Friday 27 September 2013

Pickled Garlic

A month or so ago my friend Dan harvested his garlic and I bought quite a bit as I had not been able to plant myself this season.

It is organic Red Russian garlic from the Lanark County area and absolutely delicious.  There is nothing like fresh garlic ... it is in a completely different universe from the month's old (year old?) garlic most often found in grocery stores.

It's incredible how much garlic I use to cook with, but I also needed some to plant myself this fall...

I tried a bit of pickled garlic at the Manotick Farmer's Market last month and immediately decided to try some of my own.  Mine did not come out as spicy as I had hoped, but maybe leaving the canned jars to sit for a month or two might improve the heat from the chilies in the jars.  Tasty either way, and a great method for storing garlic.  If stored properly (in a basket or other "breathable" container in a dark, cool spot), garlic will easily keep through to the spring, but this is just another option.

As this is my first time to pickle garlic, I researched a number of recipes.  They all suggested the same method for peeling garlic by placing it in a pot of boiling water.  Garlic can be difficult to peel and you do not want to crush or damage the clove in any way before pickling so this is highly recommended.  The spices are up to you ...

Preparing and Peeling Garlic:

Carefully break apart garlic bulbs into separate cloves.  I used about 1 1/2 pounds of large garlic bulbs for this recipe.  Put a large pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, place a large bowl of water on the counter and fill with ice cubes.  This is to stop the garlic from cooking once it's been in the hot water.  I realized too late that I had no cubes so I had to make do with "freezies".

When the water is boiling, toss the garlic cloves into the water for one minute - start counting one minute right away; do not wait for water to boil again.  After one minute, remove garlic with a slotted spoon (or strain in a colander) and place in the ice bath.  Let completely cool.  Skin should come off easily (I kind of squirted the clove out most of the time, it was very easy).

Pickling and Canning the Garlic:

In a medium sauce pan, combine 4 1/2 cups pickling vinegar (any vinegar minimum 5% acidity), 3/4 cup white sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp pickling salt.  Add 1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns and 1 Tbsp mustard seed.  Bring to a boil, then simmer.

Sterilize jars.

In each hot jar, place fresh thyme leaves, fresh rosemary and a whole chili pepper (or slices).  Fill with garlic cloves, then pour hot brine over top leaving a 1-inch head space.  Continue to process using safe canning procedures (boiling water method).

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