Easy Fermented Garlic

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

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

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!

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

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

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!

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!

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    55 Discussions

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    naomiandtom

    2 years ago

    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.

    1 reply
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    offseidnaomiandtom

    Reply 2 years ago

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

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    thegreat58

    2 years ago

    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.

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    BillB179

    2 years ago

    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.

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    Raitis

    2 years ago

    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. :)

    7 replies
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    offseidRaitis

    Reply 2 years ago

    Using vingear would be pickling. Fermenting is different. Here, this might help: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/the-crucial-difference-between-pickled-and-fermented/

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    Raitisoffseid

    Reply 2 years ago

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

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    offseidRaitis

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.

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    Raitisoffseid

    Reply 2 years ago

    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. :)

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    offseidRaitis

    Reply 2 years ago

    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! :)

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    Raitisoffseid

    Reply 2 years ago

    Great, thank you!

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

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    offseidRaitis

    Reply 2 years ago

    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!

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    always curious

    2 years ago

    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.

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    offseidalways curious

    Reply 2 years ago

    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. :)

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    kickinit233

    2 years ago

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

    2 replies
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    offseidkickinit233

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.

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    kickinit233offseid

    Reply 2 years ago

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