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Pickled garlic tastes sweeter than raw or cooked garlic. It's relatively easy to make at home using fresh garlic cloves in good condition. A cook can prepare pickled garlic either by canning or directly in the refrigerator. Refrigerator pickled garlic is the simplest, but canning results in a product that will keep for longer. Spices such as chili peppers can be added to the pickling solution when making the garlic.
Only clean, fresh cloves of garlic should be used to make pickled garlic. Before beginning the pickling process, a cook should examine each clove and discard any that have brown spots or blemishes, are soft and rotted, or are beginning to grow a sprout in the center. The garlic should be peeled before it is pickled.
Blanching the unpeeled cloves for 30 seconds to 1 minute makes removing the papery skins easier. As the cloves need to be whole or nearly whole when pickled for aesthetic reasons, a cook shouldn't smash the cloves with a knife to remove the peels. Another way to remove the peels is with a vegetable peeler.
A cook has several options for preparing the vinegar pickling solution when making pickled garlic. The simplest method is to pour white or apple cider vinegar over the garlic in a jar and cover. She can add salt and other seasonings before putting the lid on. The cool vinegar and garlic should be stored in the refrigerator for a few months before it is ready to be eaten.
Another method for making pickled garlic is to heat the vinegar mixture to boiling before adding it to the garlic cloves. Heated vinegar takes less time to produce pickled garlic. To pickle garlic this way, the cook heats the vinegar or a combination of vinegar and wine along with any spices and lets the mixture boil for several minutes. After several minutes, she adds the peeled garlic and then boils for another few minutes.
Once the mixture has boiled a second time, the cook should take it off the heat and let it sit for a day at room temperature. When the vinegar and garlic mixture has rested for a day, the cook should then pour it into a clean glass jar, cover it with a lid, and store in the refrigerator. The garlic will be pickled within a week and will keep for a year in the refrigerator.
A cook can also use a water bath to can garlic for pickling. As the vinegar is very acidic, a water bath should be safe to use instead of a pressure canner. A cook who is unsure about canning should follow the recipe exactly and seek help from experienced canners.