Introduction: Easy Fermented Garlic

Picture of Easy Fermented Garlic

Raw garlic is very good for you, but not everyone can handle its heat. Fermenting garlic will temper its heat quite a bit while giving you some healthy bacteria (probiotics) at the same time.

Fermenting garlic is very easy and takes very little time! Look, I'll show you.

Step 1: Ingredients and Materials

Picture of Ingredients and Materials

You don't need much.

• garlic: I used 6 heads in all. Get enough to mostly fill your jar.
• brine: Mix 4 cups of water with 4 1/2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt. It'll dissolve in time.

There. I said you didn't need much!

Step 2: Prep and Cut Garlic...and a Trick!

Picture of Prep and Cut Garlic...and a Trick!

Cut the stem ends off of each head of garlic. And now for the trick!

To remove the skins, just throw the garlic heads into a metal pot. Seriously, you can throw them in. If you are a conscientious objector, place them gently into a metal pot. Violently shake the pot for 5-10 seconds and voila! The garlic has been de-skinned.

Now slice each clove of garlic in half, long-ways. Put them in your jar. I counted them as I went and found that I got almost exactly 10 cloves of garlic per head. A little bonus trivia for you.

Step 3: Add Brine

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Pour the brine into your jar until it easily covers the garlic. If you have any rebellious floating cloves, push them down with a chopstick or something else made of wood or plastic. I have heard that metal can negatively react with your fermentation, so you may as well play it safe and leave your metal in the drawer.

Step 4: Wait Several Weeks

Picture of Wait Several Weeks

Now just be patient. Fermentation takes at the very minimum several days to a week, but the longer you wait, the better your results and the more numerous and varied your good bacteria. For fermented garlic, the general consensus is to wait 3 to 4 weeks for full maturity.

Optional adjustment: Within a week, those rebellious floating cloves from the previous step may keep trying to rise to the surface. These surface cloves have the potential of going bad, so you need to put something on the top to keep the garlic submerged. One option is to fill a baggie with water (or brine, to be safe in case it opens) and lay it on the top to push the garlic down. Another option is some other sort of weight like a sanitized stone or glass. In my case, I started with the first option but then moved the garlic to a bigger jar and pushed the garlic down with a silicon coffee mug topper.

Step 5: Eat When Ready!

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Try the garlic every week or so. When it is to your liking, put it in the refrigerator. It will continue to ferment, but at a much slower pace. It will last in the fridge for a very long time, unless you love it and can't stop eating it!

Eat the garlic as is, or chop it up and put it in your salads, dips, or other cold dishes. You can put it in cooked dishes if you want, but you'll lose all that probiotic goodness if you do. For a similar type of dish, try the Instructable I made on Easy Fermented Onions. Enjoy, and happy fermenting!


naomiandtom (author)2016-09-25

I have fermented garlic before, and thought I'd mention what happened with mine. The garlic cloves turned a beautiful bluish green color. I learned that this sometimes happens with very fresh garlic, and there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, they returned to their normal color after some time.

offseid (author)naomiandtom2016-09-25

Thank you, good comment! I have read about that but mine didn't change color.

thegreat58 (author)2016-09-25

One note I might add is if you're using a jar with a tight seal, burp it every day or so otherwise the jar may break or use a coffee filter for a lid, secured with a rubber band. You can also dissolve the salt in one cup of hot water and add filtered water to it.

BillB179 (author)2016-09-25

Hmm. I have had phenomenal luck fermenting vegetables using the whey I get from draining it out of my homemade yogurt. I especially like the fermented salsa I make. Like with the garlic, everything mellows out a bit, so instead of a harsh bite you get a lot of flavor. If you try whey, plan on using it as soon as you can get your hands on it. You can drain store yogurt, but look for plain Stonyfield or Chobani, you want the most diverse cultures per the brands. If you want to know about the yogurt or salsa drop me a line. chilehead1953 @ gmail com Drop the spaces and add the dot.

