Homemade garlic powder is good. It’s amazing even, especially when compared with conventional store-bought garlic powder. I just made it the other day, but I’ve already used it to make garlic bread, to flavor mashed potatoes, and in my homegrown spaghetti sauce.
But do you know what’s even better than garlic powder? Like, a bajillion times better?
The first time I ever ate pickled garlic was at my wedding. This was way way back in 2004. I was only 21, a junior in college, and the love of my life was being shipped off to fight in that ill-conceived war in Iraq. So, we did the only sensible thing we could do. We got married. And we served pickled garlic to our guests.
It was fantastic.
To cut a long story short, Jasper ended up getting injured and coming home, I graduated college, we moved a few times (finally to this farm), the marriage has lasted and so has the love of the pickled garlic. In fact, it was the first thing we decided to do when faced with the task of preserving 200 garlic bulbs.
Pickling dilutes the spiciness and intensity of raw garlic, but still leaves the complexity of flavor. In my opinion, it’s so much better than eating a regular pickle (or a regular clove of garlic, for that matter). It makes an amazing appetizer paired with cheese and olives, and adds wonderful nuggets of flavor to vinaigrettes, salads, vegetable sautés and roasts.
It takes a little more effort than making garlic powder, but it’s so worth it!
If you’ve never made pickles or canned anything before, don’t worry! I think the hardest thing about it is maybe just having the confidence to do it!
- Four cups of peeled garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp pickling salt
- 1-1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tsp pickling spice per jar (if you don’t have pickling spice, you can also use a 1/8 tsp each of crushed bay leaves, whole coriander seed, black or white peppercorns, whole cumin seed, mustard seed and crushed red pepper flakes)
- Four half-pint canning jars with lids and rings
- Large stock pot or water bath canning pot
- Jar lifter or tongs
- Wash jars, lids and rings in hot, soapy water
- Heat the water in the canning pot to a rolling boil
- Transfer jars and lids (not rings) to the canning pot to keep warm
- In the saucepan, combine the vinegar, water and salt; bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low until it’s time to fill the jars
- Add the pickling spices to the bottom of each jar
- Tightly pack the garlic cloves into the jars, filling to 1/2″ of the top
- Add hot vinegar mixture to each jar, leaving 1/4″ of headspace
- Remove bubbles, wipe jar rims, add lids and screw rings on until fingertight
- Process in the water bath for 10 minutes (or adjust for elevation)
- For best flavor, let these cure for at least a month
- If you don’t want to process using the water bath canning method, you can also just fill the jars, allow them to cool and then store them in your refrigerator. Let them cure for a week or so, and then they should keep for several months in there!
It feels a little backwards to be pickling and preserving things now, at the tail end of winter. At the same time though, it’s nice to know that we’ll still have lots of last year’s garlic to eat while we wait for this year’s crop to mature, and this pickled delicacy to crack open on our anniversary.
Garlic breath. Pickled garlic breath. That’s love, you guys.