At first I was skeptical. Wouldn’t fermented lemons taste weird? Plus, I’m not a huge fan of honey. (Please ignore that fact that I buy honey by the gallon to make vats of mead.) However! I do love my ginger lemon tea and the fermented lemon method sounded simple enough — stuff lemon slices into a jar, top with honey, and let sit on the counter for two weeks — that I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least try it.
At first I used the lemon honey to sweeten tea, but then I started skipping the tea bag all together — just hot water with a lemon slice and a couple spoonfuls of honey — and liked it even more. The clincher: my husband, a non-tea-drinking man actually requests it.
I got the recipe from Kate over at Venison for Dinner. According to her, the honey is supposed to actively bubble while it’s fermenting. Mine doesn’t, and I’m not sure why. The first time I used local honey from friends of ours, and the second time I used half local honey and half Costco honey, and it acted the same. I decided I don’t care, though. Bubbles or no, it’s still good.
I added a pile of fresh ginger the second time around
A few observations:
- The lemon flavor is mild, as is the ginger; honey is the predominant flavor.
- There’s no fermentation funk. Instead, the flavor is simply fuller. More robust. Umami-ish?
- Once lemons are added, the honey becomes quite runny.
- This tea is both warming and nourishing, like a food.
- Boiling water kills the good stuff in the honey, so if that matters to you, just use warm water.
- Curiosity #1: When mixing the honey and warm water, there’s a cap of froth — from the fermented honey?
- Curiosity #2: Lemon slices in the tea sink to the bottom instead of floating.
- Come summertime, I bet this would be good mixed with seltzer water and ice.
- Kate adds hot chilis to some of her jars; I think fresh thyme would be nice.
P.S. People, THIS MUG. A family friend (and distant relative by marriage) learned that I’ve been hankering after an oversized ceramic mug and gifted me this glorious beast that she made with her own two hands. I drink out of it almost daily (fermented lemon tea, naturally).
I’ve never been more hydrated.
Fermented Lemon Honey
With inspiration from Kate at Venison for Dinner
3 lemons, washed well and thinly sliced, pithy ends removed
3-4 cups honey
Pack the lemons into a quart jar. Top with honey. Ferment the lemons on the counter at room temperature for 2-4 weeks, flipping the jar every day or so to keep the contents mixed. Loosen the lid once a day to “burp” the jar (for those of you who actually get some lively fermentation action). To serve, fork a couple lemon slices into a mug. Add 1-2 tablespoons of honey. Top off the mug with warm-hot water.
Ginger Lemon Honey: add about a half cup of fresh ginger slices along with the lemons.
Hot Lemon Honey: add a red chili, or some dried chili flakes.
This same time, years previous: the disaster that wasn’t, five fun things, the Baer family gathering of 2019, homemade lard, the quotidian (1.11.16), the quotidian (1.12.15), between two worlds, crumbs, in which I suggest you do.