Raitis (author)2016-09-22

Only salt and no vinegar or anything acidic? What is the taste of these after fermentation? Might as well be the thing I've been looking for, yet I'm not sure. :)

offseid (author)Raitis2016-09-22

Using vingear would be pickling. Fermenting is different. Here, this might help:

Raitis (author)offseid2016-09-24

Oh, and by the way, what temperature and light conditions should I aim for when fermenting? Didn't find that mentioned in the instructable.

offseid (author)Raitis2016-09-25

Dark environment is best, so put it in a cupboard/cabinet and leave it there. As for temperature, the "wisdom" of the internet says room temperature or cooler (like a basement), but I live in the tropics and the hot-n-humid hasn't affected my ferments at all.

Raitis (author)offseid2016-10-21

Came back in to say thanks!

The first (test) batch turned out nice, crunchy and not too spicy. Everyone in the family loved it, goes amazing with grilled things. Got me thinking what else should I try fermenting. :)

offseid (author)Raitis2016-10-22

Awesome! Well hey, if you find something else that works, do an Instructable about it! There is a vegan contest that's supposed to be coming up in a month or two, could enter it in there! :)

Raitis (author)offseid2016-09-23

Great, thank you!

So after fermenting these are still crunchy and have more of a sour, than salted taste?

offseid (author)Raitis2016-09-25

The garlic is actually quite salty. It's not bad, but perhaps next time I might reduce the salinity of my brine and see how that works. Yes, they are still crunchy. I'm assuming you know what it's like to eat raw garlic. It takes me a bunch of tiny bites to finish one off. With this fermented garlic, you can eat the whole thing at once and it's not overwhelming!

always curious (author)2016-10-13

Hello to all, have read instructions and comments, and will make some soon. Love garlic!! However, was wondering whether the liquid is of any use? salty and garlicky flavour - is it possible to sip this? surely lots of probiotic is in the liquid?

An aside - made salted/fermented cherry tomatoes recently - taste is unusual - very juicy but edible (hubby only ate 1!!!!) - another friend preferred the liquid! . A slight white skin forms on top which I have skimmed off- apparently normal part of pickling/fermenting/whatever - this is not mould.

offseid (author)always curious2016-10-14

As for me, I plan to reuse the brine in my next batch of garlic! But yeah, I suppose the brine has some probiotic value. :)

kickinit233 (author)2016-10-02

Technically this is brined garlic as fermented garlic is something else entirely.

offseid (author)kickinit2332016-10-02

No, they are the same thing. Lacto-fermentation takes place in a brine solution, or, as someone else mentioned in this thread, in whey. There is a difference, however, between fermented garlic and pickled garlic.

kickinit233 (author)offseid2016-10-04

What I meant by that comment is yes it is lactofermented garlic but it is not true fermented garlic which would be black garlic.

marvelmx (author)2016-09-23

What is brine?

diy_bloke (author)marvelmx2016-09-24

salt solution

marvelmx (author)diy_bloke2016-09-25

In which proportions?

diy_bloke (author)marvelmx2016-09-26

Apart from what is said in step 1, my remark was just that brine is "salt solution" it is not up to me to say in which proportions

marvelmx (author)diy_bloke2016-09-26

I think I got confused on the ingredient description due to how salt is dealt in my language/country. Wedont have coarse salt, we have grain and normal salt.

Mihsin (author)marvelmx2016-09-30

Mother used to prepare brine this way: Warm water + any salt + stirring, then place a fresh raw egg in the solution. Keep adding salt until the egg floats. This brine is certainly saltier than than my acceptance; Trial and error will get you satisfaction. We add garlic to our assorted pickles for flavor.

diy_bloke (author)Mihsin2016-10-01

The way mothers make it is always the best

diy_bloke (author)marvelmx2016-09-26

I understand, but salt is salt and
'brine' is a salt solution, or let me say a solution of NaCl, in whatever form. So you could just use any salt (meaning NaCl) you have. The only thing you need to factor in is that 4 1/1 tablespoons (whatever 1/1 might mean) probably contain less salt than the same 4 spoons of normal salt

offseid (author)diy_bloke2016-09-28

The ingredients say 4 1/2 tablespoons, and always have! I don't know where people are getting 4 1/1 tablespoons. :D

marvelmx (author)diy_bloke2016-09-27

I'll try it eitherways, thanks.

diy_bloke (author)marvelmx2016-09-28

goodluck :-)

BaschaW (author)marvelmx2016-09-25

In Step 1 the instructive says Brine: 4 cups water to 4 1/1 Tablespoons coarse sea salt

