Try this Versatile and Flavorful Fermented Honey with Meyer Lemons

Combine fragrant Meyer lemons and raw honey into a syrup-y concoction that makes a sweet addition to your table. Use this basic lemon honey recipe for everything from iced tea to making a delightful vinaigrette!

New to fermenting foods? Be sure to read this compilation of frequently asked questions before you get started!

 

Contributed by Devon Young in March 2019; this post has been updated.

lemon fermented honey (with lemon slices) in a swing top glass jar.

Lemon fermented honey is an excellent way to nourish your body. The lemon fermented honey is a real treat when prepared with raw, preferably local honey. I harvested just under three gallons of beautiful honey from our own hives this last year. Although extracting the honey was a sticky, messy task, the reward was doubly sweet knowing that the glistening jars of amber were filled with the goodness collected from the wildflowers, trees, and berries around our property.

meyer lemons on a green leaf-shaped dish

The Marvelous Meyer Lemon

I have always had a great fondness for the bright citrus-y notes of lemon. This ole girl prefers a nice glass of lemonade over a canned soda any day of the week. There is hardly a more refreshing flavor than lemon. But when I finally discovered Meyer lemons – all bets were off. A lemon-ier lemon, if there were such a thing.

While most folks are familiar with the common grocery store lemon varieties Eureka or Lisbon (both Citrus limon), the Meyer lemon is actually a lemon and mandarin hybrid (Citrus x meyerii).

The Meyer lemon is notably sweeter and less acidic than common lemons, while also sporting darker and more vibrant peel and flesh. The internal layer of pith can be relatively thin compared to other types of lemons, making it less bitter and easier to squeeze by hand.

Meyer lemons are generously fragrant and even just a handful of the sunny beauties can perfume a kitchen with their clean citrus and faintly floral aroma. Like their more common citrus siblings, the Meyer lemon is brimming with vitamin C, a powerful immune booster and cell protector that may help to reduce the intensity and severity of the common cold and flu.

Ingredients 

Honey  It is very important to use raw, unpasteurized honey in this recipe. A host of beneficial bacteria and yeast lay dormant in raw honey due to its high osmotic pressure environment. As the honey loosens and thins in this recipe due to the presence of the lemons, it starts to ferment, developing a beneficial microbial environment that is good for the gut and general health.

Meyer lemons — Traditionally only available from December through May, you might not find these in the produce section of the supermarket. Instead, farmers markets or a friend’s backyard tree. Regular lemons can be used of course, but this recipe is at its best with the use of Meyer lemons.

pouring honey into a jar of sliced lemons.

The Fermentation Process

Lacto-fermentation is the process used here. Lactobacillus bacteria converts sugars into lactic acid. This good bacteria inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. The lactobacillus organisms that develop when fermenting food preserves it, but it’s also a boon to our digestive tract. This lactic acid fermentation provides us with the probiotics that we’ve heard so much about in recent years.

Note: Fermenting garlic honey poses a safety concern according to the folks at the USDA Extension. Garlic is a low acid food with a high moisture content. Honey fermented with garlic can result in a pH that harbors botulism spores.

To get started fermenting honey with lemons, pour a small amount of honey in the bottom of a jar. Alternate layers of lemons with honey until the jar is filled.

Use a skewer to lightly stir the lemons and remove air pockets. Place the jar on the counter at room temperature and stir or invert the jar to coat the lemon slices twice daily for 5-10 days.

Related: Preserve the Harvest with Salted Citrus

slice meyer lemons with a beehive vintage honey pot

Using Lemon Fermented Honey

  • We find that a spoonful of this lemon fermented honey can soothe a sore throat.
  • A tablespoon or so of the lemon honey (complete with lemon slices) combined with a cup of water just off the boil makes for a delightful cup of tea. Add a splash of whiskey to the lemon honey tea and you have just fixed yourself a super hot toddy
  • This honey pairs well with a brewed cup of ginger tea.
  • Drizzle this honey over a these buttermilk biscuits or these scones.
  • Whisk some into a sweet and tangy vinaigrette.

Book cover, backyard herbal apothecary

In The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, author Devon Young introduces readers to the medicinal plants lurking in plain sight.

