Fermented garlic

I know quite a few folk who love the taste of garlic but get a nasty guts ache after eating it – particularly when raw. Once again, it’s fermentation to the rescue. The process makes it much easier to digest, while sprinkling in a smatter of probiotics for good measure. I tend to use this mainly in recipes calling for raw garlic, such as pesto, hummus and raita. Since the cloves are peeled pre-fermentation, it’s just a matter of popping one in the crusher when needed. Feel free to double the recipe to have a bigger supply on hand.

Fermented garlic

  • 2 x whole heads of garlic
  • 1 tsp x salt
  • optional: bay leaf, a sprig of rosemary or tarragon, a pinch of oregano

Instructions

To peel the garlic cloves, crush the whole head gently with the palm of your hand. Try not to damage the cloves inside and don't cut off the root end*. Break apart bulb into separate cloves (still in their skins) and place in a metal bowl. Place another metal bowl on top. The same size is easier but not necessary. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds. The skins should come off much easier.

Place the garlic cloves and salt in a jar. You'll need around 3 cm at the top once you fill it with water, but the cloves need to stay submerged. I use a smaller jar inside the larger one to hold them down. Other options? A (clean!) rock; plastic bag filled with water or something heavy, like marbles; a leaf of cabbage cut to size. Whatever works for you.

Seal the jar and leave on your kitchen counter for 5-10 days, or until the bubbling stops. Fermentation likes a moderate, steady temperature. Things may take a little longer in the winter and less time during summer. Taste them if you like along the way, and leave longer if you desire. Store in the fridge and serve as needed.

*A little tip I picked up from Sarah Wilson's Simplicious. ‘Cuts will cause it to ferment unevelenly and make the clove turn blue . . . nothing to be worried about; it’s merely an amino acid reacting with the acid . . . Just not pretty.’

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