Fermented garlic cloves are supposed to taste like a cross between roasted and raw garlic. I decided to give it a try. Beside adding flavor to dishes, fermented garlic contains all the benefits of raw garlic (antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, allicin — which reportedly lowers “bad” cholesterol — among others) while also containing healthy probiotics from the fermentation process.
I peeled dozens of cloves from whole garlic heads I got from one of our local organic farms. That was the hardest — or at least most time-consuming — part. The rest is easy.
Sterilize 1.5 pint wide-mouth mason jars, and the same number of
1/2 pint 1/4 pint (4 oz.) mason jars. The number will depend on how much garlic you have to fill the 1.5 pint jar 2/3rds full.
Put the peeled whole garlic cloves in the jars to fill 2/3rds. Fill with filtered (non-chlorinated) water to cover garlic cloves. Add 1 tablespoon pickling salt to jars. Cover and shake until salt is dissolved.
Remove cap and place sealed
1/2 pint 1/4 pint jar on top of garlic and inside the larger jar. Tamp down, making sure the garlic is covered with liquid. Put on sterilized fermenting cap and airlock, keeping the small jar inside. Put a little water in the airlock to the fill line, and cap the airlock.
Put in a dark place — covered or in a closed cabinet — at room temperature for at least 4 weeks. Try a clove, replace the fermentation cap, and let it ferment for as long as it takes for the garlic to mellow and you like the taste.
Week 4 Update:
Fermented garlic success! The cloves have mostly turned translucent. I opened one jar and used a few cloves in a couple recipes. At this stage they still have a bit of hardneck garlic sharpness, with some tang and slightly salty sweetness.
I’ll check in a couple weeks to see if the sharpness has faded. The flavor is more complex than fresh garlic, and a pleasant-tasting addition to recipes. Glad this one went much better than my second failed attempt at homemade sauerkraut.