The Wondersmith
Rewarding curiosity and gifting magic all over the Pacific Northwest


This blog is an exploration of daily magic, featuring wild plants, creative recipes, meaningful ceremonies, and writings about our shared humanity. 

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A Recipe For Thyme and Red Onion Fermented In Honey From Healing Herbal Infusions

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One of my friends wrote a book! I love to be able to share in the successes of my friends’; after all, I’m part of an ever-expanding community of people interested in nature, plants, and herbalism and I treasure having so many kindred spirits around to “nerd out” about the plant world with. That’s why I was so excited when Colleen Codekas offered to send me a new copy of her book Healing Herbal Infusions: Simple and Effective Home Remedies For Colds, Muscle Pain, Upset Stomach, Stress, Skin Issues, and More to review. Now, a little warning: I may be a little biased in my review since I’ve known Colleen for a while now and have found her to be a generous and caring friend. (And no, she’s not paying me to say any of this ;) ) BUT I really did enjoy her book and can’t wait to tell you about it.


I eagerly read the whole book in the same afternoon I received it, filling my head with all kinds of inspiring recipes from Vitamin C tea to roasted chicory root chai (served in a cup I made!), to chamomile, marshmallow, and vanilla chapped lip balm (yum!). This is the PERFECT book for a beginning herbalist or forager. The recipes are very simple and straightforward and Colleen walks you through every step in her pleasant, easy-to-understand descriptions. But you don’t have to be a beginner to enjoy this book; I’ve been foraging for years and I still squealed with delight at some of the new ideas she’s presenting. I love incorporating my medicine into my food, so things like thyme and red onion fermented in honey definitely caught my attention…


Speaking of, Colleen has generously allowed me to share her recipe here so all of you can get a taste. Colleen says:

“….While garlic and ginger are well known for their immune-boosting benefits, not many people know about the benefits of onions! They are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, plus many other compounds that are good for your health. Thyme is one of the most powerful herbs for immunity, and there’s a good chance that you already have it growing in your herb garden. Feel free to use any other fresh culinary herb that you have on hand instead, as most of them also have medicinal properties.


1 c. (130g) red onion slices

1/2 c. (4g) loosely packed fresh thyme sprigs

1 1/4 c. (300ml) raw honey


Combine the onion, thyme, and honey in a pint-size jar. Cover the jar with a lid and invert it several times to coat the onion slices and thyme in honey. They will probably float and that’s normal. Loosen the lid a bit to allow gasses to escape and put the jar in a cool, dark place to ferment. Tighten the lid and turn the jar daily for a week or two to coat everything with honey, then loosen the lid again after turning. In a few days you will start to see some bubbles forming in the jar and the honey will be runny in texture. It will be fully fermented in about a month, but can be consumed at any time during the process.

Take 1 Tbs. of honey, or even a few slices of the onion, whenever you feel a sickness coming on, up to 3 times daily. It can also be taken once or twice daily throughout cold and flu season as a preventative measure and to help boost your overall immunity.

This fermented honey is safe for children ages 2 and older. Please follow the dosage guidelines on page 23. “


So I know you’re technically supposed to wait a month before eating this mixture, but I could only bear to wait a couple of weeks before sampling mine. It’s absolutely delicious! This immediately got my mind whirring about how I could use this new flavorful condiment in the kitchen. Hmm… I have a little leftover brie and some nettle salt, and I’ve been craving flatbread lately… so I baked up a few small flatbreads using my favorite recipe from Gluten Free Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, another one of my favorite go-to books, then topped it with the fermented onions, a few of the thyme sprigs, some chunks of brie, and a sprinkling of my nettle seasoning salt (which will be in my next etsy shop update, coming soon!) and stuck it all in a hot oven. A mere 20 minutes later, my house was perfumed with the most wholesome, enticing smell of warm bread, bubbling cheese, and fragrant thyme and onions. This bread needed no accompaniment; the richness of the brie and the sweetness of the honey were perfectly flavorful.

Of course, cooking the onions removed the benefits of fermentation, but I can think of plenty of great ways to eat them raw, too. How about atop a spinach salad with cranberries, goat cheese, and walnuts? Or stacked on a leftover turkey sandwich? Served on crackers with a piece of sharp cheddar? The list goes on. And the honey itself will find many uses in my kitchen, from a flavorful glaze for chicken or shrimp to a sweet syrup to pour over fried polenta.

I hope this post has illustrated to you just how useful these recipes are, both for the home apothecary and in the kitchen. With the holiday season coming up, this book is filled with great ideas for gifts, many of them requiring nothing more than a bottle of vinegar and some time spent in nature. (Also, the book itself would make a pretty awesome gift as well.) Now is the perfect time to get started, since the beauty of infusion is that you get them started, then let the plants do their magic for a few weeks before straining and bottling (or, in some cases, mixing the infused oil into a balm or salve.) I can’t tell you how often I’m going to be flipping through the pates of this colorful book in reference, looking for inspirations and ideas for my own recipes and projects. Colleen did a wonderful job of creating an accessible, easy-to-use introduction to the world of infusions.

I hope I’ve convinced you to at least take a closer look at Healing Herbal Infusions, which you can buy here. At the very least, be sure to check out Colleen’s great blog, GrowForageCookFerment, where you can find lots of other informative posts from everything from processing acorns to growing chamomile.

Do you already own Colleen’s book? What did you think of it?
Hope you all have a wonderful and cozy day today!