Why preserve garlic?
Garlic is one of Nature’s most helpful foods. Besides warding off pesky vampires, it’s also renowned for preventing and treating colds, the flu, and cold sores. I found this quote very interesting, although I admit I did not follow up on the source to see if it’s true or not. This source seems to back that up, though.
“Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern pharmaceutical antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs’.” (Source)
At any rate, there is some speculation that garlic loses some of it’s antibiotic qualities once cooked. It does not, however, lose any of it’s delicious, delicious flavor.
And isn’t that what eating should be about? Flavor? Enjoyment? What a treat it is to find a food that is all a food should be. Flavor. Enjoyment. Nutritious. Guilt-free.
Well you aren’t gonna find the latter here, because we are about to smother the former three adjectives in sugar, oil and alcohol. Guilt, you can come pop a squat right next to this cellulite!
Preserved Garlic (Because it might be good for you… )
What you will need: (Makes 4 half-pints)
- 2lbs whole garlic, about 5 cups
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar
- pressure canner
The first thing you need to do is peel the garlic, if you were a big enough sucker to buy whole garlic instead a jar of pre-peeled cloves. *Ahem* Let me just tell you that if you have never peeled 2 lbs of garlic by hand on a sweaty afternoon with two small children begging for attention, you just haven’t lived. I can however, offer some tips on how to “quickly” peel garlic. There’s three ways:
- Watch this video. It’s some kind of magic trick. I couldn’t get it to work, but I think it’s because I’m not a 250-lb super strong man. I also don’t have two large bowls the same size.
- Cut off the large end of each clove, then rock the flat edge of a chef knife over the clove and the skin should fall off fairly easily. Be careful with your pressure though. It’s okay if the clove gets a little smashed, but you want the clove to remain as intact as possible.
- Soak the cloves in water for at least 1 minute, then peel. This is the method I used, and it took me about 2 hrs to peel 2lbs. (Now you know why I put quotes around the “quickly” up there.) I did take several breaks though to address my children.
I got this recipe from this blog, and while most people would be grateful enough just for the amazing recipe, I am also eternally grateful for this different, much easier way to sterilize/keep the jars hot. I struggled to sterilize them on the stove because my back large burner doesn’t work, and the pot is too large to place over a small burner.
Anyway, here’s how you do it: Turn your oven to 220 degrees. Place 5 half-pint jars (it’s always good to prepare an extra jar just in case) in a pan or on a baking sheet and place in oven until ready to use. (He also said you can sterilize the lids in the oven, but I chose to heat them in simmering water on the stove.)
*****UPDATED****** I don’t do this anymore. I got a new large burner for my stove, and now I just heat the jars in the canner while I’m preparing recipes. You can use the stove method, but it’s not recommended in the Ball Book of Home Preserving because ovens have inconsistent temperatures and there is a chance that the varying temperatures can cause breakage when you go from the oven to the hot water. (I never lost a jar doing that, though. So whatever.)
Meanwhile, prepare pressure canner with 3 inches of water. Heat over medium heat.
Now for the garlic: In a large saute pan, heat the oil then cook the peeled cloves over medium heat. Add the salt.
Once the cloves begin to brown, after about 10 minutes, add the sugar and cook 3-5 more minutes or until they begin to caramelize.
Add the sherry vinegar and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Remove jars from oven and fill with cloves and sauce, leaving a 1- inch headspace.
I added a little extra oil and sherry vinegar (a few drops of each) to each jar so that the garlic was almost covered. Wipe rims with a vinegar-soaked paper towel, add lids and rims, tighten, and place jars in canner.
Allow canner to vent 10 minutes, then set to 10lbs pressure. Once pressure is achieved, cook 10 minutes for half-pints, 20 minutes for pints. Allow canner to return pressure to 0lbs, then remove vent and lid. Wait 10 minutes, then remove jars to a towel on the counter and let cool completely.
Okay, I confess: I didn’t wait for them to cool completely. We had company over for dinner that night and I was in the mood for some serious compliments. I served these over perfectly grilled steaks (grilled by my grill-master hubby) with a glass of full-bodied red wine and smiled nonchalantly at each exclamation of delight.
This is why you preserve garlic. Because they so good that when you are sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night for a snack, you eyeball the jar of them and seriously consider choosing preserved garlic over M&M’s.
And because they might be good for you 😉