Garlic is a low-acid food that supports the growth of the botulism toxin if improperly stored. Low-acid foods like garlic should be processed using a pressure canner in order to be sure they are processed safely. Unfortunately, the high heat produced by a pressure canner destroys the oils that produce garlic's characteristic flavor, so canning is not a recommended storage method for garlic. Freezing and drying produce better results.
Pickled garlic, which has sufficient acid, can be successfully canned. However, it does have a different flavor; so while you can can pickled garlic, it will not be a good substitute for regular minced garlic in most recipes. It is a tasty addition to salads and antipasto platters and can be used to season vegetables and meats.
Things You'll Need
- 6 cups of peeled garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups of white vinegar with at least 5% acidity
- 2 teaspoons pickling salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Jar grabber
- Canning funnel
- 6 half-pint canning jars with tops and rings
- 1 water bath canner, with rack
Sterilize jars, lids, and rings. This can be done by boiling them for 5 minutes or by washing them in a dishwasher. If you use the dishwasher, make sure to use the heat-dry cycle. Keep the jars hot after they have been cleaned by placing them on a cookie sheet in a warm oven.
Place the rack in the water bath canner, fill the canner about 2/3 full with hot tap water. Put the canner on the stove. Check the instructions for your stove to determine which burner to use; you want the burner that will generate the most heat. Turn the heat on low.
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the minced garlic to the water, and return the water to a boil. Boil the garlic for one minute, then drain. Using the canning funnel, transfer the boiled garlic to the hot canning jars. Divide the garlic evenly among the jars.
Combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat after it reaches a boil. Pour the vinegar solution over the garlic you placed in the jars, leaving a 1/2 inch head space at the top of each jar.
Place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings. Screw the rings on gently. You want them screwed on completely, so they hold the lids in place, but don't tighten them past the last thread.
Place the jars on the rack in the canner, using the tongs. Make sure there is at least an inch of water covering the jars. Turn the heat up to high, and bring the water to a boil. Process for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the canner with the tongs. Allow them to cool for 24 hours. Don't move the jars or tighten the lids while cooling, as this can disturb the seal. After the jars have cooled, remove the rings and store the pickled garlic in a cool dry place for up to a year.
Tips & Warnings
- Garlic may develop a blue or green pigment when pickled; this is due to natural pigmentation and is not dangerous. The garlic is still safe to eat.
- Flavor the garlic by adding minced ginger, chili peppers, bay leaves or mustard to the vinegar mixture.
- University of California, Davis; Linda Harris; "GARLIC Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy;" November 1997
- National Center for Food Preservation: Frequently Asked Pickle Questions
- USDA: Complete Guide to Home Canning
- Washington State University, Benton County Extension: Garlic Storage and Preservation
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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