Fermented Lilac Honey
Honey is one of the easiest ferments to do, and at the same time one of the most delicious. At Kadeau we preserve almost all foods available to us in the wild nature and in our gardens, but honey is one of our favorite ferments.
During spring we’re busy pouring raw honey from our more than 100.000 bees over lilacs, elderflowers, black currant leaves, sweet cicely, meadowsweet and many other flowers and young shoots. Berries and fruits are also soaked in the thick golden liquid as the season passes.
Honey is a simple fermentation medium. The unpasteurized fresh honey contains a lot of natural yeast. The yeast won’t ferment due to the high sugar content. A beekeeper’s dream is to make honey with as little moisture as possible. In theory it could last forever.
What we do is to pour water into the fresh honey to lower the sugar content, creating an environment where the yeast can start working, the beekeeper’s nightmare. Honey in it self is overpoweringly sweet. It is hard to distinguish all the different flavors due to the sweetness. When the yeast ferments the sugar in the honey, fruity esters and alcohol is produced. Honey doesn’t contain much of the essential nutrition that the yeast needs to survive. The fermentation will stop eventually, but with a lot of sweetness left for us to enjoy. The true flavor and fragrance of the honey is now revealed and a syrup with lower viscosity, where you can taste almost every flower of our garden; fruitier, lighter, slightly more sour and extremely delicious. When we add berries, herbs and flowers to the honey, another layer is added to the flavor. Either way the result is fantastic. Good luck!
7 dl raw honey
1 dl warm water
A jar full of freshly foraged lilacs with the bitter stems removed (or any edible flowers or herbs)
Add the warm water to the honey and mix it until dissolved. Put the liquid in the jar and cover tightly with a lid and store the jar in a dark place at room temperature for 2-3 month. Be sure to open the jar once in a while to prevent explosion. It can be hard to see when the honey is done. When the lid says: “poof”, we let it ferment for an additional week or two. Once the fermentation is done, it will keep fragrant and tasty for years.