Honey Fermented Ginger and Lemon

5 from 25 votes
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How to make honey fermented ginger and lemon – a common combination for combatting cold/flu symptoms and tasty addition to meals, dressing, and drinks. Best of all, once prepared, this fermented lemon and ginger will last several months and the process couldn’t be simpler (even for fermenting newbies!).

Holding a jar with honey ferment

I know, if you’ve never tried fermenting before, you might be mistaken for thinking it’s a terribly technical, difficult process. While that may be true in some cases (like caring for kombucha SCOBYs), honey ferments are surprisingly simple! It’s fairly hard to “mess up”, and requires no fancy equipment/tools! I’ve already shared a method for honey fermented garlic, now it’s the turn of this honey fermented ginger and lemon!

The combination of honey, lemon, and ginger is a favorite of mine (especially for its immune-boosting properties, like in these ginger lemon and honey immunity shots). Not only does it taste great, but it makes for a great cold/flu/sore throat-busting tonic. Plus, the pollen found in raw honey may be beneficial for those with allergies. The fermentation helps to increase those benefits further too, plus it has months of shelf-life!

Top view of lemon ginger honey ferment in a jar

One of my favorite ways to soothe myself at the first sign of illness is to whip up a big mug of ginger tea with lemon and honey. By preparing this honey fermented ginger, you can avoid having to do this from scratch each time! However, you don’t have to be ill to enjoy this honey and lemon fermented honey either.

The combination of lemon, honey, and ginger is also a delicious addition to so many other meals, dressings, sauces, marinades, etc! (Suggestions listed below!). Looking for more ways to enjoy ginger? Why not learn how to make ginger juice, powder, crystallized ginger, syrup, or even a silky ginger pudding.

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The Benefits of Ginger and Honey with Lemon

I’ve talked about the benefits of all three ingredients in several places across my blog. For example, in my post for ginger turmeric and lemon immune-boosting shots, lemon, ginger, and cayenne immunity shots, and my recently posted honey fermented garlic. So head on over to find out more there.

Ginger lemon and honey on a wooden board

It’s important to note that all three ingredients have a very long list of potential health benefits. Ginger alone contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is known to help remedy stomach issues and fight colds/flu while also improving brain and heart health.

Lemon is equally brilliant for your immune system and packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C. It’s also a natural detoxifier and has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Meanwhile, raw honey boasts similar benefits including antibacterial/antiviral and antioxidant properties. It also contains gut-friendly enzymes that are good for promoting healthy gut flora and can help boost immunity and fight infection. You can read more about the top health benefits of raw honey here.

So, as you can imagine, the lemon ginger honey combination is a goldmine of health benefits!

A jar with honey and lemon

How does the honey fermentation work?

The way the fermented honey works is all down to the ingredients used. Raw honey (that’s unpasteurized) still contains the various naturally occurring enzymes and, specifically yeast. When combined with enough water to reach a moisture content of 19-20%, this kickstarts the fermentation process of the honey. In a commercial way, this is how “mead” is made, eventually.

While honey already contains around 16/17% water, the sugars in the honey pull the liquid from the ingredients placed in it (in this case ginger and lemon), which helps reach the 20% and begin fermenting. If your ingredients aren’t “wet” enough, you can top it up with extra water, too! (See I told you, easy!) This process is further helped by extra natural yeast which is found on the vegetables and fruits added to the fermenting honey.

Once the fermentation process begins, your ingredients are becoming preserved and you get a delicious fermented honey lemon ginger! Simple!

The Ingredients

Ingredients for fermented lemon ginger honey
  • Honey: it’s important to use raw, unpasteurized honey. Pasteurized honey won’t ferment as the microbes are killed in the processing.
  • Ginger: fresh ginger, please! It’s recommended to use organic ginger, as non-organic ginger can go through processing that reduces (or eliminates) the yeast on it (that is needed to start the fermentation).
  • Lemon: I include whole slices of lemon in the honey ferment, so it’s best to use unwaxed lemon! Remember that different lemons are more tangy vs sweet. If you’d prefer to use a sweeter variety, I recommend Meyer lemons. You can also use limes.

