The Process For Pickling Garlic Is Much Faster Than You Might Think

Garlic pickling in a jar
Garlic pickling in a jar - Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock

Garlic can elevate nearly any savory dish. Its bold, distinctive flavor is highly versatile and easy to add minced, sliced, whole, or even as a powder. There's a garlic form whose culinary potential shouldn't be ignored, though — pickled garlic is bright, biting, and a little sweet. And although you can buy garlic already pickled, preparing these crunchy, vinegary bites at home is a surprisingly easy task. 

The traditional process of how to pickle takes a bit of time. It involves brining the food, boiling it in a pickling solution, sealing it in a jar, and finally boiling the jar in a water bath, which allows the food to be stored at room temperature without spoiling for as long as a year. If you're craving that vinegary taste at the last minute, quick pickling gets the job done in a fraction of the time, and you can enjoy a well-flavored pickled garlic in only eight hours.

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Get Pickling Down To A Science

Pickled vegetables in stacked jars
Pickled vegetables in stacked jars - Gmvozd/Getty Images

The quick pickling method involves immersing food (most often vegetables) in a vinegar solution, which kills off harmful microorganisms and encourages the growth of helpful bacteria. The acetic acid from the vinegar, as well as natural acids in the food itself, stave off spoiling in the short term and imbue the food with a distinctive, tangy flavor. It's important to note, though, that the process isn't meant to keep food preserved for a long time; quick-pickled garlic can keep in the refrigerator for up to four months.

Once you've peeled a head of garlic, bring the cloves to a boil in your pickling solution. Generally, the solution will involve vinegar, water, salt, and sugar, and the proportions of these ingredients will vary, based on what you want the end result to taste like. If you're looking for something milder, put more water than vinegar, and a sharper flavor will call for more vinegar than water. You'll also want to include herbs and spices like peppercorns or dill to add some complexity. These spices and herbs should be fresh, because the flavor will hold up longer in the solution.

Once cooled, the garlic and its vinegar solution will go into a sterilized jar in the refrigerator. How long it needs to sit there before you start chowing down is also a matter of your preference — some recipes call for only eight hours, while others suggest as much as two or three weeks to let the flavor develop.

Pickled Garlic Makes A Perfect Pairing

Pickled garlic in a bowl
Pickled garlic in a bowl - 4kodiak/Getty Images

Now that you've waited patiently for your pickled garlic, there are so many ways to enjoy it. Start by trying it as a snack all on its own. If you turn to the TikTok spicy pickled garlic trend, this snack only needs a little thyme, sriracha, and chili powder to get to the next level (spicy pickled garlic is also delicious served with just rice).

Because the pickling adds a mild sweetness to the garlic and softens the forward flavor of raw garlic, the culinary opportunities are wide and varied. Any dish that could use regular garlic, like pizza or pasta, would enjoy the tangy complexity of pickled garlic. It's perfect even for dishes where regular garlic might be too strong: Liven up a charcuterie board, intensify a salad, or add some sour sweetness to a sandwich spread. Like olives or pickled onions, pickled garlic is a standout cocktail garnish, or you can add just the pickle juice to your cocktail for a hint of savory flavor. It's a twist on a culinary essential that's just calling for experimentation.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.