Author Topic: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)  (Read 12428 times)

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Offline PaleoPhil

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How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« on: May 11, 2011, 07:37:40 am »
Has anyone tried fermenting raw honey (and I don't mean mead making)? A guy at another forum asked and I'm curious myself. I know it involves a little moisture and warmth (not heating) and probably some exposure to air.


>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Lascjp

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 08:22:58 am »
The process you're describing produces mead. I'm not sure what you are referring to as mead, but that is what will happen if you add a little extra water to raw, unheated honey and then cap it. It doesn't even really need much warmth, but temperature will determine fermentation rate. In order to make it easier to sweeten things like coffee and tea and egg smoothies, I usually take a glass mason jar, put 1 part raw honey and one part water in to it. The honey dissolves in the water  and if left sealed for any length of time it will begin to ferment. You know this because each time you remove the lid, you hear a rush of air escape, the gasses produced during fermentation.

In fact, fermentation will occur even under refrigeration, but again it will take longer at that temp.

It is quite delicious, but if you leave it for a long time, depending on moisture content it can become quite potent, I believe 13-16% alcohol, which isn't bad considering all you did was to add water. I don't like the taste of alcohol and here is no exception, but it's not bad as far as alcoholic beverages go. Sometimes I will add large amounts of lemon or lime juice, fresh squeezed in to it and mMmm, nummers!
Been RVAF since Nov '07. Taught myself with the internet, and by experimenting. All healed up now, except I'm sure there's still some gunk in here to detox but for the most part, all healthy!
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Offline Haai

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 04:07:48 pm »
Mead is a drink. I think paleophil wants fermented honey that you can eat, not drink. I guess just adding enough water to wet the honey might work?
Sometimes when I buy honeycomb sold in sealed plastic boxes some of it has unintentionally fermented and you can taste and smell the alcohol in it.
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Offline Lascjp

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 07:26:01 pm »
Oh for sure. Yeah you would just add only a little bit of water, but it's still going to ferment in to alcohol like you said. I guess the amount of moisture you add would set the limit for how much fermentation could take place.  If you add too little water, if I remember correctly very little will happen. I think I tried that back when I first tried to ferment and nothing came of it so I went to the other extreme and mixed 1 part water with 1 part honey. You will have to experiment to get your desired effect.
Been RVAF since Nov '07. Taught myself with the internet, and by experimenting. All healed up now, except I'm sure there's still some gunk in here to detox but for the most part, all healthy!
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My goal is to put germ theory in it's place before I move on to my next body or dimension. For me, it's really the root of all 'evil' on this planet. If we could wipe out disease, then we could focus on real endeavors, like exploring the universe!

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 11:53:42 pm »
Thanks, Haai, you understood me correctly. Yes, CitrusHigh, I am familiar with what mead is, thanks. I can understand not seeing clearly the difference between mead and raw fermented honey because I was surprised myself when I learned that there's a significant difference. I've often consumed both mead and raw fermented honey and I can assure you that the difference is quite noticeable. Like Haai said, mead is a liquid beverage, whereas raw fermented honey is a thick, sticky product that looks like honey. I hope the following clarifies it further:

Quote
"Since early times, man has made fermented drinks with honey. The most important was mead, an alcoholic beverage, enjoyed by the English and Russians. The word derives from the Sanskrit word for honey, which is madhu. A similar drink called t’ej is popular in Ethiopia.

What is less well known is the fact that honey itself can ferment, if it contains enough residual moisture [please note that it's not equal parts water or anywhere near that] and is left in a warm place–honey ferments but never spoils! Fermented honey actually expands somewhat, and develops rich flavors. It is an even better aid to digestion than regular honey.

The recipes in the sidebar all call for raw, unfiltered honey, preferably fermented, and all involve lactic-acid fermentation to which the honey contributes. In all of them, the enzymes are preserved, as none require high temperatures to prepare." --Sally Fallon, http://planetthrive.com/2007/08/benefits-of-raw-fermented-honey/

So the biggest difference is that mead requires a lot more water, which produces a product that is much more alcoholic. Mead looks like wine, a liquid beverage and often semi-clear, whereas raw fermented honey does not look much different from standard raw honey. Here's an image of the standard Really Raw brand honey, and I can't see any difference between the appearance of that vs. the fermented honey I buy from them, based on this image: , though I'll bet there is some difference that I could see if I held both products up closely together and examined them.

Here's an image of the mead I've had:

Also, from what I've read, commercial mead usually employs added brewer's yeast, rather than relying on the natural yeast in the honey. Sometimes grain mash, spices, fruit, or hops is added to mead.

Sally Fallon provides some hints on how to make your own fermented honey, but she doesn't give much in the way of details. I'm guessing that one just adds a drop or two of water, keeps the jar open a crack and keeps it in a mildly warm place. I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has made their own raw fermented honey (not mead).

