Now is the perfect time of year to do a project like this. Garlic is well known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties, and has even been shown to enhance activation of the immune system. As flu season comes upon us, so do the darker days of winter in which our bodies tend to be more prone to infection. Less sunlight means we get less vitamin D, another potent immune booster. So fall is the time to start taking your preventative medicines like Elderberry and Elderflower (both can be found in our immunity shot and Defense + Protein Shake), and yes, in garlic and honey.
I love the simplicity of this recipe, which also has the added benefit of the natural probiotics that form during fermentation. Because it’s fermented, it’s easier to digest, which means our bodies can more readily use the beneficial compounds found in this food. Studies have even shown that the antioxidant effect of garlic is stronger in fermented garlic than in fresh. Antioxidants are found in a variety of foods and they act to counter cellular and molecular damage in the body and to combat inflammation. Just another reason to eat your garlic in this manner.
Honey is a superfood in itself as well. Studies have shown it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to decrease oxidative stress (that cellular damage we were talking about earlier) in the body. Given that inflammation is the source of a number of chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and arthritis among others, anti-inflammatory foods like honey are important to pay attention to and to incorporate into our diets intentionally.
To start, you’ll want to get the freshest ingredients possible, so if you can, try to use garlic from a local farmer’s market, or at the very least, opt for organic whole unpeeled garlic. If you’ve grown your own, even better! Same goes for the honey. You’ll want it to be as local as possible and it needs to be raw. If the honey has been heated or processed at all the fermentation won’t work, as we need the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria present in the honey.
1-2 heads garlic, peeled
8-12 oz raw local honey
1, 8-12 oz clean glass jar with lid
Peel the garlic, making sure to cut off the root end and any bits that have browned. If you want you can smash the cloves to help release some of the juices.
Add your cloves to a small clean jar and simply pour the honey over the cloves leaving an inch or so of space at the top of the jar. It’s okay if the cloves don’t stay submerged in the honey. Screw on the lid and place the jar in a part of the house that is cool and away from sunlight.
Every 24 hours flip the jar to ensure all the cloves are getting a honey bath :) After a week, your cloves will be ready to eat!
Ways to use Garlic Honey
Try eating a clove a day and see how you feel. You can also use the garlic honey in your home cooking. Try adding it to a veggie stir fry along with some coconut aminos and rice vinegar for a delicious asian inspired sauce, or add a teaspoon to a mug of apple cider to make a spicy hot toddy that’ll chase the flu away.
Using only a teaspoon of honey per serving is a good way to make sure you’re getting the benefits of the garlic honey, but not too much sugar at once. Also, the micronutrients in the honey that are naturally occurring help to balance the effects of the sugar and slow its absorption into the bloodstream. Of course, if you are diabetic, take precautions and talk to your doctor if you are concerned about the effects of honey on your blood sugar.
Note that since this is a fermented product, the garlic will produce gas bubbles throughout the fermentation process, which means you may need to “burp” your jar by opening the lid once every few days. And remember that though this is a potent preventative medicine, it is part of the holistic tradition. So to prevent from getting sick this season, make sure you are taking care of your whole body through exercise, getting adequate sleep, nourishing your nervous system, and of course, eating balanced plant-based meals whenever possible.