Garlic can store well, sometimes up to a year for certain varieties in ideal conditions. But for those of us who have grown and saved garlic, you’ll know that this doesn’t always happen as planned! Your garlic can begin to soften and shrivel before you get a chance to eat it all.
Softnecks tend to store longer, this is because they have multiple tight layers of skin to protect and preserve them. Hardnecks on the other hand often have a thick rigid skin layer, which cracks off easily and makes them a pleasure to peel!
People also love hardnecks for their spring scapes and robust garlic flavor (although all varieties have their distinctness and it’s worth experimenting with the panoply of choices to find your favorite). I fermented my scapes this year and they are divine!
So here is what to do when you know you’ll have too much garlic to eat before it goes soft. You can also ‘rescue’ older garlic this way (although fresher is better), I tend to dehydrate and powder my older garlic.
This is super easy. Peel your cloves, you can cut your bigger cloves into smaller chunks if you want. Pack a jar with the garlic to within about 1/2″ to 1″ of the rim.
Make a salt water brine. I use 1 tbs to 2 cups of water, but you can adjust to taste. Fill the jar with the brine so that all the garlic is covered.
This process of lacto-fermentation releases carbon-dioxide and pressure will build up in a sealed jar. Burp daily.
Fermentation speed will change based on temperature, amount of salt etc. So start taste testing after about a week and refrigerate once the garlic has reached the desired taste and texture.
Honey Fermented Garlic
This one is actually quite delicious and the garlic infused honey is really really good for you during the winter season.
Use raw honey, which is stable at about 17% water content, but will start fermenting with its own yeasts with only an additional 2% water.
The 2% comes from the cloves. You will see the liquid become more runny as the fermentation process continues.
You will also need to burp the jar if it is sealed. The smell will be STRONG!
The actual process is simply filling a jar with cloves (I cut the large ones) and then covering with honey. Fermentation will happen as with the salt-brine, but I find the garlic holds up well over time.
This is refrigerator pickle, so you can use your favorite spices or pickle recipe.
I kept mine simple.
I simmered 2 cups of cider vinegar for 5 mins. I added the garlic and shredded peppers (1 yellow sweet, 1 red sweet, 1 red hot) and continued to simmer for 5 mins.
I packed the clean jar and then poured the hot vinegar to cover the garlic and then sealed.
This jar will need to be refrigerated. The garlic can be eaten after a day or two, but will taste better with age.
A Note On Blue Garlic
I don’t personally understand the science behind this. But everything I’ve read has suggested that this is not dangerous to consume.
A Note On Garlic and Olive Oil
Again, I’m not a scientist, but I believe that preserving garlic in olive oil can easily give rise to the condition for botulism (read: not fun). So, I don’t do this when the above options are easy, tasty and safe.