Preserving the Harvest: Fermented Garlic

Preserving the Harvest: Fermented Garlic

Garlic is one of those homestead staples that goes in just about Dried Garlic Braids Hangingeverything around our place so we grow quite a bit.  With this season’s garlic harvested, cured, and next season’s planted it seemed like it was time to do something with last season’s leftovers.  We had a pretty good crop last year so when harvest time came around this year we still had a bunch of garlic left over.  We took out all of the bulbs that were still in prime shape to be fermented.

I’ve been reading quite a bit about preserving fresh garlic by fermenting it in honey (yields two delicious condiments….garlic infused honey, and honey infused garlic!) in addition to this we decided to go with a traditional lactic fermentation for the  rest.  Both are pretty simple processes, but this was going to be a first time event for both techniques!

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Lacto-fermented Garlic

We lacto-ferment all sorts of stuff here on the homestead nd the process for whole garlic cloves is pretty much the same as for anything else….put your fermentables in your fermenting vessel, cover with brine, seal out the oxygen, and let ‘er rip!  We wanted whole garlic cloves fermented, o the first step was getting the skins off without smashing the cloves.  For this we simply blanched the sepparated cloves in boiling water for 30 seconds, and put them in an ice water bath.  The skins slip easilywith this method and you end up with beautiful whole cloves of garlic!  Next we loosely packed the gloves into quart jars then added a saltwater brine of roughly 3 Tbls. seasalt for a quart of water.  20161012_091943Just poor the brine over the top and make sure all of your garlic is submerged…loosely screw a two piece canning lid on your quart jar and set them in a dark place at room temperature.  Keep an eye on them, they should start to cloud up a little after a couple days and begin bubbling, if not you can add a little whey or  started culture from a previous ferment to get things going.  After 2-3 weeks your garlic should be done fermwnting and will store in a cool place for 6-12 months or a couple years in the fridge!

 

Whole Garlic Cloves Fermented in Honey

The honey garlic ferment is even simpler!  Prepare your whole garlic cloves as before, loosely pack into quart jars, and cover with honey.  Raw local honey is always best, but we just used some organic stuff from Costco (just make sure it’s pure 20161012_091926honey, not the cheep junk that has corn syrup mixed in).  The garlic floats in the honey so you’ll need  to turn the jars over a couple times a day for the first week or so to make sure all that garlic is getting coated in honey otherwise you could end up with mold.  Since you’ll be  turning the jars over and shaking them periodically so make  sure the lids are on pretty tight.  Relieve the pressure after you finish turning the jars otherwise you could have  garlic, glass, and honey exploded all over the kitchen!  Another word of caution here….this ferment is pretty active after the first couple days so you’ll want to put something under the jars to catch any honey that spills out when you crack the lids!  This ferment is usually done after a couple of months and will, in theory, preserve your garlic for several years (you may never find out though ‘cuz this stuff goes pretty quick!)

There you go….two super simple ways to preserve your homestead abunadance that are chocked full of powerful healing medicines!  The renowned anti-bacterial/viral properties of garlic coupled with the gut healing probiotics of living ferments, it’s just a winning combination that I think you’ll really  enjoy!

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