Caribneptune (author)2016-09-26

can this fermentation be done with onions, other vegetables like bell peppers or tomatoes? What might be advantage for each result? In my fridge is a two quart jar standing for about five years, filled with mashed yellow peppers prepaired au bain marie and covered with olive oil.. No sign of fermentation. Really hot stuff as it is now. Could Fermentation take some of the bite off? Love to see your expertise. Regards.

offseid (author)Caribneptune2016-09-26

You can ferment a LOT of different kinds of vegetables and even fruits, too! I am a newbie in this, having only done sauerkraut and garlic. But yes, I think you can ferment onions, peppers and tomatoes. Just google it. There are good books, YouTube videos and websites that will answer all your questions.

As for this 5-year-old jar in your fridge, I don't know about that! Since it's already been marinating, I don't know if you can start a ferment with it. That's out of my zone of knowledge and experience. :)

6scans (author)2016-09-26

This is going to sound stupid, but I've never done fermenting before so bear with me. What's the point in doing it? Taste? When you say eat when ready, just eat it straight?

BillB179 says he ferments other vegetables, again, why? Not challenging you guys at all, just wondering what fermenting actually does and why it's worth doing.


offseid (author)6scans2016-09-26

For me, the biggest reason to ferment is the good bacteria that are developed when you do it. And your gut loves these bacteria and they help you stay healthy. Do a little googling on it, but watch out, you may get sucked in! :)

As far as how you eat it...for the garlic, I will likely mince it and put it on my salads (I eat a lot of salads). However, I have also enjoyed just popping them in my mouth and eating them straight. It's strong, but not NEARLY as strong as a raw garlic clove, which takes me like 10 nibbles to finish off.

JoséG35 (author)6scans2016-09-26

mostly the flavor, it will taste different, if you like it, why not?, other reason is the presence of microbes, a lot of common foods (or drugs) actually kill part of our microbiome (refined sugars, antibiotics, chlorinated water,genetically modified foods, etc), so, in order to mantain a good digestive process, you should get some of this microbes by eating fermented vegetables, yogurt, beer, wine, etc..

kriekit (author)2016-09-25

Does the brine take care of the risk of botulism?

dzent1 (author)kriekit2016-09-26

there has NEVER been a case of botulism from fermented foods, according to the medical literature. look it up on da Google. I just had a delicious bowl of homemade sauerkraut, using this selfsame method. You can't buy something this good in the store. I'm a cancer patient with a stomach tube who is allergic to yogurt. The probiotics in fermented veggies keep me alive and healthy. Anyone who has ever had to take a prolonged course of antibiotics should be eating this stuff to restore their gut culture. Nervous Nellies don't know what they are missing ;-)

Ryan MacKenzie (author)kriekit2016-09-25

Was my first reaction too. I'm really hoping so.

DanteV3 (author)2016-09-26

using rejuvelac (liquid fermented from sprouted grains) also works and can speed up the process like whey :-)

offseid (author)2016-09-26

Well I'm certainly not trying to talk you into fermenting, but it is quite safe from botulism, the toxins of which cannot stand the salty and acidic environment that develop in fermentations.

kriekit (author)offseid2016-09-26

Thanks for the reply offseid - I'll skip this one though. ;)

Tasmaniac (author)2016-09-25

Quick Q, do I close the lid firmly for the entire time other than pushing down the floaters?

offseid (author)Tasmaniac2016-09-25

Yes. As much as possible, do not open the lid, because it lets in oxygen, which we don't want. Occasionally I had to pop the top just enough to let the gases out. So do check on that!

Tasmaniac (author)offseid2016-09-26

Many thanks :)

777arius777 (author)2016-09-25

How long does it takes for complete fermentation?

offseid (author)777arius7772016-09-25

Four weeks should do it.

killerjobean (author)2016-09-25

Should you refrigerate the jar ?

lshort1 (author)killerjobean2016-09-25

No. That slows down fermentation.

offseid (author)lshort12016-09-25

That's correct. Only after the 4 weeks in the cabinet should you put it in the fridge.

thegreat58 (author)2016-09-25

Botulism is not a big factor with garlic, especially if everything is sanitized to begin with and it's kept below the surface of the brine.

MartinB125 (author)2016-09-25

Wow, sounds easy. I'll try it next week!

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy the process. Who cares how long it takes?
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