Since the beginning of traditional medicine, garlic has been utilized to heal many bodily ailments. Garlic is used as a culinary herb to treat colds, sore throats, flus, digestion, and even ear infections. Because it boosts the production of white blood cells, garlic can do wonders to aid the body’s immune system and much more! While raw garlic is the most potent for medicinal uses, it can often be bitter and harsh on the stomach. I love fermenting garlic because it can still be used as if it was raw garlic, but it’s a little gentler on the body. Fermenting foods like garlic is also a great way to preserve the harvest. If you are growing or buying local garlic, fermenting some of it will preserve it for a year or more in storage. Additionally, fermented garlic has the most unique and complex flavor: sweet, hot, and tangy all in one! Let’s talk a little more about fermented garlic and how to make it.
Medicinal properties of garlic
In addition to garlic’s immune-boosting properties, raw garlic is antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial due to its sulfur compounds and essential oils. Garlic has also been known to be effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria and lower blood sugar. Another old-fashioned remedy using garlic is to apply garlic-infused olive oil to treat ear infections. In addition to all these benefits, garlic is just a delicious herb and aromatic! I use it in almost everything I cook every day.
How to use fermented garlic
You can simply eat a clove of raw fermented garlic every day if you like. I like to eat some when I am feeling a cold coming on or if my throat starts hurting. You can also crush the garlic into salad dressings and any raw marinades. I would advise eating fermented garlic however you would normally consume raw garlic. Do not cook or bake fermented garlic, however, because that will destroy many of its medicinal properties.
Old-fashioned herbal remedies and the cottage apothecary
Using culinary herbs for medicine doesn’t require much of us. You probably already have many items in your kitchen and garden which can be used to boost the immune system, heal the skin, and much more. I am starting a series and tab on my blog called “the cottage apothecary” where I talk about my favorite old-fashioned herbal remedies made from kitchen and garden ingredients. I want to make these kinds of remedies approachable and enjoyable for anyone wanting to live a more holistic life that is in tune with nature and their bodies.
- 1-4 bulbs of raw garlic
- Raw organic, apple cider vinegar
- Raw bonus points for local honey!
- Peel as many garlic cloves as you can fit in your jar of choice. In the pictures above I used two bulbs of elephant garlic
- Add garlic to your jar and add enough apple cider vinegar to completely cover the bulbs
- Let sit in a warm spot, like a sunny window, for 3-4 weeks
- After 3-4 weeks, separate the garlic from the liquid into two jars by straining it with a fine mesh sieve. Divide the liquid in half. Half of this liquid will go into a jar in the fridge. This can be used for salad dressings and marinades as a tangy, garlicky vinegar
- Put the other half of the liquid into a small saucepan and add an equal amount of honey
- Over very low heat, warm your honey and vinegar just until the honey melts into the liquid, being careful not to get the liquid too hot. Pour the honey vinegar sauce over the garlic in the jar and let ferment for another 3-4 weeks
- After 3-4 weeks store fermented garlic in a cool dark place
- It will keep for a year or more. That is if you can resist eating it first!