Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Preserve the Harvest - Garlic

Before I get to the sauerkraut recipe, I wanted to post this very unusual recipe for fermented "pickled" garlic that really knocked my socks off, so to speak.

Growing garlic at home is great! You harvest big fresh juicy cloves and have some left to replant for next year's harvest. Talk about THRIFTY. But beside that, the quality is so much superior to the garlic you buy in the grocery store.

I've looked for ways to preserve my garlic for a long time. Even the nicest big juicy fresh cloves from our home harvest will begin to sprout those bitter green sprouts in midwinter, and by summer they'll be sadly shriveling and getting rubbery and stale while we wait for the fresh crop.

For a while I've been peeling and mashing extra fresh garlic and putting it away in small portions in the freezer. I've never dehydrated garlic cloves to grind with salt, but that is on my to-do list. But in Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions cookbook, I ran across a recipe for preserving fresh garlic cloves in whey and sea salt, and tried it this year.
Here is what I did:

Pickled Garlic

Pack clean fresh peeled cloves of garlic (about 10-12 heads) in a clean wide mouth quart Mason jar leaving some good head space. In a measuring cup combine two teaspoons each of sea salt and crushed dried oregano leaves with about an eighth of a cup of whey. Pour the mixture over the garlic and add enough water to cover the garlic. Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature at least three days before refrigerating.

THE SMELL is WONDERFUL! if you like the smell of raw garlic. It fills the kitchen!

The taste is, however, to my palate, quite strong - stronger than fresh garlic -
a little too strong, in an indescribable way.

At first I was disappointed, but then I decided to try to use a few in a cooked dish and was very pleasantly surprised. I took a few garlic cloves, crushed and chopped them, and added them to the typical saute of onions and peppers in olive oil with which I usually begin my Italian tomato based pasta sauce. Delicious!
I'm going to keep using them and see how long they last and how they maintain the same quality.
My summer harvested garlic is beginning to sprout! A promise of spring.


flowrgirl1 said...

that sounds wonderful! I love garlic and was just checking out Territorial seed co. large selection of garlic and onions. Yummmmm!

Milkweed said...

Hi Betsy...I found this post as I was casting around for something to do with a ridiculous amount of garlic from our garden...hurrah! Thanks for the info and for passing on the recipe.

Here's to fermentation! Blog on, gardening and pickling sister.

Anonymous said...

Hello Betsy and all,
I have had an abundance of garlic and I had been putting it in jars and freezing it either plain or in oil. But now what I do is put it in ice cube trays in different sizes. I will put a teaspoon full in one tray and tablespoon full in another tray and then once fronzen I put in ziplock bags and it works great.
enjoy Vicki