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by Jody Gowans in Fermentation, Recipes
February 12, 2018

When I cook, I love to play with contrasting flavours.  Sometimes the most unlikely pairing results in something truly tasty . Honey + garlic is one of those surprising combinations, and has been used endlessly to add incredible flavour to meat dishes, marinades and dressings.  For a more intense and robust flavour, I make fermented honey garlic.  I always have a jar in my pantry as a cooking staple, and to drizzle on dishes at the last minute for a punch of extra flavour. 


Fermented honey garlic after 4 days

It might sound counterintuitive to use honey as a fermentation medium due to its antimicrobial properties.  Honey’s low pH (acidity) and extremely low water content help to kill off any invading microbes.   However, by simply increasing the water content obtained by the juices released by the garlic, honey’s smothering antibacterial defence is weakened.  Beneficial bacteria are allowed entry and the wild yeasts that were dormant in raw honey are stimulated.  These yeasts kickstart the fermentation process by consuming the glucose and fructose found in the honey (and fructose from garlic), producing alcohol, carbon dioxide and acetic acid.  These fermentation byproducts, along with keeping the ferment in an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment, preserve the food and create amazing flavour.


Studies have shown that both garlic and honey can be beneficial to preventing sickness.  Ongoing research has linked garlic as preventative to heart disease, lowering cholesterol and helping to prevent the common cold. 

Organic garlic

Honey has been used for its antibacterial properties for centuries as an healing aid for wounds and as a soother for sore throats!  There are many who swear by consuming fermented honey garlic cloves daily to ward off any cold or flu bugs.

Not only is this a super healthy duo, fermented honey garlic honey is also delicious!  It makes an excellent glaze on meat, fish and grilled tofu.  I like to add it to vinaigrettes and brush it on pizza crust just before the pizza is ready to be taken out of the oven.


Raw, unpasteurized honey and organic garlic

Fermentation Time: 1-12 months*

*Fermented honey garlic can be ready in a month, but is best left for longer as it improves with age. If you are concerned about botulism, which is a very rare occurrence in a honey ferment, test with a pH strip or monitor.  A reading under 4.6 is considered safe since the botulism spores cannot survive in an acidic and anaerobic environment.


  • 1 cup peeled organic garlic cloves**
  • 1 cup raw, unpasteurized honey
  • Glass jar with lid

**  the ratio is approximately 1 cup of cloves to 1 cup of honey


  1. Slightly crush peeled garlic cloves.  Add to jar.
  2. Cover garlic cloves completely with honey, leaving a ½” space from the top of the jar.

    Cover garlic with honey

  3. Close jar and place on a plate (to catch any overflow) at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
  4. The garlic cloves will naturally float for a period of time (for at least a month) Shake or invert the jar daily to keep the garlic covered in honey.
  5. The honey might start to foam during the fermentation process and will become more watery.  The garlic cloves will darken in colour.

    2-month-old fermented honey garlic

  6. Store at room temperature in a sealed container.
  1. Lora says:

    Can I use the leftover honey from the last batch of fermented garlic/honey in the next batch? I would still need to add more honey.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Lora- thanks for your question. There are conflicting views on “backslopping” (using liquid from a previous ferment to start a new ferment). Some report success, however, remember that the most successful ferment happens in stages. Different strains of microbes manipulate the ferment’s environment for the next species of microbes to take over. For example, the first stage of microbes (depending on the ferment) might be aerobic, thereby consuming all the oxygen in the sealed fermentation container. This strain dies off and the subsequent strains which are anaerobic will thrive, create acidity, resulting in an environment inhospitable to pathogens. In short, I would recommend to start with new honey for the most successful and safe ferment.

