I love garlic, one of the oldest cultivated plants, and the unique flavor is so well known in so many foods worldwide.
On Friday every week I go down to the Jordan Valley with my dad.
We have a place down there that is our small oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
This is one of the things I look forward to each week.
The taste is strong but delicious, and when you learn about all the benefits of garlic, it is definitely wonderful to have the opportunity to have it fresh.
Of course it is always best when everyone in your household has it because it will leave a strong smell on your breath.
Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has tremendous health benefits, and has been used over the centuries not only as a culinary ingredient in foods from soups to cooked meats, but also as a medicinal plant.
When a clove of garlic is crushed, chopped, or chewed it creates a compound known as allicin that can provide many health benefits.
A lot of nutrition can be found in garlic, from manganese, vitamins C and B6 to selenium and fiber, fresh garlic is good for you.
Some studies have found that regular garlic consumption can lower the incidence of the common cold, and also shorten the duration.
Garlic has also been shown to control blood pressure and lower cholesterol which in turn lowers the chances of heart disease.
Even the antioxidants found in garlic have been found to help prevent dementia, and alzheimer’s disease.
I know from experience that crushed garlic in yogurt can help treat diarrhoea and is a very typical household treatment.
We typically buy our garlic straight from farmers in the Jordan Valley in big bunches
Then hang them to dry in a dark and cool place, where they will last for up to a year.
We will go through 5 or 6 big bunches a year.
Garlic and olive oil are the foods we consume the most of in our household.
With both those ingredients going into most of the dishes we eat.
This process takes at least 28 days but is well worth the wait for the delicious bites of heaven.
Fermented food has been used all around the world for centuries.
People have forgotten the benefits of these foods.
They have also forgotten that all this fermented food can be made in a home kitchen safely.
Nowadays with so much food being packaged and sold in ways they never have been in the past, people are far more used to eating prepackaged foods, and are wary of anything that does not come out of a box.
It is too bad that we as a population are relying more and more on others to prepare our foods.
Which in turn moves us further and further away from the very thing that keeps us alive and healthy.
It is not so much about the life and death aspect of food, given that many of us live in a time of cheap and abundant food.
But more from a health aspect of food.
Eating well, and using the methods our ancestors used can allow us to be the right healthy weight we are meant to be.
While ensuring we eat in a way that is good for our bodies.
What is Fermented Garlic?
It is said that fermented foods are older than recorded history.
And the process is used in almost every part of the world.
Fermentation can remove toxins from food, making it more digestible, while adding nutrients to the food.
Fermenting garlic is not only a fantastic way to preserve it.
But also a way to enhance the health benefits of garlic cloves.
Through the fermentation process, which is to soak the garlic in brine, more antioxidants are created.
Which will further strengthen your immune system, making the garlic even better for you that in its raw state.
The fermentation process also does away with the very strong garlic taste, and the very overpowering garlic aroma.
Fermenting foods can create the good gut bacteria known as probiotics which help you have a well balanced gut life.
More and more research is showing the importance of a healthy gut, and eating fermented foods is one way of achieving such health.
How to Make Fermented Garlic
There are a couple of ways to do this, either whole head of garlic, or single peeled cloves.
Once you decide, put them in a clean glass mason jar.
Then cover them with water, preferably filtered water with no chlorine or other contaminants.
For every quart of water add two teaspoons of sea salt.
If you want to add herbs for flavor, you can do that too.
Make sure you have a lid on the jar that seals well.
The salt and water will create the brine.
This is crucial for creating the fermentation process that will pickle the garlic.
Leave at room temperature for the first week to allow the fermentation process the time it needs to work.
Tips for Making Fermented Garlic
Fermentation of the garlic can take up to a week.
But it is usually encouraged that you leave it for three to four weeks for best results.
Use a clean glass jar for best results, and try and peel your garlic so it stays whole and does not crush or break.
There are several methods for peeling garlic successfully and easily.
One way is to use a small rubber tube that is made for the purpose of peeling garlic.
It works by rolling the garlic inside the tube while exerting pressure from your hand on the outside.
This method will do a pretty good job of getting the cloves peeled in a quick fashion.
Another way to do it is to separate all the cloves and place in a large metal bowl.
You will have a sphere shaped container which you hold tightly together while you shake it vigorously for about 30 seconds.
This should cause the peelings to separate from the garlic leaving you with perfectly peeled garlic cloves.
After the garlic has fermented, open the jar using a clean spoon scoop out some of the garlic cloves.
These are safe to eat as is, and you will no doubt be surprised by the lack of the fiery and pungent flavor that garlic is famous for.
Use this garlic whole or crushed whenever you have a recipe that calls for garlic, such as salad dressings.
Recipes to Use Fermented Garlic in
Use it in all kinds of salads as a way to add a pickled flavor and a crunch.
Use fermented garlic in marinades, or as the base for stir fries, or chopped and sprinkled on top.
Make fresh salsa with fermented garlic and dipping oil.