Garlic is known to have medicinal properties as well as an overpowering taste. Fermented garlic is healthier and more comfortable to eat than raw garlic due to the spiciness mellowing out during the fermentation process. Fermenting garlic also adds probiotics, which increase vitamins and improve digestion.
To start this easy fermented garlic recipe, I’ll share with you the easiest way to peel garlic clove. First, lay a large knife flat across a garlic clove. Then smash it down hard with the heel of your hand. The skin of the garlic will then slide off of the clove. Easy! Now, its time to make fermented garlic.
The Health Benefits of Fermented Garlic
Intensely aromatic and flavorful, garlic is utilized in practically every cuisine in the world. When eaten raw, it has a robust, pungent flavor to match the truly mighty garlic benefits.
This aromatic bulbous herb is naturally loaded with countless health benefits. However, fermented garlic is another ballgame entirely.
It is important to point out that raw garlic is more beneficial to health than cooked garlic. This shows that many of the health properties are lost when garlic is cooked.
Therefore, eat raw garlic to take full advantage of everything it has to offer. But even then, the human body cannot digest or process the nutrients present in fresh garlic.
The best way to obtain all the essential nutrients from cloves of garlic is to ferment them. You can ferment garlic with cloves peeled or the skins on.
Fermented garlic is not as spicy as its raw counterpart. But it still has a delicate, tangy, soft taste that is quite impressive.
The number of probiotics produced during the fermentation process is mind-blowing. Moreover, the antioxidant activity of fermented garlic is much higher than its raw counterpart.
The fermentation process that garlic undergoes results in the production of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide can be produced naturally in the human body to eliminate the harmful virus, fungi, and bacteria.
This shows that fermented garlic is loaded with many health benefits. It is also one of nature’s most potent antibiotics.
Many foodists classify fermented garlic under the superfoods category. A few of them even find it highly addictive.
Health Benefits of Garlic
Before highlighting the health benefits of fermented garlic, here are some of the health benefits provided by raw garlic:
High Blood Pressure – When fresh garlic is eaten, it reduces systolic blood pressure by approximately 7-9mmHg. It also reduces diastolic blood pressure by about 4-6mmH in people with hypertension. Source: bloodpressureuk.org
Prostate Cancer – Eating one clove of garlic a day brings down the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Diabetes – Garlic is potent enough to minimize pre-meal blood sugar levels in people, whether or not they have diabetes.
However, this property works best in people with the polygenic disease, especially if it is consumed for at least three months. It is, however, unknown if garlic minimizes HbA1 levels or post-meal sugar levels.
Other Health Benefits of Raw Garlic
Immune booster (prevents common cold)
Reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Minimizes lead toxicity and related symptoms
Benefits of Fermented Garlic
Fermented garlic surpasses the nutritional and beneficial values provided by raw garlic.
According to research, the fermentation of raw garlic significantly boosts both its properties as well as bioavailability. Nutrients obtained from fermented garlic are relatively more natural for the human body to process and assimilate. Source: probioticscenter.org
The following are the health benefits of fermented garlic:
Improves the level of cholesterol in the body
Reduces the risk of lung cancer
Lowers fasting blood sugar levels efficiently
Boosts heart health
Reduces the risk of liver disease
Minimizes the risk of breast cancer
In addition to these, the fermentation process dramatically increases the levels of amino acids and other nutrients such as:
Alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
One study found that fermenting the garlic increased antioxidant properties by up to 13 times compared to the control garlic.
Fresh or raw garlic comes with sugars and amino acids that can be readily consumed by beneficial bacteria. But during fermentation, these beneficial bacteria produce lactic acid.
Lactic acid is responsible for creating that fresh, tangy, and sour taste associated with fermented foods. This makes such foods to be highly desirable for your gastrointestinal tract as it promotes several body functions. Source: probioticscenter.org
Allicin: The Super Ingredient in Garlic
The iconic and robust flavor of garlic originates from organosulfur compounds.
A chemical and volatile compound known as “alliin” is derived from cysteine, an amino acid. Alliin is an odorless compound even though it contains sulfur.
When you crush garlic, alliin comes into contact with alliinase, an enzyme. The resulting product is what is known as “allicin.”
Allicin is, therefore, the primary reason why garlic has that pungent or distasteful odor. And research has shown that it is primarily responsible for many of the health benefits that garlic portrays.
Allicin is loaded with natural antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties, which are beneficial for health. But the human body cannot absorb all these benefits efficiently as it is.
And for this reason, manufacturers of supplements resort to the fermentation of aged cloves of garlic. According to the Journal of Food Science and Biotechnology & LaChance, “The allicin content in garlic does not reduce during fermentation, and increased sulfur compounds are formed.”
Allicin is broken down to form oil-soluble, water-soluble but sulfur-containing chemical compounds. These compounds can readily be absorbed by the human body and used effectively for overall health.
More Information about Allicin
1. Allicin possesses natural anti-microbial benefits, unlike many of the pharmaceutical drugs out there. No single medication has the same wide range of spectrum with allicin.
2. The ingestion of the super-ingredient, allicin is not harmful to gut microbes. The compound does not minimize their diversity either, unlike many pharmaceutical drugs out there.
3. It is a known fact that pathogenic microbes develop resistance against conventional medicines when used for prolonged periods. But this is not the case with allicin.
4. Culinary heat readily degrades allicin, thus damping flavor. However, to get that sharp punch out of your fermented garlic, you can add it towards the end of cooking.
During the fermentation process, the cloves of garlic may turn blue or neon green. It is a normal process, so don’t be alarmed by this development.
The change in color is as a result of a pH reaction. By the time the cloves are fully fermented, they will go back to a yellow/white color or become dark yellow.
Fermented garlic has more beneficial health properties compared to its raw opposite number. This means that you will derive much more benefits that will enhance the quality of your life.
Therefore, eat more fermented garlic; enjoy both the health benefits as well as the taste. Find other ways to cook it without losing the nutrients, and your overall health will improve significantly!
Bag of garlic heads
Assorted spices such as
bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves
Filtered water (non-chlorinated water)
Break the heads of garlic into cloves and remove as much of the husk as possible.
Put the cloves of garlic into a mason jar, leaving an inch-and-a-half of space at the top.
Create a salt brine by dissolving the salt in the water. Use ½ teaspoon of sea salt for each cup of filtered water.
Fill the jar to within an inch of the top with a salt-water brine.
Add your favorite spices (bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves…)
Place a weight on top of the garlic to keep it submerged. A glass disk works great, but a small plastic bag filled with water, or a clean-scrubbed rock works as well.
Close the mason jar. If you are using a regular canning lid on the jar remember to release the built-up gas every other day or so.
Otherwise, consider using an airlock lid or a Fido jar so you can store it and forget about it for a while.
Store the jar in a cupboard or cover it with a cloth to keep out light, and leave on your countertop.
When you start to see tiny bubbles in the brine, you will know that the fermentation process has begun, which can take up to a week. The brine will also start to take on a nice golden-brown color.
Let the garlic continue to ferment for at least a month.
This is where patients pay off. If you can stand to wait at least two months, you will have a jar of the most mellowed and delicious garlic flavors you can imagine.
When done, screw the lid on firmly and put it in the fridge to store. Fermentation will continue in the refrigerator, although at a much slower pace.
If you like this recipe, please give my Kimchi recipe and fermented carrots recipe a try. You are sure to love them both!