  2. Uma says:

    How do I make kefir grains and kombucha from scratch? I dwell in a place where the mother kombucha and kefir grains are no where to be found and people arw hardly aware of it. Please help.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Uma- thanks for your question. It is not possible to make milk kefir grains from scratch, however you can purchase them online. I’m not sure where you are located, but I know that there are sellers on Etsy. If you let me know what city you live in, I might be able to recommend some producers. Alternatively, the website, http://www.culturesforhealth sells dehydrated cultures such as milk kefir, water kefir and kombucha. Dehydrated cultures are difficult to reanimate, but it’s worth trying if you can’t find fresh cultures. You can make your own kombucha culture from a bottle of unpasteurized commercial kombucha. I made my own using GT Kombucha (I used the plain one, but you can try other flavours if plain is not available). Unpasteurized kombucha will generally have a SCOBY in the bottle. I added the entire contents to a batch of sweetened tea, followed the recipe to make kombucha (see my the article on my site) and over time, I was able to grow a SCOBY.

  3. Maria says:

    Are we supposed to cover it during this process? What is an airlock or Fido jar? I have mine in a regular glass jar with a screw on lid. I literally just poured the honey over the garlic.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Maria, thanks for your question. Yes, you can use a regular glass jar with a screw on lid. Just make sure to agitate the jar daily to ensure the garlic cloves are coated in the honey. Over time, the honey will saturate the garlic, and it will naturally sink below the surface. The drawback of using standard jars, is that you need to burp it to release built-up Co2. Fido jars are designed to allow the contents to escape (gasses and/or liquid)- they are self-burping. If you Google Fido jars, you can see the example of this jar. As for airlocks, this article explains a few easy airlock systems that can be used to eliminate built-up CO2

  4. Sheila says:

    How do know when it’s ready?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      HI Sheila- thanks for your interest and question. The honey garlic should be ready in about a month, but it also depends on the freshness of the garlic. I recently fermented locally grown garlic and the ferment was very active (the garlic was very fresh and had a high water content). The longer you leave the honey garlic to ferment, the better the flavours will be. Try and be patient and leave it to ferment for a year- if you can’t wait that long, make a few batches and sample them after different periods of time to compare flavours.

  5. David says:

    I fermented mine for a week in the sunlight, at a pretty high temperature, 85-90 degrees, is it still okay to consume? I hadn’t read the keep in a cool dark place part.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi David- Thanks for your question. While it is always better to keep most ferments out of direct sunlight (unless you are making Indian achar pickles), the ferment should be fine- did you see any foaming or bubbles (an visible indication of fermentation)? Fermented honey garlic is at its best the longer you leave it. Just keep an eye on it for any mold growth and make sure to agitate it daily until the garlic has sunk below the surface of the honey.

  6. Kathy says:

    I wonder if it would be more beneficial to use Manuka honey in this for medicinal purposes or will any raw honey work just as well? Thanks. I am really anxious to try this. I love honey and I love garlic.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Kathy-absolutely! Manuka honey is amazing! I have been reading up on it lately and would love to use it not just as food, but topically as well. Any honey that is unpasteurized is great for the honey-garlic ferment. Garlic is in season right now, so it’s best to use the locally-grown garlic for awesome results!

  7. nestor p. polo says:

    How many cloves of fermented garlic should be consumed in a day?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Nestor- I don’t think there is a limit to how many fermented garlic cloves can be consumed per day. Many people swear by eating fermented garlic to ward off cold and flu viruses and increase consumption during the winter. I suppose it would be personal preference. I would personally eat 1 per day so as not to go through my stash too quickly (fermented honey garlic is at its best the longer it ages).

  8. Joanna says:

    My fermenting garlic is super foamy looking. Is that ok

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Joanna- yes foam/bubbles are fine, it’s a good indication that fermentation is underway. Since your ferment is super active, make sure to put a plate under your jar to avoid spill over. Also burp it if you are not using an airlock or a fido jar. What kind of garlic did you use? Was it local, organic, etc?

  9. art says:

    why does my 28 day fermented garlic and honey rasre so awfull.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Art- Thanks for your question. It is still early in the ferment, the garlic and honey will improve over time, however some love the taste after a month. Not sure what you mean by “awful” taste. Is it bitter, rancid, too strong, etc ?

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