What to do when you have an abundance of leftover garlic? Pickle it! That’s how this recipe was born. I’d bought a big ol’ bag of peeled garlic cloves to use for cooking an Italian meal for a big party. After the party, I had lots of garlic left that I didn’t want to go to waste. Even after I made and froze a big batch of pesto, I still had garlic left. The easiest, tastiest way I could figure out to preserve it was to pickle and can it. Boy, am I glad I did. I pickled my first jars of garlic a year ago, and I’ve loved having them in my pantry and fridge.
Flavorful garlic without the bite. Eating a raw whole clove of garlic would be way too much for me. But pickling mellows out the extreme bite of garlic while leaving it’s essential flavor. The acidic vinegar prolongs the shelf life of the garlic and, at the same time, balances its flavor.
Here are just a few ways to use pickled garlic:
on appetizer platters along with olives, pickles, cheese, etc.
either whole or sliced and scattered on salads and antipastos
sliced and sautéed with veggies of your choice — like mushrooms…yum!
minced, mixed with olive oil, and used to baste grilled veggies or meat
minced and added to a vinaigrette
mashed and mixed with butter for an amazing spread for bread or garlic toast
mashed and mixed into hummus
stuffed whole inside large, pitted olives
with Chinese food (especially noodles); on my Facebook page, a reader shared that pickled garlic is popular in China and common in restaurants there
as gifts–something uniquely homemade to take along for a host/hostess gift or to share at a party
Can them…..or not. Choose which method you prefer:
Refrigerator pickled garlic — Simply assemble the jars and refrigerate. them. After marinating in the fridge for at least 3 days, they’re ready to eat. They’ll be good stored in the fridge for several months.
Canned pickled garlic — This recipe is suitable and safe for water-process canning. That means they’ll be shelf-stable for at least 1 year. It is so easy to can a small batch of pickled garlic, as you’ll see in the step-by-step photos below. Canned pickles may be stored in a dark pantry so they don’t take up fridge space and they are easy to gift.
Printable labels, too. Canned goods make a great gift to have on hand, and pickled garlic makes a particularly unique gift. I’ve provided printable labels near the end of this post that transform your jars into distinctive gifts. Make them now to have ready for holiday, hostess, teacher, and friend gift-giving. There’s nothing more appreciated than a homemade gift.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:
- bay leaves (cut in half with scissors or kitchen shears)
- coriander seed
- cumin seed
- crushed red pepper
- mustard seed
- White wine vinegar is preferred, but you can also use regular white vinegar
- Pickling or kosher salt– These 2 salts are pure and without additives. Table salt isn’t recommended because it contains additives that can cloud the liquid and degrade the quality of the pickles.
- Garlic–peel it yourself, or buy it already peeled. I bought a big bag of peeled garlic at Costco.
Step 2. Peel the garlic (if you didn’t buy it peeled). You want whole peeled garlic cloves–don’t mash them. Here are 3 options that work for peeling garlic cloves easily while keeping them whole.
- OPTION 1: Use a mason jar. Place unpeeled garlic cloves inside, screw on the lid and shake it like crazy until the peels fall off. Since the jar is clear, it’s easy to stop and check to see when the job is finished.
- OPTION 2: Use a garlic peeler tube. Simply insert a few cloves inside the tube, press with your palm as you roll the tube against the counter, and the peels come right off.
- OPTION 3: Use 2 bowls to shake off the peels. This is a good way to peel larger quantities of garlic cloves at one time.
Step 3. Combine the vinegar and salt in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and cook until the salt is dissolved. Cover, lower heat, and keep it warm.