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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Salt-Dried Garlic Update

In the beginning.

Back in January, as knobs sensed the lenghtening post-solstice days, I got around to preserving garlic for the rest of the year. As much as I love cutting into a fresh clove, there's no way I know of to extend that in the period from Winter til Summer Solstice, when the fresh snap softens and the white cloves develop a green core bent on autophagy.

As usual, I peeled a sizable portion of the crop and dropped it into olive oil. Over the years, I've occasionally read that this method carries a risk of botulism, but it's never happened to me--beware if you intend to eat some home-cooked garlic-rich meals cooked in my kitchen--and my main objection is that there's a bit of sulfur phunk to this technique.

This time, though, I took some of the peeled cloves and nestled them in layers of kosher salt. Seemed like it could work, but not knowing, it was a gamble.

At the end.

Just this week, after 9 or 10 months in the jar, I peeked at the result. The garlic dried to a pliable leathery texture without making the salt gooey or brown. Bite into it, and it's clear that some of its own bite has fled, but the result is a mellow richness, more of a complex flavor. Like replacing raw jalapeno with dried ancho, maybe. Sliced and cooked into a meal, it tasted like,...garlic. I have yet to taste the salt, but I have to think it will be pretty damn good.

So as experiments go, I'm happy how this one turned out.
Does it preserve my home-grown garlic? Yep.
Is it easy? Uh-huh.
Did the garlic sprout? Nope.
Is there a side benefit? Salt.