Spicy pickled garlic

When we still lived in Vancouver, we would often go to the annual Christmas craft fair, where David would typically pick up a couple jars of pickles–pickled garlic, dill pickles, etc. One Christmas I got him The Joy of Pickling so he could try his hand at pickling himself. Several years went by, as well as a failed attempt at pickling mushrooms without a boiling water bath, before we decided to finally give pickling a genuine go, trying out one of David’s favourites–pickled garlic.


from The Joy of Pickling
Makes 3 half-pints

2 quarts of water
1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp pickling salt
3 whole allspice berries
6 whole black peppercorns
12 whole coriander seeds
1 Mediterranean bay leaf, torn into thirds
3 small dried hot peppers, such as japonés or de arbol, slit lengthwise
3 cups garlic cloves

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. While the water heats, bring to a boil vinegar, sugar and salt in another saucepan. Divide the spices, bay leaf, and hot peppers among 3 half-pint mason jars. When the water comes to a boil, add the garlic cloves. Boil the cloves for 1 minute. Drain the cloves and divide them among the mason jars. When the vinegar mixture comes to a boil, pour it over the garlic, leaving 1/2″ headspace in each jar. Close the jars with two-piece caps and process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Store the jars in a cool, dry dark place for at least 2 weeks before eating the garlic. After opening, store it in the refrigerator.


A few notes on preparation: We used de arbol peppers and added an extra couple to a couple of the jars for extra spiciness. We also chose to use distilled white vinegar.

After waiting the allotted 2 weeks, we sampled our pickling efforts. David declared them to be delicious and mellow. They weren’t overpoweringly spicy, but had a definite kick to them. They tasted a little on the vinegary side–perhaps a recipe involving some combination of vinegar and white wine, water or juice might help. But still a tasty first effort! They’ll make an excellent addition to sandwiches or even on their own.

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