You Can Pickle That! (Tricks to Pickling Garlic)

PicklesHave you ever seen the episode of “We can pickle that” on Portlandia where the couple try to pickle everything, and yes I do mean EVERYTHING and ANYTHING! I have only watched a few episodes of Portlandia, but when I saw this particular skit it made me laugh because that is how I feel, well sort-of.

There is so much food that can be pickled than imaginable. Obviously not all the crazy stuff they tried pickling, no Band-Aid pickling here, gross! Pickling has become a staple in my household. Of course this hasn’t always been the case. Before I met my better-half, I never really tried pickling before. I ate pickled garlic many years back for the first time, but it was no comparison to the 15 year old garlic he had me experience. Can you imagine 15 year old garlic?! The garlic was mild but intense in flavor. It was a beautiful dark – almost red wine color and smelled heavenly, of course if you don’t enjoy the smell of garlic, you might not agree with me. The texture of the garlic was extremely soft, so soft in fact, it slid right out of its shell. I was in love instantly!

After that amazing experience, I knew I had to create my own pickled garlic.  Although my garlic is nowhere near the fermented yummy-ness that I experienced, I am proud to say that my pickled garlic is coming up on two years old (see picture above). Although my first attempt at pickling garlic is admirable, my garlic does not look as great as the one’s I have seen and tasted. So I thought maybe I can help prevent you from making any mistakes by sharing what I have learned through trial and error, as well as gaining knowlesge from the master’s (my in-laws).

First, don’t buy garlic that are too large. In my opinion the garlic I find in most grocery stores are too large. I would recommend buying garlic at a farmer’s market. Although having larger pickled garlic won’t hurt you or taste bad, the typical pickled garlic is on the smaller side. The smaller the garlic, the faster it will ferment.

Second, I made sure to wash my jar and heat it in the oven to kill off any bacteria. You can follow the directions provided on Preparing Jars for Canning and Boiling Water Processing.

Third, make sure to use 5% distilled vinegar. But feel free to experiment with different types of vinegar’s (i.e., white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar), don’t feel like you need to stick to just one.

Fourth, although acid in the vinegar is what helps to preserve the garlic and kill off any harmful bacteria, be sure to thoroughly wash your garlic before pickling. It is just a good habit.

Fifth, store your pickled garlic in a cool and dark place.

Sixth, try your hardest to ferment the garlic for as long as you possibly can. Garlic is like a fine wine, the older it gets, the better it will taste. Also, the longer garlic is pickled, the medicinal factors become more prominent. To learn more about the medicinal benefits to pickled garlic, visit Enon Valley Garlic.

Finally, enjoy your pickled garlic, but be sure not to eat too much at once. I had to learn the affects to eating too much pickled garlic at once. It is not a good feeling.