Introduction: Honeyed Garlic
Honey and Garlic -- two great things that go great together!
Honey is about about 82% sugar and 18% moisture, so it is very shelf-stable -- in fact, it will never go bad. It even has antibiotic properties. But when you increase the moisture (even by a little bit), the wild yeasts present in the honey will start the fermentation process.
In this case, the juice from the garlic is just enough to start the fermentation, but not enough to produce a noticeable amount of alcohol.
What you get instead is a transformation of both the garlic and the honey: the garlic mellows in flavor, and the honey gets very liquidy and is infused throughout with garlicky goodness.
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
Garlic: Use quality garlic that is not dried out or sprouting. It'll take about 6-8 heads of garlic to fill a one-pint mason jar.
Honey: Use raw honey, preferably from your local beekeeper or farmer's market. About a cup or so should do it.
Apple Cider Vinegar: You may need to add a couple of tablespoons at the end so that the pH is less than 4.6. Although your end result will probably be fine without it, keeping the pH under 4.6 guarantees that botulism won't get you.
pH Test Strips: Use these to test the pH of your honeyed garlic every once in a while. I purchased a 100-pack of test strips (a lifetime supply!) for about $5 online.
Step 2: Combine the Garlic and Honey
Peel the garlic and fill a pint glass jar to about an inch from the top with the peeled garlic cloves.
Add enough honey to completely cover the garlic cloves and stir to make sure they're all coated. Make sure to leave 1/2 - 1 inch at the top so that there's room for the bubbly action.
Put the lid on the jar and place in a cupboard for 4 weeks. Make sure to "burp" the jar every few days (open the lid and let the gases out). The garlic will darken slightly and the honey will be very runny. It may separate a bit (there might be a cloudy layer near the bottom) -- just stir it before use it you want.
After the 28 days, check the pH of the honey. If needed, add apple cider vinegar (a couple tablespoons at a time) until the pH is 4.6 or less.
Step 3: Using Your Honeyed Garlic
Once fermented, you can pop that garlic in your mouth -- it's delicious and sweet. Or add the raw honey to hot water or tea to soothe a sore throat. Both garlic and honey are thought to be good for your immune system.
It’s also excellent in cooking that requires a little bit of sweetness -- try using it in dressings, sauces, and marinades, and it’s a natural choice for many kinds of Asian cooking. Try chopping up a bit of the garlic, mix it with some of the honey and drizzle it over pork loin...yum!
Note: Raw honey should never be eaten by children under 1 year of age.