How To Make Delicious Fermented Garlic


Fermentation is a great way to take ordinary foods and make them even more delectable, and nutritious. Common fermentation favorites include foods like sauerkraut, pickles, cheeses, sourdough bread, and many more. Almost every food has its fermented counterpart, and garlic is no exception.

Here’s a simple way to make delicious fermented garlic with nothing more than salt and water!

How to make lacto-fermented garlic

To make a simple lacto-fermented garlic, all you need is garlic, salt, and water, and an appropriate vessel. Try starting with a pint jar, or a quart jar if you have a whole mess of garlic.

  1. Peel the garlic cloves completely and set to the side. If you have a scale and can weigh the quantity, do so, if not, just go ahead and pack the cloves into a pint or quart jar.
  2. Cover the garlic completely with water. Make sure no garlic sits above the water level. Use clean, filtered water for best results.
  3. Add 2% of the total weight of garlic in salt. If you have no means to weigh the garlic or salt, make your best estimate. About 1.5 teaspoons of salt should be plenty for a pint or garlic, or 1 tablespoon for a quart. Stir it in.
  4. Cover the jar with a loose fitting lid and place the container somewhere at room temperature. Be sure to leave the lid loose, because pressure can sometimes build up in the jar!
  5. Check the garlic after a week. Take notice of how the smell is different. Check again in another week, and then again in a third week. Taste the garlic and notice the differences in flavor over time. The garlic can sit out nearly indefinitely, but the flavor will slowly intensify as long as it is sitting out in a warm place. Put the garlic in a fridge to slow the fermentation to a near halt.

How to enjoy your fermented garlic

Whole fermented garlic cloves can be put through a food processor and made into a delicious spead. Spread the garlic on toasted bread, pizza, or toss into pasta. Whole cloves can be minced and cooked the way you would use fresh garlic. Remember that the flavor of fermented garlic is very intense and a little goes a long way! Enjoy!

For more about the wild world of fermentation, check out wildfermentation.com.

Note: If your fermented garlic is turning green, do not fear. It’s a natural chemical reaction that causes the green color.

Image credit: flickr via psmacleod

  1. emidio

    do you use iodized salt, or is sea salt okay? sounds like a great gift idea, i wonder if there’s a way to color the water/garlic without using food coloring…

  2. emidio

    Where do you get your iodine from? I mean to make colored fermented garlic, just for fun…but I wouldn’t want to use chemical coloring.

  3. barb

    the instructions say to not let any garlic sit above the water level, but my some (not all) of my garlic floats. is this okay, or can i weigh it down w/ something? i didn’t want to lose all that garlic so i removed it and pickled it instead. i really would like to try this though. please advise. thank you, it sounds yummy!

  4. April Smith

    I have a jar that got closed, but has been in the fridge. The fermentation clearly did not stop because I cannot get the ring off and the lid is puffed up a bit due to the pressure. Is there any saving this jar? It’s been going since November & i hate to lose it.

  5. Laura

    My garlic is floating as well. I thought that it might happen, but didn’t have a plan as to how to keep it submerged. Has anyone figured that one out?

  6. Denise

    I get those ice-cream sticks from a candy store. break them in half and put them in the top of the jar and press down.. then put another piece in the jar to make an X on top of the veggies to hold them under water. It works…….. not sure where I read this but they used it for all the fermented veggies……….. Make sure you make them just a bit longer than the width of the jar so they will wedge into the glass..

  7. aissa

    it is considered “lacto” fermented because of the bacteria that should be created in a healthy ferment- lactobacillus, rather than the presence of whey (lactose)

  8. kathryn lesslie

    we had a couple jars where the garlic turned bright green. we followed instructions carefully and have had success in the past. Any reason for this very green garlic? Is it safe to eat? Thanks

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