I use a lot of garlic. An onion rarely gets sautéed without a bit of garlic thrown in. Even so, my garlic supply sometimes gets dried and shriveled before it is used up. I usually grow garlic over the winter and, come mid to late spring, have an abundance of bulbs to braid into a long strand or two. This year’s crop yielded next to nothing so I’ve have had to purchase garlic from the store.
I decided to try pickling garlic by fermentation for long term preservation. This first attempt was going to be a small batch because all the garlic I had on hand hardly filled a small jar. The formula I usually use for the brine is 2% by weight kosher or sea salt to vegetables. This time I didn’t bother weighing or measuring and just used a generous amount of salt. I reasoned that most dishes in which garlic is used require salt anyway and extra salty garlic could be taken into account fulfilling that requirement.
Beneficial lactobacillus bacteria thrive in a salty environment whereas harmful bacteria cannot survive such conditions. To give my ferment a boost I added some lactobacillus laden brine from some ramps I had fermented in the spring.
I started this batch on the 27th of August and by the 30th, three days later, I noticed that some of the garlic cloves had turned a greenish shade of blue. I was somewhat alarmed until a bit of research assured me that it was natural for garlic to turn blue or green in an acidic environment. It was, in fact, indication that fermentation was taking place and the garlic was well on the way to being pickled.
Another two days on the counter and the jar of pickled garlic is ready to go into the refrigerator where it could keep indefinitely if not consumed. This little jar won’t last long though. Next time I will make a much larger batch.