Ahh, garlic. What an amazingly flavourful food and medicine! Did you know that aside from providing flavour to pesto, hummus, stirfries and more, it has a host of medicinal benefits?
Even mainstream medicine agrees on many of these, and advises a dose of a clove or two a day!
Why you should be eating garlic
Here are a few of the health benefits of regular garlic consumption:
- Detoxes heavy metals from your body
- Improves cardiovascular health (and lowers cholesterol)
- Reduction in cancer risk
- Good for weight loss
- Improves gut health
- Useful for preventing/treating colds and ‘flu
- Helps to control blood sugar in people with diabetes
- And the list goes on!
Even with all these benefits to look forward to, not many people can claim to successfully eat a clove of garlic every day. Some of the barriers to successful regular garlic intake is the strong taste, the resulting smell, and the digestive side effects that some people experience.
What to do? There seems to be a relatively simple solution that addresses all of these: fermented garlic!
What is fermenting?
In case you are wondering, fermenting is not the same as pickling, although there is some overlap.
The process of fermentation can be explained as: the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.
Pickling, on the other hand, refers to: the process of preserving/extending the lifespan of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar.
So fermentation is a type of pickling, but don’t break out the acids for this one!
I’ll run you through some reasons to ferment garlic before giving you some directions to try it at home!
What does fermenting do to garlic? Firstly, it improves digestability. Secondly, it improves the nutritional profile of the garlic. Lastly, it increases the antioxidant effect of garlic and its health benefits.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you to try it, fermenting garlic also decreases gastrointestinal side effects and makes its taste milder. The resulting cloves are sweet and tangy, with no odour, and are easy to eat! They can also easily be added to salads or as garnish to many dishes. This makes it simple to add garlic to your diet on a daily basis, while making your food tastier.
You just can’t lose! Fermented garlic is a win on all accounts!
How to ferment garlic
Here is how to make it:
You will need:
A glass jar big enough to hold cloves with 1.5 inches/4cm space left
As many heads of garlic as you would like to ferment – usually 3-6
Salt (I use Himalayan salt)
Fermentation takes place in brine (salted water), to make sure that the garlic retains its crunch and to discourage the growth of unhelpful bacteria.
To make the fermented garlic, peel the cloves (or break them apart without peeling them and wash them), and pack them into the jar. Make brine at a ratio of 4 1/4t salt to 500ml water, and pour it over the garlic so it is covered, but there is still at least 1 inch/2.5cm of air at the top. If the garlic floats, weigh it down with a clean river stone or small glass jar. Close the lid, label the jar with the date, and leave it for a month!
If you feel you are getting sick before the month is up, feel free to crack it open! The garlic will keep getting better, even up to 3 to six months, but it probably won’t last that long! Don’t stress if the garlic turns bluish or greenish – that can happen. It is a pigment change but it is still edible.
What’s your take? (Will you take it?)
So there you have it – good reasons to eat garlic, a way to make it possible, and a recipe to use. What do you think?
Interested? Read more here: