The fermenting of the garlic mellows the cloves and removes some of the "heat." You could take it "medicinally" by just eating the cloves strait from the jar, but let me tell you, the country kids were unimpressed with eating it this way. Though they did have fun running around the house breathing on each other afterward!
To reap all of the probiotic and nutritional goodness from your lacto-fermented garlic, add it to anything that is not cooked. You can use your garlic on and in things like cold salads and veggie dishes, dips, dressings, salsa, chutney, etc, While you can still use your fermented garlic in anything you would normally put garlic in, keep in mind that heating the garlic will kill the lactobacilli and destroy the probiotic benefit.
You can even use your fermented garlic in recipes that call for garlic powder! Simply use the same amount of your fresh garlic! You may need to add just a tad more, because dried garlic is more concentrated. Simply mince it up, measure it out and your done.
So how do you ferment garlic?
Easy!!! Simply peel your garlic, do not cut it. Slightly smashed and cracked garlic can lead to your garlic turning a blue/green color during fermentation. It is still good! Don't toss it!! The color change is caused by the amino acids reacting with the sulphur, but it is still edible and good for you. And you can always either, freak people out with it or tell them it is a "special" garlic. LOL
Now simply make up a a 3.5% brine based on the size of your jar you are using. Since it takes a lot of garlic to fill a jar, I make pint jar batches. I mix 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of ancient Himalayan salt into a pint of water. I place my garlic in the jar, poure the brine in (leaving an inch at the top of the jar), and place my glass weight in the jar. Next I place my lid and airlock on and set it on the counter to start the fermentation project. I leave the garlic on the counter around two week before moving it to the fridge. Once you move a ferment to the fridge, it will continue to ferment, but more slowly.
So when will your garlic be "ready?" Well that all depends on you. The longer a ferment sits, the better it becomes. In the case of garlic, the flavor continues to mellow over time. Do a few taste tests along the way and observe the changes. I personally thing garlic hits it's "perfection" at around 4 months.
Were can I get fermenting supplies?
I was lucky enough to cross paths with Matt over at Fermentools. He sent me a few of his kits and asked me to give them a try. You know what? I am so totally hooked on fermenting! I might need an intervention because if it isn't nailed down, I am stuffing it in a jar and fermenting it!!! I can say 100% his Fermentools rock! He caries all the supplies you need, even the beautiful pink ancient Himalayan salt. I receive no compensation form Fermentools, other then the initial kits he sent me to try. I do however, totally blame him for my fermenting addiction and my ongoing Fermentation Friday series!
"Pickling" food uses vinegar as the preserving agent, where as fermenting uses SALT. The salt is the kick in the butt, so to speak, to start the chemical process of breaking down the sugars in the food. Fermenting and Pickling are two different food preservation methods.