Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime...Please, treat your garlic with respect...Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic!~Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain was right about garlic, I do not disagree, however, there is something equally, if not more so, divine than garlic, which also deserves to be treated with the upmost care and respect. Honey! But you knew that already, otherwise you wouldn't be here reading this blog. Honey is the result of nectar from flowering plants dining on the sun collected by busy honeybees and turned into something magical. Honey is the alchemical result of light captured by one of Mother Nature's most amazing alchemists-the honeybees!
Humans have been using honey for centuries and its long shelf life and medicinal properties make it unique, multipurpose natural product-in its raw state of course. It is a culinary stable in many kitchens around the world. Raw honey is my focus as pasteurized honey has been heated to remove impurities along with all of its nutritional qualities, essentially, pasteurized honey is nothing more that sugary syrup robbed of all its natural goodness.
Raw honey is known to have high levels of monosaccharides, fructose, and glucose, and it contains about 70 to 80 percent sugar which provides it sweetness. Honey also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Modern medical science has found ways to use honey in chronic wound management and combating infection. So, yes, honey is divine!
Garlic, also is a staple in many kitchens and culinary cuisines around the world. It too has medicinal properties that are quite good for us humans! The Father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates himself, (circa. 460-370 BC) prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Raw garlic is best for its anti-inflammatory effects as heating garlic, even just short-term heating, reduces the effects. There is research that has found promising results by using garlic for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart; atherosclerosis (hardening of the arties), high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.
There is ongoing research being done using garlic in the prevention of certain cancers; lung, prostate, breast, stomach, rectal, brain and colon cancers. Garlic is an amazing little Allium! Which brings me to the next best marriage since chocolate and peanut butter- raw garlic and raw honey!
When we chop, slice, mince, or crush garlic it does something quite cool, it develops a component called Allicin. Its a defense mechanism in the wild to keep animals and such away from the garlic plant. Allicin, turns out, has amazing antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties according to research done by the University of Maryland Medical Center.
When we combine raw garlic that has been chopped, sliced, minced or crushed with raw honey, magic happens! So, while Anthony Bourdain cursed garlic rotting in oil in screw top jars, my bet is, he would be A-OK with the heavenly combination of divine garlic fermenting in the divine liquid gold we call honey! It tastes great on pizza, drizzled on bread, and used when grilling and cooking meats but when you eat it raw, you are combining all their health benefits. There is some research indicating that a teaspoon of garlic honey a day helps boost immunity during cold and flu season. Its anti-bacterial properties has shown some promise in soothing allergies and common cold symptoms. Some people claim that a teaspoon a day helps nourish skin and give you an everlasting glow.
Warm garlic honey tea may help with a sore throat as well. I always make garlic honey in early fall and use it all the way through the winter. I also love to add a dash of cayenne pepper to it for an added kick on my pizza, bread, or mixed with a vinegar or mustard to create a salad dressing!
Fermented Garlic Honey Recipe: 2 cups organic whole garlic cloves slightly crushed 2 cups or more raw honey to cover garlic. (I use my own honey obviously, but I recommend purchasing raw honey from your local businesses.) I used a Fido 1 liter Bormioli Rocco Clamp Canning Jar Peel all your garlic and place into a wide-mouth jar. Add enough honey to completely cover the garlic cloves. Place the lid on the jar, then tuck it away into a dark place. Wait three days and open the jar to burp it! Essentially you are just releasing the built up pressure that occurs during the fermentation. Seal back up, flip jar every few days to ensure all garlic is getting coated. Allow this mixture to ferment for a few weeks up to one whole month before using it. Always burp the jar when you start noticing the bubbles building up otherwise you run the risk of shattering your jar and leaking garlic honey all over!
DISCLAIMER: EAT AT OWN RISK. **Some people don't do this, but I do** Please note that Botulism does not survive in an acidic environment below 4.6 on a pH scale, if it goes above 4.6 on a pH meter, just as a splash of Apple Cider vinegar, test it again and make sure you brought that pH level back down. This is a trick that works for many fermentation processes, especially those including honey. If you are worried about having an acidic taste, don't be, you are using so little, that it is undetectable in finished products.
Having said that, keep in mind also, that honey isn't a good environment for botulinum. It is too sour and way too dry, but it gets a bad rap when babies that are too young to eat raw foods are given raw honey and such. Garlic deserves caution because it can grow botulinum, however really slowly. You cannot preserve it in oil because botulinum is the first thing that will grow in it. You must use brine, vinegar, wine or something that kills nasty Clostridia. It is unlikely botulinum will grow in fermented garlic honey, correctly fermenting produces lactic acid, but it doesn't hurt to test pH levels to be on the safe side- always err on the side of caution. The act of fermenting does not always directly kill off C. botulinum. Fermenting lowers the pH which will kill C. botulinum IF IT DROPS TO A SUFFICIENT LEVEL. People often miss this fact that fermenting alone does not guarantee a specific pH level.
While Raw Honey and Raw Garlic are noted to have many medicinal properties and there does exist numerous research and studies outlining this, never try to self-treat any condition with garlic and or honey without first consulting a registered licensed medical professional. It is recommended that using herbs, honey, garlic, etc. for holistic treatments of any kind be done under the supervision of a healthcare provider qualified in botanical medicine. I am not making any absolute medical claims or any claims really, other than garlic honey is yummy! There are many ways to research garlic honey benefits, feel free to message me and I will send you some great links to start with!
Sources & Additional Reading:
The Health Benefits of Allicin Allicin and other functional active components in garlic: health benefits and bioavailability Garlic: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning- WebMD Fermented Garlic Honey-bon appetit recipe