Country Living Series

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pickle garlic

We are harvesting garlic.

I'll have a more complete blog post on the subject later, but suffice it to say I'm digging up a little at a time and then peeling what I've dug up before digging up more. This way I'm not getting overwhelmed with an entire bushel-basket of garlic all at once. But suddenly we have LOTS of fresh delicious garlic in the house.

Now that we have a proper dehydrator, I'm going to experiment with making garlic powder, but Don also wanted to try pickled garlic.

Pickled garlic is merely whole garlic cloves water-bath canned in a brine. The flavor of the cloves apparently is not affected by the canning process, and since they're whole (instead of chopped), the garlic doesn't lose too much of its "bite."

According to this website (where Don found the recipe), it's an excellent way to preserve garlic. Normally I wouldn't consider canning a low-acid food like garlic in a water-bath, but the woman running this website has impressive credentials and I will defer to her (hopefully) superior expertise on the subject.

So we -- actually Don -- decided to give it a go. It was his first solo canning project. (I'm so proud!)



He started by making the brine. (The kitchen was a bit dark, sorry about the poor photography.)


While the brine was heating, he washed the peeled garlic.


Washed and ready to pack into pint jars.


Tools of the trade.


Filling the jars.


Filling the jars with hot brine.


Capping. Because this was Don's first canning venture, he used standard disposable lids instead of Tattlers.


Into the water bath. He canned it for 15 minutes after it achieved a rolling boil.


Pulling out the jars.


Cooling.


In the morning's clearer light, the garlic was green (this often happens when canning garlic -- it turns color depending on whatever the mineral content of the water might be) and looked uncannily like canned olives. The coloration is harmless and doesn't affect the taste or quality in the slightest.


I'm pleased to add another variation to our canning repertoire and proud of Don's initiative for conducting his own canning project.

16 comments:

  1. How do you plan on using this garlic or are you going to eat them as pickles? Interesting idea, thank you.

    Fern

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  2. Way to go, Don!!

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  3. But it is pickled garlic, isn't it? It's in a vinegar-based solution just like any other pickle and that is why it can be water-bath canned. If it didn't have the vinegar, you would have to pressure can it.

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  4. I have a question...I know you use Tattler lids, but in what you call a "bleep" situation...what would you do if you ran out of lids/rings/jars? Say, for instance, an earthquake hits and half of your canning jars hit the ground? (Ignoring, for the sake of the example, any precautions you may have taken to avoid that scenario.)

    I know you can dehydrate most fruits/veggies...I don't suppose y'all have studied the art of charcuterie? (Although that relies on the somewhat ridiculous idea that you've got large quantities of curing salts around when you presumably have no access to a supplier.)

    Thoughts?

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    1. I have dozens of packs of disposable lids collected over the years prior to purchasing a lifetime supply of Tattlers, so I'm not worried about lids. Nonetheless you're right, people should be familiar with various methods of food preservation. I've never tried charcuterie, but the standard preservation practices throughout history have always been smoking, salting, pickling, dehydrating, and most recently, canning. It would certainly behoove preppers to have a passing familiarity with all of them.

      - Patrice

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  5. We've been saltwater fermenting our garlic for a few years, and loved it. It does lose a bit of its bite, but it's *easy* and preserves well. It's the same process as most other fermented veggies: put peeled cloves in a mason jar, cover with water, add salt (about a teaspoon per quart should be plenty), screw on a lid (plastic is best, because metal ones can corrode from the salt, and the acids the process produces), and let it sit on the counter on a platter or baking tray for a few days, until they stop hissing. Then store in the basement; keeps good for a couple years at least. It's especially good with cumin, oregano, and/or red pepper bits inside.

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  6. With that amount of vinegar I can see why it would be safe to water bath. Might be worth picking up a PH tester though, to check the acidity of the liquid, considering how much canning you do. I've considered it a couple times.....

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  7. I call this "simple pickles", and do several veggies this way. No need to ferment, just can stuff in brine. The vinegar makes it so you don't need to pressure process. Green tomato wedges is one of my favorites. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like. Peppers, mild or hot are excellent preserved in brine. Just rinse before using in a dish you don't want the "pickle" flavor in.

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  8. You probably know this already, but just in case... Fast easy way to peel garlic is to use an air compressor. Take the whole bulb and cut the top off so that you've cut the tip off each clove. Hold over the compressed air stream and it will blow the skins off.

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  9. I used to make homemade garlic/olive oil and keep in the fridge for months as I used it up. I then learned that unprocessed garlic can have botulism if not processed to kill it. I'm not sure waterbath canning kills botulism, does the vinegar take care of this?

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    1. The vinegar acidifies it enough that botulism isn't an issue. Its why you can water bath can pickles, cucumbers aren't acidic either, but the vinegar acidifies it enough to make it safe. Low acid products that don't have additional acid added have to be pressure canned to destroy botulism.

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  10. Thanks for posting this. I had my doubts when I first saw it but, after reading it a few times and doing some pondering, I think I will try it myself next year. I no longer have enough garlic this year since most of it has gone to the cooks in my extended family and the rest is for me to cook with and plant in Nov. I grow garlic every year but I never really do anything with it except try to use it up before it dries up too much. I pick it in July and use it until Dec/Jan. This process intrigues me more than canning or otherwise processing my garlic. I'm looking forward to trying it.

    Please let us know how they feel and taste when you open a jar! Also, would you be able to use them for cooking, like in a pasta sauce, after this process?

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

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  11. Fabulous!
    The recipe states to "see note" about the water. Was that the explanation about the possible coloration of the garlic based on the mineral content of the water? My first pickles were not as crisp as I remembered my grandmother's and I was told it was from the minerals in my water. It would not matter with garlic, I imagine.
    Now to find some garlic at one of the farmer's markets!
    sidetracksusie

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  12. Thank you not only for this great recipe but for linking to another great website! I can't wait to watch Grow A Greener World's TV episodes. For a beginner like me your blog and those like it are an invaluable resource of knowledge and encouragement.
    NikiDee

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  13. Please help! We pulled 4-5 lbs of garlic yesterday, can we use it for pickling immediately or does it need to dry for a few weeks first and the husks get crisp?

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    1. I see no reason why you can't pickle the garlic immediately.

      - Patrice

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