There is something very satisfying about food in jars.
I visited the local market garden and discovered that they were growing garlic. I bought a fair few bulbs to make kimchi for the crackers in the Deli box, but even with my avid kimchi addiction (now standing at 12 huge jars), I found I had a few bulbs left.
I decided to ferment the leftover garlic to preserve it. Not only does it increase the lifespan of the garlic, it also provides a dose of healthy probiotics and improves its bioavailability, making it even healthier than fresh garlic.
Fermented garlic is a lot milder than fresh, so you can add it to pesto, dressings or make garlic and herb butter with it and since it’s milder, you may need a little more than if you were using fresh garlic.
It’s also a good store cupboard staple for those people who turn up their nose at the pungency of fresh garlic but would still like some of the flavour.
I use Cornish sea salt for fermenting, but you could also use a Himalayan pink salt. Avoid using processed table salts as these are generally devoid of any real minerals.
If your garlic turns green, blue or even has some red flecks during the fermentation process, this is a normal process and is simply the amino acids (or proteins) and the sulphur in the garlic reacting. The main thing to remember when fermenting in a salt brine is to keep everything submerged under the brine to prevent the oxidisation process.
If oxygen or bad bacteria get into your garlic, then mould with form. This is something to watch out for.
Remember this. Garlic under brine – all will be fine.
I keep the garlic under the brine by using a chard leaf as a stopper on top to keep everything submerged. I then seal the lid. If you don’t have any leaves, then a weight or plate would be fine.
Once fermented, your garlic will keep in a cool place for months.
This recipe makes enough for a .5 litre jar.
- 3 heads garlic
- A few peppercorns
- Rosemary to taste (I suggest ½ teaspoon)
- 500 ml (2 cups) filtered water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Remove the papery skin from the bulbs. Separate the cloves and peel the garlic, leaving the cloves whole.
- Fill your kilner (or mason) jar about ¾ of the way up with the prepared cloves.
- Add the peppercorns and rosemary.
- Make a salt brine by dissolving the salt in the water.
- Pour over the garlic, ensuring all the garlic is submerged.
- Seal the jar and leave to ferment at room temperature for 3 – 4 weeks.