You also need a jar. Make sure to use one that is wide enough to fit whole slices of lemon and has a lid. A wooden spoon or skewer is also a good idea for mixing the fermenting ingredients (avoid metal).

How to Make Honey Fermented Ginger and Lemon

Step 1: Prepare the ginger and lemon

First, sterilize the jar you plan to use for the fermented honey recipe. To do so, wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinsing well. Then place the jars (no rubber or plastic parts) in a pre-heated oven for ten minutes at 325ºF/160ºC to completely dry. Some dishwashers also come with a “sterilize” setting.

Wash the lemon and peel the ginger. Then, with a sharp knife or mandoline (even better for even slices), thinly slice the lemon and ginger. I used a peeler for the ginger, but thicker knife/mandoline slices will work too.

Step 2: Fill the jar

To layer the jar, first place some ginger, then a couple of lemon slices. Repeat until all the ingredients are in the jar.

Then pour the honey over the ginger and lemon, making sure it fully submerges the ingredients. Also, use a clean spoon/skewer to gently shake/move the ingredients around, to make sure the honey gets to the bottom of the jar.

Alternatively, you can drizzle 2-3 Tbsp of honey at the bottom of the jar and between each layer. That way, it’s easier to make sure the ingredients are fully coated with it.

Finally, seal the jar.

Steps for making lemon ginger honey ferment

Step 3: Leave it to ferment

Leave the ginger honey lemon mixture to ferment for two weeks. During this time, you’ll need to “burp” the jar daily. Open the lid for just a second to allow any built-up gases to release.

It’s a good idea to slightly shake the jar too or flip it upside down (with a plate/bowl beneath). I prefer to shake/flip rather than stir (with a wooden spoon) since an excessive amount of oxygen can impact the fermentation process.

After two weeks, you can stay enjoying the fermented lemon/ginger. However, it will taste even better at the one-month stage!

A jar with fermented lemon ginger honey

How to Make Ahead and Store 

Once the fermented lemon and ginger taste as you’d like, I recommend transferring the jar to the fridge. This will slow the fermentation (almost halting it entirely) and is best for those who want to use it slowly over several months (6 months or more). You could also keep the ferment in a cool, dark location like a kitchen cupboard. This way it will continue to ferment at a faster rate and the flavor will develop and change and even become slightly boozy (like mead). I do this when I plan on using it within a couple of months.

Just note that the flavor will become more bitter over time due to the lemon pith.

Like most fermented foods, just keep an eye out for bad smells, mold, and other signs of spoilage. This doesn’t happen often, but if it does, it’s time to start a new ferment.

A closed jar with honey fermented lemon and ginger

How to Use Lemon and Ginger Fermented Honey?

While I know I’ve already made it clear that this concoction is perfect for when you’re feeling under the weather, there are tons of ways to enjoy this honey fermented lemon and ginger.

  • Ginger tea: add around 1 Tbsp of the mixture (honey and ginger) plus a slice or two of lemon to a mug/teacup and top up with water. If you’d prefer it sweeter/more flavorful, then simply add a little more.
  • Hot toddy: turn your healthful ginger tea into an adult treat with the addition of a splash of whiskey and a cinnamon stick (or a dash of cinnamon).

You can also add this fermented honey to smoothies, juices, salad dressings, and marinades.

For sweeter treats, I happily drizzle this over a breakfast bowl with yogurt (dairy or dairy-free like coconut or almond yogurt) and granola. You can also enjoy it over ice cream, drizzled over oatmeal (or baked oatmeal), over fruit crumble, pancakes/waffles, scones, etc.

Let me know in the comments how you enjoy using this honey fermented ginger and lemon!

Lemon ginger honey ferment in a jar

FAQs

Can I use other fruits for fermented honey?

Yes, there are all kinds of honey ferments you can make with various fruits and vegetables including apple, pear, cherries, blueberries, pomegranate, mango, peach, plum, onion, peppers, etc.
You can also use dried fruits like dates and figs. Though you’ll need to add an additional 3% water (based on the weight of the fruit), to raise the water content to the necessary level to start fermentation.

When is the fermented ginger and lemon ready?

