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Summer Fest: Spicy Pickled Garlic

This past weekend might have marked the unofficial end of summer, but Summer Fest is still in full swing over here.  This week we’re celebrating garlic and it’s perfect timing for me because my friend Ruby recently sent me home with a big bag of garlic from her mom’s garden.

I wasn’t sure what to do with all the garlic and I toyed with the idea of roasting a huge batch and perhaps freezing it in small portions to use throughout the fall and winter.  But then I remembered the pickled garlic that my grandmother used to buy and serve alongside other appetizers during the holidays.  It was really good and I wondered if I could make something similar myself.

I found a couple recipes for pickled garlic in my books about pickling and preserving, and it seemed simple enough.  The recipes called for either straight vinegar or a mixture of vinegar and wine.  I didn’t have any wine in the house, so I decided on a white wine vinegar to use as my liquid.  I didn’t use any pickling spices, opting instead for some dried red chiles – I wanted spicy pickled garlic!

While searching for information about preserving garlic, I found a link to a UC Davis food safety publication called Garlic: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy. It’s a great resource and it reassured me that I could safely store garlic cloves in wine or vinegar in the refrigerator for a few months.

I ended up peeling about five heads of garlic to fill my three half-pint jars with cloves.  It took a while!

My books said to blanch the cloves in boiling water for 30 seconds to help loosen the skins for peeling.  I did that, but I’m not sure that it was any faster than if I had just peeled them dry.

I sterilized the jars in the dishwasher then filled them with cloves and put one dried red chile in each jar.  I boiled the vinegar with salt and sugar then poured the hot liquid over the garlic and puts the lids on.

That was it!  I waited for them to cool and then put them in the refrigerator to hang out for the next month or so.  I’ll let you know in a month how they taste!  Here’s the recipe I used in case you want to give it a try yourself in the meantime.

Spicy Pickled Garlic

Approximately 1 1/2 cups peeled garlic cloves (4 – 5 heads of garlic)
3 dried chilies
2 cups white wine vinegar
2 scant teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

special equipment:  3 sterilized half-pint jars with lids

Fill jars with garlic cloves and add one dried chili to each jar.  In a small saucepan, combine vinegars, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.  Fill jars with hot liquid and screw lids onto the jars.  Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate.  Garlic should be ready to eat in about 3-4 weeks and will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 months.

Other Summer Fest Attendees Celebrating Garlic:

How You Can Join in Summer/Fall Fest 2010

Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? You can contribute to our online recipe swap in various ways, big or small.

Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer/Fall Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt of Matt Bites), or the new pumpkin version he just did if it’s for September 22 onward.

Summer/Fall Fest 2010 Posting Schedule

7/28: Cukes and Zukes
8/4: Corn
8/11: Herbs, Greens, and Beans
8/18: Stone Fruit – I missed this one!
8/25: Tomatoes

9/1: Sweet and Spicy Peppers
9/8: Garlic
9/15: White (or colorful “white”…but not sweet) Potatoes
9/22: Spinach
9/29: Apples

10/6: Fall Salads
10/13: Pumpkin + Winter Squash
10/20: Pears
10/27: “Mad Stash” (as in what you’re shoving in freezer/jars/dehydrator, etc.)

11/3: Root veggies
11/10: Brassicas: incl. Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage or other
11/17: Sweet Potatoes
11/24: Bounty to Be Grateful For