Fermented Garlic: A Powerful Food for Health

Most of us have heard that garlic supports our immune system. But did you know that only applies to raw garlic?

Cooked garlic does have some benefit, but most of the health properties are lost when the garlic is heated. Raw garlic, however, has many supportive health benefits. And when raw garlic is fermented, many of these increase. Here are some of garlic's known benefits:

  • Antibiotic—it directly suppresses bacteria, gram positive and gram negative

  • Immune stimulant—it increases the number, lifespan and strength of natural killer cells

  • Hypocholesterolemic—it's anti-inflammatory, which in turn decreases cholesterol

  • Hypotensive—related to decreasing inflammation and its vasodilatory effects

  • Antithrombotic—increases the clotting time (aka: thinning the blood)

  • Paraciticidal—certain worms do not like garlic and can't live in its presence

  • Expectorant—decreases bronchial secretions, a natural asthma treatment

  • Digestive aid—stimulates the production of bile which aids digestion

There are many more! Keep reading! I am going to show you the simple way that you can make this powerful ferment. And I encourage you to do it soon! This fermentation process takes about 6 weeks to complete!

But first, a few fun facts about garlic!

Garlic has traditions and legends surrounding it. Greeks used to offer sacrifices of garlic to their god, Hectare. In Egypt, oaths were taken in the name of garlic. A Greek writer (Horace) mistakenly thought it was more poisonous than hemlock. And the Romans believed that the smell of garlic in their country kept others from wanting to invade them!

In fact, garlic breath has long been a source of contention. In Greece, people were denied entrance to certain temples if they smelled of garlic. (This can be combated, however. Indians traditionally use parsley after the meal to help successfully neutralize their garlic breath.) Finally, Hippocrates and Aristotle were among many who knew and used garlic for its many medicinal benefits.

So, are you ready to make this amazing ferment and bring all these benefits into your home? Great! Fermenting garlic is very simple. It does take a little time to prepare, so I suggest that you find someone to do it with—many hands make the work light, and talking helps to pass the time!

how to make Fermented Garlic

Supplies:

  • 14-16 heads of garlic (organic preferred)

  • One half-gallon mason jar with metal lid

  • Sea salt

  • filtered water (no chlorine!)

  • container for shaking cloves (optional)

Directions:

Separate and peel your garlic cloves. I think I used about 15 heads. You want to peel enough to fill your jar just under 3/4 full. It's okay to use cloves that have sprouted.

You can do this two ways.   First way: separate the cloves and, using a knife, break the paper shell to make it easier to remove. Do this gently, and try not to crush or break the clove too much.

Second way: separate the cloves and place about 10 in a container (I used the quart sized mason jar pictured). Then shake the container until the paper is off the cloves. Empty the cloves and separate from the skins (I used the white bowl pictured for this step). Then add more cloves and repeat.

Next, add the peeled cloves to a half-gallon mason jar.

When it is 2/3-3/4 full, add 2-4 TBS sea salt and fill to just below the shoulder with water. Garlic produces a lot of gas during the fermentation process, so I leave a little more air room than I do with other ferments.  

Leave on the countertop (68-72 degrees F) for 4-6 weeks. That's it!

Extra Notes:

During the fermentation process, the garlic cloves may turn neon green or blue. If this happens, this is normal! It is a pH reaction happening. The cloves will (probably, but they don't have to) go back to a white/yellow color, and finished fermented garlic is darker yellow in color.

I do not recommend "burping" this ferment unless the pressure is seriously bending the lid. If you do, open slowly, a little at a time, over 15-20 minutes. Be sure to do this in a sink!

When the ferment is ready, move the entire jar to the fridge. I recommend changing to a plastic lid at this point, because this ferment seems to commonly form rust on the lid.

If rust has formed, carefully wipe the rust off the rim of the jar before adding a plastic lid.

For health benefits, you can have everyone take a clove or two each day for general health purposes.

You can also (work up to it) take more garlic cloves if you are experiencing any symptoms described above. It's especially good to take this during periods of acute illness.

You can consume the juice as well. I add it to sauces, recipes and marinades, or just drink a little straight. If it's cooked, it looses some of its properties, but that doesn't stop me! And there are other times I can add it at the end after I have turned off the heat.

Pretty simple, right? Let me know in the comments if you have questions, and how your fermented garlic turned out!  

Onward!

Resource: Pederson, Mark.(2015) Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Whitman Publications, Warsaw, IN. pg. 94-96