I am still on my lacto-fermentation kick. My latest project came to me as the answer to the question of what to do with the 3-pound bag of garlic I bought at Costco – pickle it, of course.
1 pint wide-mouth canning jar
1 pound garlic cloves, peeled (about 4 to 5 heads)
1 cup bottled or filtered water
9 grams (about 1 tablespoon coarse sea or Diamond-brand kosher salt)
3 dried red chiles, (arbol in this case)
In a small saucepan, heat the water to a simmer. Add salt and stir until it dissolves. Remove pan from heat and let to cool to room temperature.
Put peppers in the jar first, then top with garlic. Fill jar to within an inch from the top with tightly packed garlic cloves. Pour cooled brine over garlic, filling jar to within a half inch of the top.
Let the jar sit on a dark spot on your counter for 7 days, checking every day to make sure that you are seeing small bubbles at the top of the brine and that nothing funky is growing there.
After a week, open the jar and take a whiff – it should smell very garlicky, but also sour and slightly fermented. You should smell little bit of sulfur, but it shouldn’t smell rotten. If it does, pitch it out and try again.
Now take a taste – a sour, salty, tang should have replaced a lot of the garlic’s bite and mellowed out the flavor.
Does it taste good to you? If so, seal the jar with an airtight lid and move it off to the fridge. If it’s not quite done enough, reseal it with the airlock and check it again in a few days. When it’s ready, seal and stash in the fridge. It will continue to slowly age there and store well for up to a year.
The end result is a little less punchy than fresh garlic, but has a much more well-rounded (almost roasted) garlic flavor.
You can use it just like fresh garlic. I sliver raw cloves and toss them into salads, or blend them into salad dressing. They also add a big kick to hummus, guacamole, and salsas. When the winter holidays roll around, I plan to put whole cloves out with a bunch of toothpicks and serve them as appetizers.