This simple pickled garlic clove recipe is made by adding whole peeled garlic cloves to a flavorful brine. Use almost any type of clear vinegar—white, red or cider vinegar.
Pickled garlic is quick to make and good results are easy to achieve as long as you keep a few tips in mind.
Use the freshest garlic you can find to make the best pickles. Fresh garlic will have firm cloves free from brown spots or blemishes with a small germ (the green sprout in the center of the clove).
A compound called allicin present in garlic can react in the presence of vinegar turning the cloves a blueish-green. This may happen when you are using older cloves, have certain minerals present in the water or have the cloves come in contact with certain metals like copper or cast iron . While you may not be able to control this reaction entirely, blanching the garlic beforehand can help to deactivate the compound, making this reaction less likely to happen. If your garlic turns blue anyway, don’t worry. The color is harmless and tasteless, and your pickled garlic will taste just fine.
After the garlic is blanched it’s ready to be pickled. You can use red or white vinegar in the brine. Pick red wine vinegar for a rosy hue, or white wine vinegar for a lighter color. You can also try cider vinegar, unseasoned rice vinegar or sherry vinegar for a little variation. Steer clear of sweet vinegar, such as malt vinegar and balsamic vinegar, which can dominate the flavor. Also, be sure to use kosher salt for pickling. Unlike table salt, kosher salt has no added iodine, which can cloud the solution and can also contribute to discoloration.
Pickled garlic has many uses! Not as strong tasting as a raw clove, pickled garlic still maintains plenty of garlic flavor with a crisp texture. Serve pickled garlic as part of an antipasti spread or chop it up and add it to pasta salad. It makes a great base for vinaigrettes and can even be added to stir-fries. You can try mixing chopped pickled garlic with mayonnaise for a tangy aioli or stuff them inside a pitted green olive as a garnish for Bloody Marys. Pickled garlic can last in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes; drain. Transfer the garlic to a 2-cup glass canning jar (or other heatproof jar) with a tight-fitting lid.
Combine 2/3 cup water, vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour the hot pickling solution into the jar. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours for the flavors to develop.
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