There is no cut-and-dry answer to this. Some say that when your added ingredients (lemon and ginger) have naturally sunk below the honey – which can take several weeks to a month, others say that it’s simply ready when you decide it tastes best. I tend to leave it between 2-4 weeks to ferment before starting to enjoy it. The longer it sits, the more the flavor will develop!
I recommend using a wooden spoon to give it a taste at two weeks – if you like it, transfer it to the fridge to slow the ferment. If not, keep at room temperature to further ferment for 1-2 weeks and test again.

How can I be sure the lemon and ginger are fermenting?

During the fermentation process, you should notice the honey begin to thin out and you may notice some bubbling (but not always) in the honey (of the built-up gases) and the ingredients beginning to naturally sink below the honey. If the honey has thinned but you aren’t noticing any other signs of fermentation, you may want to add 1-2 Tbsp of water, mix, and continue (as there may not have been enough water to properly encourage the fermentation). You could also add in a little apple cider vinegar which can also help kick-start fermentation, as well as bring the pH lower.

Do I need to burp the jar daily?

There is some differing guidance on this. I made sure to do this with my first honey ferment (this garlic honey ferment) when I noticed just how bubbly it became while fermenting (after having a bottle of kombucha explode in the fridge after forgetting to burp it, I’m on the “better safe than sorry” camp now).
While, technically, some say this isn’t necessary since honey ferments contain such low levels of water vs. honey (which means slower, gentler fermenting), I still like to do it daily for the first 2-3 weeks and then once a week or so after that. If you don’t want to do it daily, feel free to do it every other day (or experiment). Just beware of the potential of exploding jars if you never burp it!

Recipe Notes

  • Burping the jar: if you don’t use the fermented lemon and ginger often, it’s a good idea to burp the jar occasionally still. After the first 2-3 weeks, the main “activity” will slow down so daily burpings aren’t necessary.
  • The honey thickness: it’s important to note that the honey will become “thinner” during the ferment as the added liquid from lemon and ginger enters the honey. This is normal!
  • Don’t fully fill the jar: leave some headspace for the mixture to bubble up and expand as the liquid from the ginger and lemon releases into the honey. The ingredients should be fully covered but if you add too much, the liquid content won’t reach 20%!
  • Using other fruits/veg: feel free to try this fermented honey method with other ingredients. Check the FAQs for a list of suggestions.

Other Simple Preservation Recipes/Methods

Or browse through my entire list of DIYs for more inspiration!

If you try this honey fermented ginger and lemon, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Honey Fermented Ginger and Lemon

5 from 25 votes
By: Samira
How to make honey fermented ginger and lemon – a common combination for combatting cold/flu symptoms and tasty addition to meals, dressing, and drinks. Best of all, once prepared, this fermented lemon and ginger will last several months and the process couldn't be simpler.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 14 days 15 minutes
Servings: 16 tablespoons

Ingredients 
 

  • 11 oz raw honey 1 cup
  • 6 oz lemon 1 medium-sized
  • 3 oz peeled ginger

Instructions 

Step 1: Prepare the ginger and lemon

  • Sterilize the jar you plan to use for the fermented honey recipe. To do so, wash it with hot soapy water and then dry in the oven for 10 minutes at 325ºF/160ºC (remove any rubber/metal bits first). Some dishwashers also come with a "sterilize" setting.
  • Wash the lemon and peel the ginger.
  • With a sharp knife or mandoline (even better for even slices), thinly slice the lemon and ginger. I used a peeler for the ginger, but thicker knife/mandoline slices will work too.

Step 2: Fill the jar

  • To layer the jar, first place some ginger, then a couple of lemon slices, and repeat until all the ingredients are in the jar.
  • Pour the honey over the ginger and lemon, making sure it fully submerges the ingredients. Use a clean spoon/skewer to gently shake/move the ingredients around, to make sure the honey gets all the way to the bottom of the jar.
    Alternatively, you can drizzle 2-3 Tbsp of honey at the bottom of the jar and between each layer, so it's easier to make sure the ingredients are fully coated with it.
  • Seal the jar.

