Today we get to celebrate one of my all-time favorite flavorings; garlic. It is National Garlic Day and that makes me very happy. While some sources cite that garlic cannot be considered a food per se, I absolutely do. I especially do when it is pickled garlic.
Garlic has been used as a seasoning or flavoring since the time of ancient Egypt. It is used in many types of cooking including Middle Eastern, Asian, Italian, and Latin American. This bulbous member of the onion family offers a pungent, spiciness to foods. It can also be used as a condiment.
I grew up eating garlic in and on foods. My father used to grow garlic in our garden and I loved helping him harvest it. When roasting garlic came into fashion I was right there. Roasted garlic is delicious spread on Italian bread with a little bit of olive oil.
Last summer on our family vacation I kindly asked my husband to stop at a little roadside shop. To be honest, I made him turn around and go back to this little place I saw called the Pike’s Peak Pickle Shack. They sold everything you can imagine in pickled form: asparagus, quail eggs, okra, and garlic. I bought a few jars of pickled goodies. One of them was pickled garlic.
I did not open the jar in our vehicle. Instead I waited until I got back to the cabin we were staying in. I only let myself eat a couple of pieces and shared a couple with anyone who wanted to try it. Daughter Number Four enjoyed it almost as much as I did.
Once we were home from vacation with my precious jar of pickled garlic I carefully metered it out. As it turns out The Hubs and D3 also liked it. On a trip home one weekend I shared a bit with Daughter Number One. It turned out to be a bad thing turned good.
Apparently I have raised a family of garlic lovers because D1 was instantly hooked. She began a quest to get herself some. She actually tried to get some from the Pickle Shack, but they do not send their pickled goodness out of state.
When D1 came home for Christmas she bestowed upon me a jar of Spicy Pickled Garlic that she had acquired at a meat shop in Wichita. They also have many locally sourced goods such as popcorn and honey. They also have pickled garlic.
Pickled garlic is not only delicious to eat straight out of the jar, but it is very versatile. I like to use it in drinks such as a Bloody Mary or Dirty, Dirty Martini. It is wonderful on pizza and Italian bread with some olive oil and parmesan. Another great use way to use it is as a condiment on taco night. The spice and brine are a wonderful compliment to Latin American food.
If you love garlic you should definitely try it pickled. It is a wonderful way to eat this adaptable spice.
- 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pickling salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups peeled garlic cloves 4-6 whole cloves
- 3 small dried peppers Thai chilis, fresh jalapeno or Habanero (depending on your spice desire)
- 2 Bay leaves
Sterilize a pint jar and lid. Use a canning jar with a new flat and reusable / reused ring.
Combine vinegar, salt, and sugar in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add garlic and peppers and boil 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place Bay leaves in sterilized jar. Using a slotted spoon add garlic and peppers neatly to sterilized jars. Use spoon to pack garlic tightly and leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
Cover with hot liquid, covering garlic completely.
Wipe lid of jar with a clean, wet lint-free towel. Cover with sterilized lid.
Store the jar in the refrigerator. It is recommended to store for a month before using.
Garlic will store refrigerated up to one year.