Fermenting Garlic: Let's Look at Some Varieties

| 9/27/2016 1:57:00 PM

Tags: lacto fermentation, fermenting, food preservation, garlic, vegetable varieties, Kirsten Shockey, Oregon,


It was late Fall when most of the seed garlic was tucked into the long rows that Mary Alionis, queen bee of Whistling Duck farm, brought nine varieties to my fermentation space in order to compare how the different varieties react in ferments. (These were the players — 'Wonha', 'Chimayan', 'Siberian', 'Romanian Red', 'Kishlyk', 'Aglio Rosso di Sulmona', 'Sliverskin', 'Creole', and 'German Red' — who’ll you’ll be introduced to properly in just a moment.)

Garlic Fermentation Trials

We trialed each variety as a whole clove pickle that was fermented in a brine and as a lacto-fermented paste which was dry fermented with salt. It was fascinating to watch the process unfold. After the first 4 days, there was already a lot of fermentation action.

The brined garlic pickles had varying degrees of activity by variety. The 'Chimayan', for example, bubbled all over the place where as the 'German Red' showed little sign of fermentation. This was also true of the pastes. The 'Chimayan' was darker while the 'German Red' showed the least color change. Some of the other pastes were varying degrees of pink. The 'Creole' was the bubbliest.

As the ferments progressed, each one went about its progression through the stages at its own pace, despite all other factors being the same. But the real test was the flavor. They were “technically” finished in about a month; however, because of refrigeration constraints, I kept them in a root cellar at around 58 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 months. They were still delicious and had incredible depth of flavor.

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