Garlic is rich in antioxidants, helps to prevent and lessen the duration of the common cold, strengthens the immune system, may slow the development of atherosclerosis, and lower blood pressure. Garlic is such a healthy food, it’s hard to imagine that there’s a way to make it even more beneficial. But lacto-fermenting does just that by adding probiotics which increase vitamins and improve digestion.
Making Fermented Garlic
First, decide on the size jar you want to use. It takes a lot of garlic to fill a quart, so I suggest either a pint, or half-pint canning jar, or Fido jar (like this). All you need in addition to the jar and garlic are some sea salt and chlorine-free water. An airlock lid (like this) is optional. Here’s how to ferment garlic:
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Peel enough garlic cloves to fill your jar, leaving an inch-and-a-half at the top. Next, fill the jar to within an inch of the top with a salt-water brine. The proportions for the brine are 1/2 tablespoon sea salt to each cup of chlorine-free water. Place a weight on top of the garlic to keep it submerged.
I have a glass disk that I use, but a small plastic bag filled w/water, or a scrubbed rock work as well. I then place my airlock on the jar (here’s how I made one myself). A Fido jar is a great alternative. If you don’t have either an airlock lid, or a Fido jar, just place a regular canning lid on the jar, and release the built up gas every other day or so. Cover the jar with a cloth to keep out light, and leave on your countertop for about a week, then move to your refrigerator.
Fermentation will continue in the refrigerator, although at a much slower pace. I find another few weeks in the refrigerator gives ferments a nice mellow flavor.
Using Fermented Garlic
Lacto-fermented garlic may be used in any recipe that calls for garlic that will remain raw. You don’t want to use it in recipes that are cooked, since the heat will destroy the probiotics. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:
Garlic Salad Dressing
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, or a good quality vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 2 cloves fermented garlic, pressed
Combine all ingredients. This makes enough dressing for a large salad. Guests love this, and always ask for my recipe.
For each person you need:
- 1 tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 – 2 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 1/2 – 1 clove fermented garlic, pressed
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together. This is a super easy, but yummy salad. It’s especially delicious with fresh-from-the-garden sun-ripened tomatoes.
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 2 – 3 cloves of fermented garlic, pressed
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the ingredients. This is super delicious on crusty Italian bread.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts
- 6 cloves fermented garlic
Process all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Great on pasta, as a sandwich spread, or as a dip.
Fermented garlic is also a great addition to Guacamole and other dips. What other ideas do you have for using fresh fermented garlic?
I Want to Eat More Fermented Foods But I’m Nervous About Trying it at Home
Fermented foods are lacking in most modern diets even though the simple act of fermentation increases the vitamins and food enzymes in virtually all foods. Fermented foods are also rich in probiotics – beneficial bacteria that build immunity, improve digestion and keep you healthy.
If you’re like most of us, you might be nervous about the idea of preparing fermented foods at home. You might be wondering how do you keep ferments safe or if you can prepare fermented foods without expensive ingredients and equipment. You might wonder how you can make fermented foods your kids will actually enjoy.
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