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Pickled Recipes: How to Pickle Garlic

Updated on October 1, 2010

Have you ever wanted to learn how to pickle garlic? Maybe you've never really thought about it before but pickled garlic is a great addition to many dishes including salads and cold pastas. If you already know the great taste of pickled garlic, then you know from buying it at the store that it can be a pretty expensive item. But you can pickle garlic on your own for a relatively low cost. And when you pickle garlic, it lasts for quite a long time so it's something you can try once to see how it goes and reap the rewards from many meals later.

Here are the basic steps you'll need to know for how to pickle garlic:

  • Buy the ingredients. Obviously, you'll need to buy the garlic. You should buy whole cloves of garlic that are fresh and ready to be used. Buy organic garlic straight from the farmer's market if you're earth-conscious or simply buy the garlic from your grocery stores. You'll also need the pickling juice which is most likely a form of vinegar. Other ingredients that you may get for the recipe include bell pepper, carrots, onion, celery, spices such as dry mustard, and sugar to sweeten it up a bit. See the recipes at the links below to get exact recipes and ingredient information.
  • Peel the garlic so that all of the cloves are separate. This is never a fun task but it's part of the process so try to enjoy it. Get the whole family involved. Make some garlic bread to snack on while you peel the rest of the garlic and have a good time with it.
  • Cook the spices and vinegar together to get a great tasting liquid together. You should cook over slow heat and take your time with the entire process. Pickling garlic should be something that you enjoy doing, not something that you're rushing to get done. The spices will need to cook in the vinegar first to give it's full flavor. Then you'll add in the peeled garlic (chopped or sliced to the size that you'll want it when you go to use it after it's been pickled). You'll cook this mixture a little while longer to allow the flavors of the pickling juice to seep all the way in to the garlic.
  • Fill up your pickling jars with the garlic and any other vegetables that you are pickling with the recipe (such as bell peppers or carrots). Do this by using a slotted spoon to remove the garlic from the liquid that it was cooking in. Fill the jars almost all the way up with the vegetables. Then add the liquid on top of the vegetables to completely fill the jars. Make sure the lids on the jars are on tight and place them in a safe spot in your refrigerator.
  • Be patient. The pickling process isn't a quick one. It takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks to pickle garlic so that it has a good rich spicy taste. When you think it's ready, take it out and test it. If it tastes the way that you want it to taste, you can start using the pickled garlic in pastas, salads and even as relish on sandwiches. You can even eat it by itself!

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  • huyenchi profile image

    huyenchi 5 years ago from London - Hanoi

    Dr Rice, I heard otherwise that, after slicing/ bruising you should leave the garlic expose to the air for about 10-15 minutes before consuming, it's better that way. I am not sure but I might worth a research.

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    Dr Rice 5 years ago

    Pickled garlic is quite the treat but don't eat it for health reasons...pickling anything attenuates the nutrients; pickled garlic is not as healthy snack as raw garlic. I eat raw garlic all the time. It's wonderful for the liver and is a natural anti inflammatory agent. If you don't overdo it, you won't smell bad either!

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    Joshua 5 years ago

    Tried it with hot peppers and fresh green beans. it was great

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    Colin Tisdall 5 years ago

    Sorry to res a slightly outdated thread, but I've been researching garlic preservation over the last few weeks and found a few things (some have already been covered).

    Garlic will turn green when the sulphurous compounds in the garlic react with trace levels of copper in the water supply or even utensils to form blue/bluegreen copper sulphate compounds. Still perfectly safe to eat.

    The green colouring is created by chlorophyll forming in the garlic due to exposure to light (I think that's what I read).

    As for not being able to preserve garlic - it CAN be done, however a high pH needs to be maintained as garlic is a low-acid food and in the anaerobic environment of the pickling jar it is possible for botulism to grow using the garlic as a food source - this however seems to be more of a risk in OILS rather than Pickles (acid levels are more easily regulated in a pickle).

    That said, pickled garlic is one of my biggest snacking weaknesses...I'll be trying this recipe to feed my habit! :P

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    Kim 5 years ago

    I believe the iodine in table salt call discolour garlic so pickling salt or other non-iodized salts are best. I am pretty sure garlic in vinegar or lemon is fairly safe especially if refrigerated but garlic in oil is a real risk of deadly botulism if kept for more than a few days. That is why jarred minced garlic has citric acid.

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    Lynda 5 years ago

    In a class I took from a professional chef, we were told that pickling garlic is not recommended any longer for safety reasons, and that it needs to be canned with a pressure cooker; that it can be very dangerous otherwise.

  • munshill profile image

    munshill 6 years ago from Italy

    important, thanks for Hub.

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    Steve 6 years ago

    Heating garlic in pan with the vinegar turns them green .salting stops this add vinegar after putting them in jars any mould can turn them green too .what sad hobby but makes me happy . Steve

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    reynm 6 years ago

    It is medicinal too.

  • nikitha p profile image

    nikitha p 6 years ago from India

    great hub!

  • IzzyM profile image

    IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

    I've never tried pickling garlic - great way to save them from drying out. Great hub - rated up :)

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    Isolation 6 years ago

    No, No, No, you don't want to leave in the sun for a few days because you want to preserve the freshness of the garlics and when you pickle them, they will stay crunchy. Use pure water mix with salt and leave the garlics there for a few days in the refrigerator, then you add vinager. Keep them in the refrigerator for a few weeks before serving.

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    Alan 7 years ago

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    nalbi 7 years ago

    the Garlic turns green because your using fresh garlic,

    try and leave it in the sun for couple of days before you pickle it, that would make it keep its white color.

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    joe 7 years ago

    garlic in olive oil and white spirit vinager also turns green/blue any suggestions

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    Garlic 7 years ago

    Sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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    Dave 7 years ago

    Garlic will react with a small amount of copper and turn colour, but still safe to eat. Trace amount of copper in your water supply or from utensils is sufficient to cause this colour change.

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    April 7 years ago

    I heard that the garlic turns green if you don't use distilled water or water other than well water.

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    Wanda Vlodek 7 years ago

    Why does garlic turn green? Vinegar heated in SS pot.

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    collar needs fixing 8 years ago

    make sure you are NOT cooking the vinegar in a metallic pan.

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    Suzanne 8 years ago

    I have the same question............why does it turn greeny blue?

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    d.wilson 8 years ago

    why does the garlic turn green?

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