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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

The Ultimate Pickled Garlic

Updated: Jan 15

Black Bear Making Pickled Black Garlic

Pickled garlic cloves are tasty!  Pickled black garlic cloves are like their badass older cousin, who just returned from a year-long backpacking trip through a volcano. This ain't your grandma's pucker-inducing pickle; it's a flavor explosion that dances on your tongue like a tango gone medieval. Picture the tangy bite of vinegar infused with the smoky whisper of campfire, the caramelized sweetness of a forbidden dessert, and the umami punch that knocks your socks off and begs for more. It's the garlic equivalent of a rock concert in your mouth, and once you've tasted its dark magic, those pale pickled pips will feel like a bland ballad in comparison. So, ditch the dill and embrace the thrill – pickled black garlic is here to rock your taste buds!

From White to Black: A Pickly Tale of Garlic Alchemy

Step aside, boring brine! We're about to embark on a pickling adventure that's as dark and mysterious as a moonless night. Today, we're making pickled black garlic, a culinary marvel that transforms humble cloves into umami bombs bursting with complex, sweet-savory flavor.

But wait, black garlic? That's right! Before we dive into the tangy brine, we'll need to conjure up these ebony gems through the magic of the Maillard reaction. This is the same caramelizing magic that browns your toast and gives roast beef its deep flavor.

Here's the twist: we're ditching the fancy ovens and slow cookers. Today, we're going low-tech with the trusty rice cooker. Yep, you read that right! This humble kitchen appliance is about to become your black garlic alchemist.


  • 2-3 heads of hardneck garlic (choose firm, healthy bulbs. )

  • Rice cooker

  • Paper towels

  • Airtight jars

  • Pickling vinegar (recipe below)

Step 1: The Blackening

  1. Separate the cloves: Gently peel off the outer layers of the garlic heads, leaving the individual cloves intact.

  2. Wrap them up: Nestle each clove in a square of paper towel, twisting the ends to create little garlic packets. This helps prevent sticking and keeps the cloves from drying out.

  3. Rice therapy: Arrange the packets in your rice cooker, making sure they don't touch. Set the cooker to "Warm" and close the lid. Use a rice cooker that does not turn off.

  4. Patience is a virtue: Now comes the hardest part – waiting. Depending on your rice cooker and the size of your cloves, it can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days for the garlic to transform. Check on them every few days, adding water to the bottom of the cooker if it evaporates.

  5. Optional Insulation Cover. If it is taking longer than you expected to create the beautiful black cloves, cover the rice cooker with a few bath towels. This not only helps the rice cooker retain heat, it keeps the internal temperature of the rice cooker higher. Fire hazard? Only do this if you have trust in your rice cooker. Otherwise, scrap this idea.

  6. Black gold: When the cloves are completely blackened and slightly softened, it's time to celebrate! Unwrap your precious garlic treasures and marvel at their inky hue and intoxicating aroma.

Black Bear Black Garlic Groeat Farm
Black Bear Black Garlic Groeat Farm

Step 2: Pickling Potion

  1. Vinegar magic: In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

  2. Cool down: Let the pickling liquid cool completely.

Step 3: The Grand Finale

  1. Peel and pack: Gently peel the papery skin off the black garlic cloves. Pack them into sterilized jars, leaving about an inch of headspace at the top.

  2. Vinegar bath: Pour the cooled pickling liquid over the garlic cloves, making sure they're completely submerged. Seal the jars tightly.

  3. Mellow magic: Store the jars in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks, allowing the flavors to meld and mature.

Now comes the fun part: unleashing your pickled black garlic creations on the world! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Elevate your dips: Add a clove or two to hummus, guacamole, or baba ganoush for a depth of flavor that'll leave your guests speechless.

  • Transform your toast: Top your avocado toast with a sliver of pickled black garlic for a sweet-savory explosion.

  • Spice up your salad: Crumble a clove over a salad for a burst of umami that'll tango with your vinaigrette.

  • Go gourmet: Use chopped pickled black garlic to add a unique twist to your sauces, soups, and stews.

Remember: experimentation is key! Don't be afraid to get creative and discover your own favorite ways to enjoy this culinary gem. So, ditch the ordinary, embrace the black, and get pickling!

Bonus Tip: If you're feeling adventurous, try infusing your pickling vinegar with other spices like chilies, ginger, or star anise for a truly personalized flavor experience.

With a little patience and a touch of culinary alchemy, you can transform ordinary garlic into a pickling masterpiece. So, go forth, my friends, and unleash the power of pickled black garlic!

Forget boring old pickles, it's time to get your pucker on with black garlic! Pickled black garlic is like a tiny firecracker of tangy flavor, ready to explode in your mouth like a tastebud tango. Making them is easier than a kid stealing cookies (but way less messy). Just peel those little stink bombs, toss 'em in a jar like a gourmet gladiator, and pour over a fiery vinegar bath fit for a dragon. Add some peppercorns for punch, herbs for an herbal hoedown, and maybe even a chili flake or two for a spicy salsa side quest. Then, seal that jar tighter than a clam's secret and let it mellow in the fridge for a week – think of it as garlic taking a spa day in tangy town. Soon, you'll have a crunchy, garlicky goodness that'll take your sandwiches from blah to bam, your dips from dud to dynamite, and your Bloody Marys from basic to boss. So, ditch the dill and embrace the bite – pickled garlic is here to rock your taste buds!


GroEat Farm, LLC is a small, sustainable family farm located in Bozeman, Montana. We’re located in the beautiful Hyalite foothills, below the Gallatin Mountain Range. The hardneck varieties that grow at our farm (Ophioscorodon) flourish here, due to the combination of the cold winters, temperate summers, moist spring, and the dynamic alluvial soils, washed down from the Gallatin Range (comprised of Archean metamorphics, Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks, and Eocene volcanics). Not only are the GroEat Hardneck garlic healthy and beautiful, the flavors are robust and delicate.

Black Bear Holding Hardneck Garlic groeat farm montana
Black Bear Holding Hardneck Garlic

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