Step 3: Leave it to ferment

  • Leave the ginger honey lemon mixture to ferment for two weeks. During this time, you'll need to "burp" the jar daily, opening the lid for just a second to allow any built-up gases to release.
    It's a good idea to slightly shake the jar too or flip it upside down (with a plate/bowl beneath), to make sure the honey is still all over the lemon and ginger- I prefer to shake/flip rather than stir (with a wooden spoon) since an excessive amount of oxygen can impact the fermentation process.
  • After two weeks, you can stay enjoying the fermented lemon/ginger. However, it will taste even better at the one-month stage!

How to Make Ahead and Store

  • Once the fermented lemon and ginger tastes as you'd like, I recommend transferring the jar to the fridge. This will slow the fermentation (almost halting it entirely) and is best for those who want to use it slowly over several months (6 months or more).
    You could also keep the ferment in a cool, dark location like a kitchen cupboard. This way it will continue to ferment at a faster rate and the flavor will develop and change and even become slightly boozy (like mead) – I do this when I plan on using it within a couple of months.
    Just note that the flavor will become more bitter over time due to the lemon pith.
    Like most fermented foods, just keep an eye out for bad smells, mold, and other signs of spoilage. This doesn't happen often, but if it does, it’s time to start a new ferment.

Notes

  • Burping the jar: if you don’t use the fermented lemon and ginger often, it’s a good idea to burp the jar occasionally still. After the first 2-3 weeks, the main “activity” will slow down so daily burpings aren’t necessary, but it’s a good idea to burp every few weeks.
  •  The honey thickness: it’s important to note that the honey will become “thinner” during the ferment as the added liquid from lemon and ginger enters the honey. This is normal!
  • Don’t fully fill the jar: leave some headspace for the mixture to bubble up and expand as the liquid from the ginger and lemon releases into the honey. The ingredients should be fully covered but if you add too much, the liquid content won’t reach 20%!
  • Using other fruits/veg: feel free to try this fermented honey method with other ingredients. Check the FAQs for a list of suggestions.
 
 
Check the blog post for more tips and answers to top FAQs.
Course: DIYs
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 6 Months (fridge)

Nutrition

Serving: 1Tbsp, Calories: 67kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 47mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




30 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have been making this for years. I leave it on the counter next to my hot pot!! So, I never realized it was fermenting!! I keep the jar topped off with honey so the lemon slices and ginger remain under the surface of the honey.

    I am now fortunate that my daughter has become a beekeeper!! So I get fresh honey. I have also grown my own ginger. I simply do not live in an area where lemons grow so I have to rely on organic lemons from the store!

    I need to get my jar made this week!

  2. Is there a typo in your ingredient list – I’m confused with the 11 oz of honey as 1 cup…So do we use 11 oz or 8 oz of honey?

      1. 5 stars
        I just made it, followed the directions precisely. It’s about two weeks old and I mixed my first drink with it moments ago. I just used about two tablespoons of liquid and maybe 10 ounces of San Pellegrino. Excellent homemade ginger ale! Thank you so much for the recipe.

    1. Hi Sandra,
      I haven’t tried it with maple syrup yet unfortunately, I’m not sure if it will work. So sorry I’m not able to help.

  3. If i leave the jar in the cupboard, do I need to remove the fruit as the liquid level goes down and the fruit is no longer under the liquid?

    1. Hi Shannon,
      If it’s still busy fermenting, then the ginger and lemon will have to be covered with honey. You can top it up if needed with more honey. After it is already fermented, it doesn’t matter if the fruit is no longer under the liquid as long as you keep it refrigerated. I hope this helps.

  4. 5 stars
    Made a large batch of this earlier this summer and decided after 8 weeks to strain off the lemon and ginger and refrigerate the wonderfully fermented honey…but what to do with the fruit and ginger? I freeze dryed them and now have candied lemon and ginger too..Soo Good! THANKS

      1. Hi Sherie,
        Did your jar burp when you opened it? And did you leave some headspace for the mixture to bubble? Also, most importantly, did you use raw honey?

  5. Sounds so good. I use a fermenting lid with weights which self burps for brine fermenting. Can that be used for honey ferments?
    Thx