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Experimenting with Honey Ferments

Our kitchen counter is covered with colourful jars full of honey ferments and we're already loving this new way of playing with honey. I am not ready yet to share tried & true recipes, but I will share enough of our process that you can jump in and start experimenting along with us! I will say that it's a pretty fool-proof process so far with some very yummy results.

It all started with some honey fermented cranberries. This batch was an experiment and we liked it so much that we roasted a turkey just so we could enjoy it (We also enjoyed it with a sharp cheddar cheese on toast, and in porridge).

The first batch is long gone already, but two more large jars have taken its place and are starting to show signs of life.

We've also got honey fermented garlic, honey fermented peppers, and honey fermented lemons on the go.

How it works

Honey that is below 18% moisture content will not ferment. This is why we say that honey never really goes bad.

But when you introduce fruits and/or veggies, the relatively 'dry' honey will pull the moisture from them and reach a moisture content that is possible to ferment.

What we're doing is basically controlled 'spoiling' of the honey. You need RAW honey for this to work best.

Some basics of honey fermenting

Fermenting in honey is much more fool proof than regular fermenting. You don't need weights or a fancy lid, and any size jar will do.

You will need a leakproof lid on whatever jar you choose so that you can flip it a couple times a day. You will also want to loosen the jar to 'burp' it twice a day while the fermentation is active. Never fill the jar more than 3/4 as there is a small rise of liquid when you burp it.

Once you are happy with the flavour (taste testing with a clean spoon is encouraged!), you can put it in the fridge to stop the fermentation. Depending on what fruits/veggies you used, you can remove them or leave them in.

If you plan to sell/gift any, it should be pasteurized.

The basic how-to

Choose a jar based on the amount of honey you want to use. You'll want to be able to fill the jar at least half-way with honey (but don't do that yet!). First, add your fruits/veggies. If they are densely spaced, fill the jar half-way. If they are larger pieces that are more loosely spaced, fill the jar to 2/3. Then, pour in honey to cover. Do not fill the jar to more than 3/4.

Flip and burp the jar twice a day for 2+ weeks. This is the experimental part, as some ferments start more quickly than others. Once you start to see bubbles and hear pressure release when you burp the jar, you're in active fermentation.

Taste test occasionally and when you are happy with the flavour, pop it in the fridge to halt the fermentation.

At this point, you need to choose what to do with the solids. You can either leave them in as they are, throw it all in the blender to create a final product with a jam-like consistency, or remove them and have only the syrupy substance remaining. You may think of a creative use for the solids like dehydrating them or storing and enjoying them separately.

Note that the honey now has a higher moisture content and the 'never spoils' rule no longer applies. The ferment must be kept in the fridge and free of contamination (no double dipping!).

Honey ferment ideas

So far we've tried:

  • cranberries, citrus, and cinnamon

  • lemons and limes

  • garlic

  • assorted peppers (This one gets HOOOOOOT! Next time, we will only add 1/4 cup of peppers to 2 lbs of honey)

Things we want to try next:

  • Blackberries and vanilla pod

  • Pomegranate seed

  • Lemon and ginger

  • Peaches


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