun and delicious way to add new flavors to your meals and drinks. To create unique taste combinations, you can use honey to ferment fruits, vegetables, and grains. Use this simple process for any fruit or vegetable you choose. 

First step – prepare your chosen fruits (or vegetable).

Fill your sterilized mason jar with your chosen fruit(s) or veggie(s), so it is 3/4 full.

Second step – fill the jar with honey.

Pour over 1 cup of honey to cover the fruit(s) or veggie(s) entirely.

Bare in mind that once bubbles start to form in the honey, it turns into a frothy concoction, and honey can spill over the jar. Therefore don’t fill a jar to the top; give the honey a breathing space.

How to ferment honey

Third step – allow the fermentation process to begin.

Cover with a lid and place in a cool dark spot at room temperature. Since the fruit(s) or veggie(s) naturally floats to the top of honey, shake the jar daily to ensure they are coated in honey.

You will need to burp daily during the first two weeks of fermentation. First, loosen the lid on the jar so the gases can escape. Flip the jar once a day upside down to ensure all fruit(s) or veggie(s) are covered with honey. Before flipping, ensure you’ve fastened the lid tightly. Once you flip it back, loosen it once more for gasses to escape while fermenting. After a few days, bubbles will appear on top of the honey, and burping will gradually slow down. After the first few weeks, you will notice the produce now sinks below the honey (and is noticeably darker) and the need to stir or turn the jar is essentially over.

I put a plate underneath my honey mixture so liquid won’t leak out.

Note: Some people speed up the fermentation process by adding a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar.

fermentation process

Fourth step – Store the ferment.

Once the honey has achieved its desired level of fermentation, store it securely in an airtight jar, as oxygen exposure can damage the garlic. Place the jar in a dark and cool place with no direct sunlight.

Over time, the fermentation process will make the honey more liquid and darker, with some reduction in size among the fruit(s) or veggie(s). Nevertheless, honey ferment preserves its delightful taste and health advantages if sealed away correctly.

Eating fermented honey may boost the immune system, improve digestion or lower your cholesterol.

fermented garlic honey

What To Do With Fermented Honey?

With its taste and ideal consistency, fermented honey can be used in myriad ways. It is best to stay away from heating the honey, though, as high temperatures can destroy many of the beneficial bacteria.

Culinary.

Use it wherever you use honey, like a condiment, marinade or this honey mustard dressing. It is also great in vinaigrette or glaze for meats, cheese or seafood. Spread it on sandwiches or toast. Honey can also be used as a natural sugar alternative. I love to use it as a sweetener in lemonades, cocktails, smoothies, or jams or eat it with natural yogurt, muesli or grilled pears.

honey fermented cranberries

Medicinal.

Fermented garlic honey has traditionally been used as a natural remedy for sore throat, colds, and flu season. This natural remedy is believed to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to boost your immune system. I enjoy spoonfuls of this honey or preparing honey cough drops or sore throat sprays.

Beauty.

Garlic honey can be used in facial masks for acne and other skin conditions; add it to soap bars or creams.

Condiment.

Get Creative with Honey Ferments

Honey ferments are a fun and delicious way to add new flavors to your meals and drinks. To create unique taste combinations, you can use honey to ferment fruits, vegetables, and grains. Some popular honey ferments include:

Honey Kombucha.

It is a fermented tea made by adding honey to tea and a kombucha culture to the mixture. The result is a sweet, fizzy, and slightly sour drink.

Honey Mead.

This ancient alcoholic drink ferments honey, water, and yeast. Since the moisture content is higher, honey turns into mead, also known as honey-wine. The result is a sweet, fruity drink that can be flavored with spices or fruits.

Honey-Fermented Fruits.

You can ferment fruits like cranberries, grapes, and apricots with honey to create a sweet and tangy condiment and use it on cheese plates, in salads, or as a topping for ice cream.

Honey-Fermented Vegetables.

You can use honey to ferment vegetables like garlic cloves, carrots, cucumbers, and beets to create a sweet and sour pickled vegetable.

Honey-Fermented Grains.

You can use honey to ferment grains like oats, barley, and wheat to create a sweet and tangy cereal or granola and eat it for breakfast or as a snack.

What To Do With Fermented Honey?
Yield: 8 servings

Fermented honey

What is Lacto-Fermentation?

Learn how adding moisture to raw honey can allow the honey to ferment and gets tastier, healthier, and perfect for drizzling on pizza or yogurt.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 days
Total Time 30 days 40 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Fill your sterilized mason jar with your chosen fruit(s) or veggie(s), so it is 3/4 full.
  2. Pour over 1 cup of honey to cover the fruit(s) or veggie(s) entirely. Bare in mind that once bubbles start to form in the honey, it turns into a frothy concoction, and honey can spill over the jar. Therefore don't fill a jar to the top; give the honey a breathing space.
  3. Cover with a lid and place in a cool dark spot at room temperature. Since the fruit(s) or veggie(s) naturally floats to the top of honey, shake the jar daily to ensure they are coated in honey. You will need to burp daily during the first two weeks of fermentation. First, loosen the lid on the jar so the gases can escape. Flip the jar once a day upside down to ensure all fruit(s) or veggie(s) are covered with honey. Before flipping, ensure you've fastened the lid tightly. Once you flip it back, loosen it once more for gasses to escape while fermenting. After a few days, bubbles will appear on top of the honey, and burping will gradually slow down. After the first few weeks, you will notice the produce now sinks below the honey (and is noticeably darker) and the need to stir or turn the jar is essentially over. I put a plate underneath my mixture of honey so that any liquid won't leak out.
  4. Once the honey has achieved its desired level of fermentation, store it securely in an airtight jar, as oxygen exposure can damage the garlic. Place the jar in a dark and cool place with no direct sunlight. Over time, the fermentation process will make the honey more liquid and darker, with some reduction in size among the fruit(s) or veggie(s). Nevertheless, honey ferment preserves its delightful taste and health advantages if sealed away correctly.

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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    8

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 0gSugar: 37gProtein: 0g

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    Vladka Merva on February 7th, 2023

    5 Comments on “How to ferment honey”

    1. This is so interesting and a must-try. We have a lot of local honey that is raw and I have plenty of cranberries. I can see so many uses for this honey and I can’t wait to taste it.

      Reply
    2. I had no idea how to ferment honey but this was such a comprehensive explanation! I can’t wait to try it!

      Reply
    3. Was looking for a recipe to ferment honey so I can use it with garlic and chili flakes and this just hit the mark! Will be making again for sure.

      Reply

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