Learn to identify, grow, and harvest 50 common medicinal herbs from your landscape. The herbal profiles detail the benefits of each herb, and you’ll discover how best to use each type of plant material in recipes for DIY items like salves, syrups, tinctures, and infusions.

lemon fermented honey (with lemon slices) in a swing top glass jar.

★ Did you make this lemon fermented honey? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

lemon fermented honey (with lemon slices) in a swing top glass jar.

Easy Lemon Fermented Honey

Lemon fermented honey is an excellent way to nourish your health with complex probiotics and the powerful antioxidant vitamin C. 
4.55 from 37 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Fermentation time: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days 15 minutes
Servings: 32 servings
Author: Devon Young

Ingredients

  • 3 - 4 Meyer lemons sliced thinly with as many seeds removed as possible
  • 1 - 1 ½ cups raw honey to cover

Instructions

  • Pour a small amount of honey in the bottom of a clean jar.
    1 - 1 ½ cups raw honey
  • Alternate layers of a few sliced lemons and more honey until the jar is filled. Use a spoon or a skewer to gently stir and remove air pockets.
    3 - 4 Meyer lemons
  • Start fermentation by loosely placing a lid on the jar and setting it at room temperature. This lemon honey recipe ferments best with some oxygen exposure.
  • Stir gently to coat the lemon slices with honey at least twice daily, for 5-10 days over which time the honey will thin and may start to bubble slightly.
  • This lemon fermented honey is finished when you like the flavor – these is no set end point. When you are happy with the flavor, store your lemon honey in the refrigerator. Discard if signs of mold appear.

Notes

  • If Meyer lemons are unavailable, common lemons may be substituted.
  • Discard honey if signs of mold appear.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.02g | Saturated Fat: 0.002g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.005g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.001g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @attainablesustainable or tag #attainablesustainable!

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About the author: Devon Young is the founder of the website NittyGrittyLife.com where she writes on herbalism, foraging, homesteading and cooking from scratch, and the author of The Backyard Herbal Apothecary (April 2019).  Devon has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences and devotes much of her time to speaking with clients and making herbal remedies.   When not tending to her duties as an herbalist, author and blogger, Devon can probably be found gardening, dreaming about gardening, or asking for obscure plants at gardening centers.

44 comments… add one
  • KK Nov 5, 2023 @ 7:27

    I am thinking about doing a combo of lemon, garlic, and jalapeno with the raw honey. Since they take differing lengths of time to ferment, is it even possible to ferment them together or am I better off doing separately?

    • AttainableSustainable Nov 9, 2023 @ 8:45

      That’s a good question, those will all be wonderful honey ferments, I’m not sure about timing but I think it would be ok!

  • Sarah Mar 21, 2023 @ 12:22

    Mine started growing mold on the top. I noticed when I went to burp the jars. What did I do wrong. All the jars and lids were sterilized. I kept them in a cool kitchen cabinet. I want to try again but don’t understand where I could have gone wrong, any advice?

    • AttainableSustainable Apr 6, 2023 @ 6:13

      It’s hard for me to say for sure, but usually, it’s due to a warmer or more humid environment. Don’t hesitate to try another batch!

  • jazz Mar 6, 2023 @ 15:36

    Hello! I made some of this about two weeks ago and I Love it! Is it necessary to put it in the fridge after ten days? Can it remain self stable?

    • AttainableSustainable Mar 9, 2023 @ 5:46

      Putting it in the fridge will stop the fermentation, so if you like where it’s at now I’d do that! Otherwise, it should be ok on the shelf for longer, just keep checking on it. Enjoy!

  • Betty Feb 28, 2023 @ 12:38

    I made some today. After it’s fermented, and I store in the refrigerator, do I still have to burp the jar daily?

    • AttainableSustainable Mar 2, 2023 @ 4:10

      No, you shouldn’t have to, the refrigerator slows everything down.

  • 4waystoyummy Feb 11, 2023 @ 15:21

    This is so delicious and I’m only on day 3! Why does the recipe say 5 minutes cook time? Am I missing something? Thank you!

    • AttainableSustainable Jul 26, 2023 @ 7:51

      Whoops! Nope, you didn’t miss anything, don’t cook it 🙂

  • Sandy Duncan Jan 24, 2023 @ 13:47

    Can I make this with other types of lemons? I don’t have access to Meyer lemons.

