D.I.Y. Aged Garlic : The Problem With Raw Garlic
Valued for centuries for its potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti parasitic properties, raw garlic has long been included in the traditional medicine chest. Modern research supports its value, in fact it has proven to be more effective than some antibiotics. As a natural product it differs from some medications in that it is a complete food, including other beneficial enzymes and compounds.
In traditional, and increasingly modern medicine, garlic is used for treating many conditions relating to the heart and blood system. These include managing blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease and hardening of the arteries. Other suggested uses are for colds and hay-fever, some forms of arthritis and inflammation and more.
But there is a social impact for those of us who love garlic, and its not just garlic breath; we can literally sweat the smell out of our skin. I remember once swallowing several whole garlic cloves to kill a cold and my husband walked into my nice steamy bathroom where I was taking a shower, and him accusing me of trying to gas him to death. Some people revert to cooking the garlic to reduce the smell however that destroys the beneficial properties in the garlic, which defeats the purpose.
Tip: If you are planning on having a lot of garlic make sure those you live with do the same, not only will they have no grounds to complain but they won't notice the smell as much if its also in their system.
So how can we obtain the benefits of raw garlic without the smell and social implications?
Aged Garlic – More Than Just a Food A Tonic Herb
When garlic is aged, it becomes a “tonic.” When a herb has become a tonic this means it can be taken safely for over time without causing harm. Ageing garlic leaves all the same medicinal and beneficial properties as raw garlic. Ageing simply removes the garlicky smell, meaning no garlic “aftermath” in your social world.
Aged garlic is a wonderful addition to salad and dressings, even straight from the bottle if you’re brave. Its mild almost sweet and nutty flavour makes it easy to be included daily for protection against viruses and colds. They make a great “pill” if you or someone in your family you may be trying to avoid an antibiotic drug, within reason of course please see your doctor if a virus or infection persists. Aged garlic is a wonderful way to protect your body against a whole range of pathogens, bacteria and viruses.
A word about sourcing:
Avoid buying the bleached white whole bulbs of garlic or the pre-peeled packs of garlic you see in the produce stores. They have been grown and processed in China where there are no regulations around agricultural chemical use. The white appearance means the whole garlic has been bleached to extend its shelf life and the peeled bulbs have been processed largely in Chinese prisons. Given China's track record on human rights I try to avoid validating them by buying their produce.
Buy red Australian grown garlic and, if available favour organic garlic. Its worth the extra money as its much fresher, higher in the beneficial elements and is quite strong.
While crushing each clove of garlic under the blade of your knife to make peeling easy is alright for cooking, don’t crush the clove if you are going to age it, it will release all of the sulphur based allicin and it will lose its medical properties.
Tip: To make peeling easy, separate out each clove and put them all in a glass or plastic container and shake like crazy for a minute and it will be much easier to peel by hand. To remove the garlic smell from your fingers rub kitchen salt into your finger tips, its like magic. Job done!
Degree of difficulty: 1
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cloves of peeled Organic Garlic - enough to 3/4 fill your chosen glass jar
1 Mason Jar
Raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 -1 tsp of Organic Oregano or fresh if you have it
* Oregano has similar properties and tastes great with garlic
Place WHOLE peeled cloves into mason jar. Pour raw apple cider vinegar over garlic until covered and add oregano, leaving about 1cm of space in the jar to allow for expansion.
Don't worry it gets easier ..........
Place a lid on mason jar and shake. Make sure garlic and oregano gets mixed thoroughly.
And now just wait!
Leave the lid sealed and place in a cool dark place away from sunlight. I suggest keeping it on a kitchen bench top so you don't forget it. Every day make sure to “burp” the lid to release gas build up which naturally occurs in fermenting, once you can open the jar without getting a pop sound you can just leave it closed in the pantry. At around 3-4 days the garlic will start turning green, don’t worry that’s normal, it’s just a reaction between the garlic and vinegar and it will change back in a few days.
Garlic should be aged a minimum of 3 weeks before eaten. The longer you age the garlic, the milder and sweeter flavour becomes.
Once the ageing process is complete, the garlic can be eaten raw or added to dishes. The contents of your jar will have a sweet, aromatic and faintly nutty smell. Once you’ve used the garlic up, don’t waste the vinegar its delicious in a salad dressing or a sauce over veggies.
One clove of aged garlic taken daily will help keep you strong and healthy.
If you just can't be bothered or just can't wait to make your own you can buy aged garlic online, in health food stores and most pharmacies.
Want to know more about home fermenting? Contact us for the next dates for our Classes on the Sunshine Coast