Updated: May 20, 2020
What is fermented garlic?
Lacto-fermented garlic is a method of preserving fresh garlic using a brine. It's super simple, all you do is make a brine and pour it over the garlic. The salt means that food spoilage and pathogenic microbes can't grow so well which allows the growth of microbes we want to grow - mostly lactic acid bacteria (LAB). These consume sugars in the garlic and produce acids, which further preserves it. Other compounds are also made which give the fermented garlic crazy depth of flavour, kind of like what you get with roasted garlic.
What do you use it for?
You can use your fermented garlic the same way you'd use regular garlic but it's extra delicious when the garlic is the star of the show! Use it to make salad dressings, sauerkraut, soups, stir-fries, garlic bread, pesto or make this INCREDIBLE fermented garlic artichoke dip.
Make it yourself
Don't stress about what kind of salt you need - we use sea salt because we like it but you can just as easily use table salt or whatever fancy kind you have lying around! We also use a 2% brine for this type of ferment but others use closer to 3% - there's no real right or wrong but we wouldn't go much lower than 2% so that your ferment is as safe as possible.
You can get fancy with what extra ingredients you add - dried or fresh herbs, spices and chillies work great with fermented garlic.
You'll need to adapt this recipe (i.e. how much garlic you need) to suit whatever jar or vessel you're using - the bigger the jar the more garlic you'll need!
Glass jar or vessel (with lid)
1. Place your empty jar on the scales and zero the weight by pressing TARE or ZERO.
2. Add your peeled garlic to the jar, making sure you press them in tightly, leaving about an inch of space at the top (so that when it gets active you won't have spills!)
3. Top up the jar with water, again leaving that space at the top.
4. Make a note of the weight (in grams) of the garlic + water. Multiply this number by 0.02 and this will give you the weight of salt you need to add (i.e. 2% salt by weight)
5. Strain off the water from the jar into a measuring jug and add the weight of salt you calculated in step 4. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
6. Pour the brine on top of the garlic. If the garlic isn't totally covered push the garlic under the brine or add extra 2% brine - still leaving an inch of space at the top of the jar.
7. Cap the jar and leave on your counter top out of direct sunlight. After a few days you might notice some bubbles forming or colour changes - this is normal!
8. We leave our garlic to ferment for at least a month before we use it, so that it gets deliciously funky. Then you can take cloves out as and when you use them - the fermentation process preserves the garlic, so as long as it's not exposed to air or contaminated by dirty hands/utensils they should last for months, if not years!