Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Homegrown & homemade garlic preserve

Fermentation is one of the healthiest ways of preserving vegetables; it turns them into a real probiotic powerhouse - especially precious if you've been taking antibiotics and your natural gut flora is depleted. Sauerkraut is a staple in my house, as are cucumbers in brine. I had never tried garlic preserved that way, but seeing as I had a bumper crop of garlic this year I absolutely had to try it!

Garlic preserved in salty brine tastes delicious and doesn't leave behind a stinky breath the way fresh raw garlic does. But most importantly, fermentation intensifies its healing properties, and eating just a couple of cloves a day will really boost your immune system.

Here is the recipe; all quantities are approximate and will depend on the amount of garlic you use.

Garlic cloves - peeled. I used 6 garlic heads to fill 2 small jars.
Dried herbs, about a teaspoon - I used basil and lovage, but any favourite herbs will work.
Whole mustard or coriander seeds, about a teaspoon.
Fresh rosemary, 1 sprig.

Water - enough to fill the jars you are using.
Salt - use 1 tbsp per 1 litre of water (adjust the amount of salt accordingly, e.g. if using 500ml of water, only use half a tablespoon of salt).

Jars and lids must be scrubbed clean and dipped in hot (boiling) water to kill any microbes.
Place the herbs and spices in the bottom of the jar(s). Add in the garlic - a tight squeeze is fine.
Boil the water with the salt. Pour boiling water into the jars, making sure the garlic is covered. 
Screw the lids on and turn the jars upside down, and leave them until they cool down completely, then turn them the right way up and store away in room temperature for at least a week. The warmer the environment, the quicker it will ferment, so if your house is cooler, 2 weeks is probably the minimum.

The garlic can be sliced and added to salads, used in cooking, or eaten on its own almost like a ''pill'' when you feel you need an immunity boost.

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