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Nelle Jervis shares a garlic honey recipe to boost your immune system and treat winter colds, without offending the neighbours.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love garlic…. I have never understood the much feared “garlic breath” after lunch or the lingering smell in the kitchen after cooking dinner. I add it to everything, and in vast amounts – sometimes to the horror of people around me. I was on holiday with friends in the spring and caught a nasty cold. I made myself up some raw garlic, honey, lemon and apple cider vinegar in our apartment, much to the dismay of my friend’s boyfriend who avoided me, and the kitchen, for a good 24 hours. Incidentally, it was he who gave me the cold in the first place so on balance I think we are even now.
For many, consuming raw garlic may feel like a step too far. However, as with many vegetables and herbs, consuming raw garlic can offer greater health benefits then when it is cooked. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-bacterial. Raw garlic retains more allicin then cooked, however this compound will still be present when garlic is cooked so you can still benefit whichever way you consume it.
If you are interested in reaping the benefits of raw garlic, without your eyes watering and people around you running for the hills (!), then garlic honey might be the thing for you. Over time, I have found that the pieces of garlic become crystalised in the honey, similar to crystallised ginger, and can have a really sweet and pleasant taste. You could have a spoonful raw first thing in the morning, add to hot water with lemon, use in a salad dressing or add to savoury dishes such as soups, strews and stir fries for depth of flavour. Garlic honey is also fermented, which further increases its health benefits and really adds to the flavour.
I feel that it would be rude to continue to the recipe without first paying some attention to our marvellous friend, honey. Raw honey is such a wonder, not only tasty and delicious but also a powerful healer. Honey is antibacterial, like garlic, and is a great aid to sore throats and colds. Honey contains antioxidants and can help aid digestion, as well as containing iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Fun fact: Honey is anti-septic and therefore never goes off (unless it is fermented, such as in this recipe), and the oldest honey discovered dates back 5,500 years – it would still be edible, if you were feeling brave enough… When combined with garlic, it’s no wonder this power couple is my favourite go to through the winter months!
How to make Garlic Honey:
My recipe uses vague quantities of ingredients, so you can vary it depending on the volume of honey and garlic you have to use or how much you want to make. If you would like a more specific recipe, you can find one here: Fermented Garlic and Honey – Rootsy Network
- A 2/3rds full jar of raw honey.
- Several cloves of chopped garlic – enough to fill the jar leaving some space at the top for fermentation.
Take a clean, sterilised glass jar (ideally the same size or larger than the jar of raw honey) and fill halfway with thinly sliced or cubed garlic.
Cover the garlic with honey, stirring to ensure all of the garlic is submerged.
Stir and “burp” the garlic honey every day over the next 7-14 days. “Burping” is what I call it when you lift the lid on a ferment every day to release the gases which have built up.
The honey will become more liquidy as the garlic ferments and should turn a darker colour.
You can pop your Garlic Honey in the fridge to halt the fermentation process and keep. You could also keep in the cupboard which will prolong the fermentation process.
- You might want to use the jar that your honey has come in. In this case, pour the honey into a warm bowl or jug, clean out the honey jar, and after adding the garlic to the jar pour the honey back in.
- The flavour will mature over time, I have found that it has become sweeter and milder the longer I have kept it. In the early stages of fermenting, it may have a more “zingy” flavour, great for salad dressings!