Please no one post about mead again in this thread. I know it's well intentioned, but I would prefer if possible that this thread stay on the subject of raw fermented honey containing no more than trace amounts of alcohol, even after being stored for lengthy time periods. On the Internet there is already much confusing of raw fermented honey with mead and I was hoping to avoid that. Thanks.

Oh for sure. Yeah you would just add only a little bit of water, but it's still going to ferment in to alcohol like you said.
The Really Raw brand of fermented honey does not taste alcoholic, nor does it noticeably have any of the effects of alcohol, and their spokesperson assured me that there is at most only trace amounts of alcohol in it.

RFH is more of a fermented food like sauerkraut than a fermented beverage. Sauerkraut is raw fermented cabbage which also contains a trace amount of alcohol (about 0.25% ethyl alcohol" according to the Handbook of indigenous fermented foods By Keith H. Steinkraus). No one would mistake sauerkraut for an alcoholic beverage (at least I hope not :P ).

Quote
I guess the amount of moisture you add would set the limit for how much fermentation could take place.  If you add too little water, if I remember correctly very little will happen. I think I tried that back when I first tried to ferment and nothing came of it so I went to the other extreme and mixed 1 part water with 1 part honey. You will have to experiment to get your desired effect.
Yes, it probably does require some experimentation and I was hoping that someone might have had success with making their own fermented honey like the Really Raw brand, which is thick and creamy rather than watery and has no alcoholic taste or effect, rather than your 50-50 semi-mead mix.

If I ever learn how to do it, I'll share what I learn here. If I'm successful I'll have the option of buying local honey and fermenting it myself instead of relying completely on expensive product shipped across country.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline eveheart

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 02:35:59 am »
High moisture (18.6%) and tempurature above 80 deg. F. is what is cited as conditions for honey to ferment. Source: http://www.gobeekeeping.com/lesson%20seven.htm

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 05:57:01 am »
Thanks for the info.

[From the article at the link:] "This causes honey to have a sour taste.    It is recommended that if honey is to be stored for any length of time, it should have a moisture content of around 17%.  The honey yeast are not able to grow at cool temperatures.  So if honey is stored at below 50 degrees F., the yeast will not grow and are not able to grow and cause fermentation.   Fermented honey can be feed back to the bees but it is unfit for human consumption."

LOL! Sour taste? Unfit for human consumption? Either Really Raw's fermented honey is not really fermented (pun intended :) ) or these folks don't know what they're talking about. It's the best tasting honey that I've tried yet, and I've tried probably close to a dozen at this point. There was a slight sort-of-sour taste along with the sweet taste the first time I tried a little, but after that it has tasted purely sweet.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline eveheart

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 07:47:08 am »
To the beekeeper with a demand for unfermented honey, fermented honey means a spoiled crop. These are the same producers that kill (heat) their honey to make it shelf-stable.

What a strange sterile world we live in.

Offline Lascjp

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 11:11:24 am »
Glad to see you got your info Phil! That sally fallon quote is where I first got the idea to ferment honey, But though I added significant residual moisture nothing happened, I'm guessing the temp wasn't sufficient. Will have to give it a go again!
Been RVAF since Nov '07. Taught myself with the internet, and by experimenting. All healed up now, except I'm sure there's still some gunk in here to detox but for the most part, all healthy!
_________________________________
My goal is to put germ theory in it's place before I move on to my next body or dimension. For me, it's really the root of all 'evil' on this planet. If we could wipe out disease, then we could focus on real endeavors, like exploring the universe!

Offline Josh

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2011, 08:33:07 pm »
It's all mead though Phil seriously.






Just joking. I'm interested in trying this. I will leave a jar of honey out with a little water sometime.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 05:26:50 am »
Ha ha, I like how you put the joke message further down to make me wonder whether you were serious, Josh. Yeah, it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine because every single time without fail that I mention raw fermented honey to family, friends or online, someone says something like "I don't know if it's such a good idea to eat fermented honey with all that alcohol in it" or "that's called mead" or such. l) Then it tends to take two, three or more tries to explain it. Doesn't anger me though; just a might frustrating. I'm learning that I have to really spell it out any time I mention raw fermented honey to someone who doesn't know what it is. Even most of the beekeepers don't fully understand fermented honey. It's almost a completely lost art. Thank goodness the Really Raw folks are reviving it. I'll bet the beekeepers must think Really Raw are crazy for asking them to make fermented honey for them.  :D
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline zeno

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2011, 06:08:29 am »
Quote
The optimum temperature for honey fermentation is above 80 degrees F.

I am going to set my honey jar on the water heater and see if the added temperature doesn't help it to ferment.

