COVID 19 has changed the face of the world in ways we are not fully prepared to accept. However with every generation that is just what we must do – adapt. We hope that the the case numbers lowering continues to be the trend. Until then we will continue to subscribe to the CDC’s guidelines to mask up. In addition, we are paying attention to our body’s immune systems by encouraging it to be stronger.
Enter fermented foods.
Fermented foods have been found to improve gut health and immunity. Many of us enjoy fermented foods in one way or another – kimchi, pickles, and kombucha – all have made their way onto North American cuisine & we welcome them!
Our family just got into the world of fermented foods. I guess you could call it our COVID project. Our most exciting ferment thus far has been the most beneficial and that is the Honey Fermented Garlic. We have had several ask about how it was done since our post on social media back in August as a part of the #everybitcountschallenge. It is very simple. The most difficult part is peeling the garlic cloves! Here is what we did.
- Peeled 2 large cloves of garlic and rinsed cloves with filtered water. Set aside.
- Always best to use local honey but feel free to use store bought honey to experiment first as we did.
- Wash your jar, ring, and lid with hot soapy water. We used one half pint jar the first time but if you go larger just peel more garlic accordingly.
- Place peeled garlic into the jar.
- Pour honey over the garlic. If you have raw honey at room temperature then this process can go a little slow as it tends to be thick. You could warm the honey slightly by allowing it to sit in hot water as you are peeling your garlic.
- As you pour be sure to leave at least a half inch headspace in the jar. This allows room for the garlic fluids to drain out into the honey without overflowing your jar. It also allows space for the gases that result from fermentation to move around.
- Watch the level of your honey. When it looks like you are at the half inch mark stop pouring and allow the jar to sit undisturbed for 5 – 10 minutes. This will allow the honey to settle in between the gaps of the garlic. This will push air bubbles to the top of the jar and your level will drop. Add more honey as needed and repeat the process until no more settling occurs and you have the half inch headspace. Be sure all cloves are covered with honey.
- Cover with lid and place in a dark area. We covered ours with a cloth and left on the kitchen counter. You want to put it some place where you will remember to shake and burp jar daily.
What to Expect
Fermentation is a science with many variables. Your fermentation can be effected by many of these and may not go exactly the same way as ours did. This does not mean that you are doing anything wrong. For instance if your home is a little warmer than ours was at the time this data was collected then your ferment may move through its paces quicker. Alternatively, if your home is cooler, it may go slower.
- Days 1 – 3 There was not much activity. I started to notice bubbles which is what you want to see but there were not very many.
- Days 4 – 7 Now the process is in full swing. There were many bubbles and I was concerned about overflow so I burped the jar twice a day.
- Days 8 – 16 Still plenty of bubbling and the ferment has become super fragrant. Thankfully I love the smell of garlic. Garlic cloves are changing in color which shows their absorption of the honey is taking place. The honey is also thinning which shows the liquid gold inside of the garlic cloves is infusing into the honey.
- Days 17 – 30 Bubbling begins to slow. We did our first taste test at 21 days. The garlic flavor was still pretty strong and still had quite a bite but at 30 days it was much more palatable. I found it quite delicious!
- Days 30+ You will notice the garlic cloves continue to change slightly in color. Just be sure to keep them immersed in the honey which shouldn’t be too difficult since by now they have absorbed quite a bit of it. The honey will be much thinner than when you started.
- If at this point you absolutely love the flavor of your ferment you can halt the fermentation process by basically pasteurizing it. Pasteurizing is basically heating and then rapidly cooling your ferment. I cannot suggest this process as I have not done it. I personally like the idea of the process continuing however since I am taking some of the ferment daily it really will not last long.
Just like any home remedy you must be careful and do your due diligence and research! You may need to talk to your doctor before trying this or any fermented food. For some people fermented foods can cause headaches or even migraines. Also some research shows that garlic has some antithrombotic properties so ones that are on blood thinners already will want to consult with their physician. I’m sure there are many other contraindications out there so PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH!
I’ve read up on this little concoction and there seems to be many benefits. I, however, can only address benefits that I or my family have personally experienced.
- Decrease in blood pressure – Since May I have been on blood pressure medication. I was disappointed but it came as no surprise for me since hypertension runs on all sides of the family. Diet adjustments and exercise just were not enough for me so I had to make this step. However the dosage that I was placed on, a low dose, wasn’t enough to bring my blood pressure to a normal range. Not wanting to increase the dosage, I began to eat one honey fermented garlic clove daily and noticed and decline in my blood pressure within days! Overall decrease is about 10 mm Hg systolic and diastolic.
- Treats cold symptoms – There have been a couple of times that the family has complained of a tickle in the throat. You know the one that you get right before you get sick. Each time I refer them to the honey fermented garlic and sometimes after one clove with a tablespoon of honey the tickle is gone! Other times a few doses have been needed.
- Increased energy – Since I am the only one that takes it regularly I have been the only one to notice this beneficial side effect. It makes total sense! Honey is a source of quick energy and garlic helps overcome muscle fatigue – especially that related to intense activity like that a farmer may do! The two together are a great paring. Just to be clear, I am not getting Mario star power from this but I have noticed that I don’t tire as quickly during the day and that my friends is a huge accomplishment!
There you have it! There is not much to the actual process but there is lots to consider as to whether honey fermented garlic is something for you and your family. Whatever you decide we just want you and yours to have a happy, healthy Fall – from our family to yours!