I am visiting my mom this week, and I we’ve been enjoying her fermented raw garlic that has been preserved in Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, which we recommend via our Amazon affiliation. I photographed the fermented garlic after it had been sitting out at room temperature for 2 years!
Note that it is considered fermented. Raw apple cider vinegar is a fermented food, very similar to kombucha. Vinegar produces an acetic acid fermentation. Veggies fermented in water or salt brine, with or without whey, are lactic acid fermented. Lacto-fermentation is not the only kind of fermentation. I contacted Cultures for Health and this is their response:
I think you can certainly still call it fermented. The bacteria and yeast will ferment the garlic and you’ll have an amazing batch of garlicky goodness!
Cultures for Health
200 Innovation Ave. Ste. 150
Morrisville, NC 27560
Raw garlic has been recognized and utilized for its flavor and for its health benefits for millennium. Raw garlic is said to serve as a potent immune booster which can prevent the common cold. Garlic is considered an effective natural antibiotic that kills certain pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungus. It can reduce blood pressure [1, 2, 3], and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It can improve physical performance in lab animals and people with heart disease and garlic was shown to significantly reduce lead toxicity and related symptoms in one study.
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, often called the father of Western medicine, said “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” He prescribed garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions.
Yet, eating raw garlic can result in pungent breath odor, and other concerns such a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, overall body odor, or overall digestive upset. It may be challenging for children to consume as a result.
Fermenting garlic in apple cider vinegar not only preserves the garlic but is said to help eliminate most of the complications from eating it raw. Apple cider vinegar is a prebiotic and naturally fermented food that supports and feeds the probiotics existing in the gut, contributing to a healthier environment in the body.
Preserving garlic in apple cider vinegar is extremely easy, requiring very few steps. This is the way my mother, Jacqueline Hahn has been taught to do it from a Persian friend of hers:
- Purchase or grow organic garlic and ensure that it is not irradiated.
- In order to retain the full health benefits of garlic it is advised to leave the bulbs whole and not cut or crush them when preparing for preservation. The allicin in garlic provides its health benefits, and it is released when the clove is crushed or cut open.
- Place the whole bulb in canning jars.
- Pour apple cider vinegar to cover the cloves. Raw, organic apple cider vinegar is ideal.
- Close the lid and leave the garlic at room temperature for as long as possible. The garlic I pictured had been left for 2 years. My mother’s friends has left it for 12 years! Apparently, the longer the more medicinal.
The color of the garlic may change as it interacts with the apple cider vinegar. Eventually the garlic will return close to its original color.
The longer the garlic is left to ferment, the more mellow the taste will be. I experience the taste of that garlic preserved in apple cider vinegar as tangy, and at the same time somewhat sweet. I think it is absolutely delicious. I like to eat it raw by itself, but it can certainly be added to a variety of dishes.
Cultures for Health has a variation on the recipe my mother uses.
What has your experience with raw or fermented garlic been?