PaleoPhil, please try to ferment some honey and let us know how it goes!

I think I will pass this information about fermented honey on to local, raw honey producers and ask they try their hand at fermented honey. 

;D

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2011, 09:53:23 am »
Tonight I added fermented honey to unfermented, to see if the fermented will innoculate the unfermented.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline eveheart

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2011, 10:31:07 am »
My experiment has 50 g honey + 10 g water, which is my crude estimate of 20% moisture. I didn't know the moisture of the honey to begin with, but I assumed it was 17%. No starter. Aerobic container (allows air in, filters dust/bugs out). Warm area of the house.

Offline zeno

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2011, 09:28:42 pm »
Great! Keep us informed!

Offline eveheart

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2011, 05:27:11 am »
My experiment has 50 g honey + 10 g water, which is my crude estimate of 20% moisture. I didn't know the moisture of the honey to begin with, but I assumed it was 17%. No starter. Aerobic container (allows air in, filters dust/bugs out). Warm area of the house.

Results: ...three months later... i tasted my little dollop of hydrous honey, and it had gotten a little tangy. I didn't see any visible signs of fermentation, though. When I said, "Warm area of the house," it was a relative term - I don't live in a very warm part of the country. Conclusion: Fermenting honey is not my new favorite hobby. I was cleaning out the kitchen, and I decided that I didn't want a random jar of honey hanging around, so the experiment is over.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2011, 06:01:18 am »
Yeah, nothing much happened with my experiment either, even though I added some fermented honey, hoping it would seed the unfermented honey.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline eveheart

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2011, 12:29:33 pm »
I actually had one of my jars of honey from last year "go" fermented. It was not due to anything I did intentionally. It tastes great. Over on the runny honey thread, I mentioned that I bought a few jars of runny honey from the same apiary this year... and now I'm wondering how to deliberately ferment it. I know the theory - moisture plus temperature. How can I implement it? Ideas? Yes, I can buy the already-fermented stuff, but I'm just a farm-girl at heart.

Offline zeno

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2011, 10:17:01 am »
PaleoPhil,

I say you get to the bottom of this mystery and inquire directly to Really Raw about their fermentation technique. That, or find a way to understand this through the cultures in Africa that fermented honey.


Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2011, 10:35:51 am »
Good thoughts, thanks. I did find a snippet about Maasai mead, which is probably a similar technique, but not a thorough description.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline zeno

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2011, 10:50:22 am »
I doubt this information could be withheld from the public under the guise of "trade secret".

Offline eveheart

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2011, 11:32:33 am »
I doubt this information could be withheld from the public under the guise of "trade secret".


Nobody is calling it a trade secret; rather, fermented honey is considered spoilage by many beekeepers. Google returns 2 million hits on "fermented honey" - combing through a few, they look like this one:

http://gobeekeeping.com/lesson%20seven.htm
Honey is hydroscopic which means that honey will absorb moisture.  If the moisture content of honey exceeds 18.6%, honey will tend to ferment.  The fermentation yeast in the honey will turn the sugars of the honey into alcohol.  This causes honey to have a sour taste.    It is recommended that if honey is to be stored for any length of time, it should have a moisture content of around 17%.  The honey yeast are not able to grow at cool temperatures.  So if honey is stored at below 50 degrees F., the yeast will not grow and are not able to grow and cause fermentation.   Fermented honey can be fed back to the bees but it is unfit for human consumption.  Honey can be frozen and that is a good way to keep honey for long periods of time.  The optimum temperature for honey fermentation is above 80 degrees F.

~OR~ they lead to reallyrawhoney or mead.

Honey doesn't readily ferment like cabbage. I've never gotten a batch of kimchi that refused to ferment, no matter what the temperature. Honey is plain picky.

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2011, 01:30:06 pm »
Quote
Fermented honey can be feed back to the bees but it is unfit for human consumption.

    Pasteurized honey is physically sickening to me.  I must be a bee, nope, checked...I am human.  Who the heck says fermented honey can't be eaten by humans?  I've gotten unheated honey at a big discount in the healthfood store because it had a date stamp on it that said it would spoil in one year, and the honey was perfect, I'm glad I asked if I could buy it.  Hey, wasn't honey one of the foods that can stay good thousands of years in a castle or tomb?  Seeds are the other I know of.  Maybe fermented honey is so good that they have to scare us away from it.
"Genuine truth angers people in general because they don't know what to do with the energy generated by a glimpse of reality." Greg W. Goodwin

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2011, 04:38:49 am »
I’ll definitely be updating the blog with any news on the outcome.

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Re: How ferment raw honey? (Not Mead)
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2011, 04:58:18 am »
    There's no blog "Steve80" Pak20

It was spam.