For thousands of years raw garlic has been recognized and utilized not only for its wonderful, savory taste, but for its purported health benefits as well. However, eating raw garlic can also provide social difficulties from breath odor, and side effects such a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, body odor, or digestive upsets.
Fermenting or pickling garlic in apple cider vinegar not only preserves but is said to help eliminate most of the complications from eating the garlic raw. It also opens up a whole new world of delicious ways to eat garlic. Apple cider vinegar is a prebiotic and naturally fermented food that supports and feeds the probiotics existing in the gut, contributing to a healthier environment in the body.
How to Preserve Garlic in Apple Cider Vinegar
Preserving garlic in apple cider vinegar is extremely easy, requiring very few steps.
- Purchase or take from your garden 5 or 6 garlic bulbs, which will fill approximately 1-pint jar with garlic cloves.
- Separate all the cloves from the bulbs and peel. In order to retain the full health benefits of garlic you should leave them whole and not cut or crush them when preparing for preservation. There is a component in garlic called allicin that provides its health benefits, and the allicin is released when the clove is crushed or cut open. Leave the clove whole until eaten if possible.
- Place the peeled, whole cloves in pint or quart canning jars. (Or you can use any glass jar with a closeable lid, such as a mayonnaise or peanut butter jar.) Leave 1-inch space from the top.
- Pour apple cider vinegar to cover the cloves. Raw, organic apple cider vinegar is ideal; however, a less expensive, generic apple cider vinegar will work well also. You may prefer to experiment by adding a little honey or other herbs and spices to customize the flavor.
- Close the lid and leave the garlic at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, then move it to a cellar or other cold storage. You may need to “burp” the lids a few times over the first couple of days to release any built-up pressure in the jars.
There is a process of interaction between the garlic and vinegar that will turn the cloves a green color over the course of the first several days. This is a normal part of the process. Eventually, the cloves will turn back towards their original color.
How Long Should Let the Garlic Pickle?
The longer the garlic is left to pickle, the more mellow the taste will be. You can wait at least 2 to 3 weeks before eating, or you can experiment with time and ingredients in order to discover your personal preferred taste. The length of the process may vary depending upon the climate and season.
The taste of garlic preserved in apple cider vinegar is tangy, yet mellow and delicious. You might like to eat it raw by itself, or you can add it to a multitude of hot and cold dishes.