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 26, 2023 @ 5:21

      Yes, regular lemons work just fine.

  • hs Jan 23, 2023 @ 13:24

    Can I add turmeric and grated ginger to this or will it get moldy?

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 26, 2023 @ 5:27

      You can add those, it should be fine!

  • Silvia Jan 23, 2023 @ 13:13

    Could I do this with Eureka lemons?

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 26, 2023 @ 5:29

      Sure! Any lemons will work, so use what you have access to.

  • Robin Jan 5, 2023 @ 18:22

    You say to use by adding water right off the boil. Will the boiling water kill the probiotics that developed over fermentation, or the enzymes in the raw honey? Thanks for this amazing recipe! Just made some!

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 10, 2023 @ 14:45

      You’re right; using it in boiling water will kill off the probiotics.

  • stacey Aug 11, 2022 @ 16:22

    what if i have local honey but it is not raw? what would happen if I use that?

    • AttainableSustainable Aug 16, 2022 @ 8:15

      It won’t ferment with pasteurized honey, so using raw honey is a must for this recipe.

  • Jo Apr 20, 2022 @ 12:36

    You eat the whole lemon correct?
    Can I add turmeric to this?

    • AttainableSustainable Apr 21, 2022 @ 5:40

      You can eat the lemon, and yes try adding turmeric!

  • Robbie Apr 15, 2022 @ 11:40

    What does it look like if mold grows in it???

    • AttainableSustainable Apr 19, 2022 @ 6:45

      It would look moldy most likely on top, fuzzy with a pink or green tinge.

  • Mike Roder Jan 14, 2022 @ 12:35

    Can I leave the lemons in the honey?
    I’ve made a couple batches and absolutely love it.

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 18, 2022 @ 8:05

      Yes, there’s no need to take them out unless you want to. I’m glad you love it!

      • Alex Oct 16, 2022 @ 16:48

        Hi! I’m curious if maple syrup would work well as a replacement for honey in this recipe?

        • AttainableSustainable Oct 20, 2022 @ 5:59

          I haven’t tried that, but it likely wouldn’t ferment as well as raw honey.

  • June Hill Dec 13, 2021 @ 11:46

    I may have missed it, but what size jar do I use? Thanks

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 14, 2021 @ 10:14

      A pint should do it, or a quart if you want more room!

  • NORMA COLLINS Sep 14, 2021 @ 17:10

    I saw your recipe on Pinterest. I took it down to put in my cookbook so in December I’m planning on making thus recipe for Fermented Honey-Lemon!! It really sounds good to me!

    I’m also interested in your in your book. I would like to know how to get a copy of it!

    Thank you,
    Norma Collins

  • Cat Jul 30, 2021 @ 18:02

    On average, how long does this recipe last before it goes mouldy?

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 10, 2021 @ 10:02

      It should last 2-3 months or so.

  • Carol Jun 2, 2021 @ 5:44

    I have 32oz of raw unfiltered honey that is well within it’s sell by date, but it must not have been stored properly, and already has an alcoholic and slightly sour taste. Is it ok to use that in this recipe?

    • Kris Bordessa Jul 6, 2021 @ 16:41

      Seems like it would be a good way to use it!

  • Breanna Sep 15, 2020 @ 8:31

    Can you add ginger to this fermentation?

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 18, 2020 @ 11:03

      Sure. Fermentation is more flexible than canning. Perfectly fine to fiddle with it a bit!

  • Nicole Oct 4, 2019 @ 5:29

    Hi, I have some that’s several years old. It’s not moldy but it’s very potent smelling. Do you think it’s still good medicine, or will it make me sick?

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 5, 2019 @ 14:27

      I’m sorry, I just can’t answer that for you from way over here!

  • Samantha Sep 17, 2019 @ 15:54

    Hello! I have some raw unpasteurized honey but it’s creamed honey. Can I use that for this recipe?

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 20, 2019 @ 12:45

      I don’t see why not, though the result may be cloudy looking.

  • Your description of the Meyer lemon has me drooling over the idea of summertime lemonade! This recipe sounds really good too; but I can’t get past the thought of an iced lemonade on a sweltering August afternoon. Saving this for later!

    • Kris Bordessa Mar 27, 2019 @ 17:50

      A sweltering August afternoon sounds really good when it’s still chilly outside, doesn’t it??

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