french pickled garlic.

we’re in the throes of late summer now. autumn will be here before we know it, with its chilly breezes that stir up the fallen leaves.

well, technically in Florida, autumn probably won’t start for us until late November, but i’m going to continue to dreamily wish it would arrive sooner.

the end of the summer is when grandmothers and gardeners alike preserve their bounty of summer vegetables by means of canning, filling clear glass jars with brightly-colored jams, jellies and pickles.

i’ve made lots of jams and jellies before, but i’d never successfully pickled anything. when i heard about the food blogger’s pickling party, i figured the time was ripe to try my hand at pickling!

through a series of forgetful trips to the farmer’s market, i recently would up with seven heads of garlic in the house. mind you, we adore garlic around these parts, it’s practically a food group. but seven heads is a hell of a lot of garlic! at least all that garlic would keep us safe from vampires, right?

i must confess, i have a terrible habit. i’m prone to purchasing a ridiculous amount of produce at the market, using the majority of it, and forgetting about a small percentage of it until i find a terrifying bag of liquified black slimy goo in the refrigerator drawer that i make my fiance deal with. i’m so nice, aren’t i?

i’m bound and determined to break this habit, because i loathe to waste food. it makes me feel like a jerk. i figured that rather than let all of this lovely garlic sit on the counter and go bad before i can use it all up, why not pickle some?

pickled garlic. sounds really strange, right? i think it just sounds odd to me, because the first thing that comes to mind when i hear the word ‘pickle’ is, well, pickles. kosher dills, to be exact, and in my opinion, they’re the only pickles that are worth eating. bread and butter pickles freak me out, and i think they taste kind of awful. kosher dills are totally my jam. they’re briny, full of flavor, and the best ones have an insane garlic bite.

i’ve always loved the little bits of garlic that remain floating around in the pickle jar after the last spear is gone. don’t you dare tell anyone, but i’ve been known to just eat them with a spoon, straight up. maybe with a little bit of the pickle juice, too. don’t judge me. deep down, you know it’s delicious.

i decided to use a decidedly less briny solution to pickle my garlic, so i’d be able to use it in lots of different applications. the pickling process takes away a considerable amount of the garlic’s heat and snappy bite, all while imparting intense flavor into each clove. if you wanted to, you could totally just eat the cloves right out of the jar, they’re that good!

how would you use this pickled garlic, you ask? well, dearheart, you can use it as you would normally use raw garlic in any dish! here are a few suggestions:

  • grate a clove into a homemade vinaigrette for lots of delicious flavor! you could also pour a tiny bit of the pickling liquid into the dressing!
  • throw a few cloves into your food processor, along with chickpeas and tahini to create hummus that’s intensely garlicky, but not in an overwhelming way at all.
  • toss a clove into your cocktail glass and use a bit of the pickling liquid to shake up a damn fine dirty martini that would go great with a nice steak!
  • serve the cloves whole alongside a fabulous array of olives, dried fruits, cheese, crusty bread and great wine for an instant antipasto platter!

hopefully that’ll give you a few ideas on how to use your pickled garlic! the pickling liquid is quite provençal; floral and slightly sweet, with a bit of heat on the back end thanks to thin slices of fresh red chile. you could absolutely add or substitute any herbs or spices that you’re fond of in this recipe, so get in the kitchen and play around!

one tip: don’t be like me and buy seven heads of garlic. it’s just silly. do you have any idea how long it takes to peel the skin from seven heads of garlic? i even plunged them in boiling water and shocked them in cold to loosen the skins, and it was still a gigantic pain in the ass.

don’t be like me. if you’re going to make pickled garlic, go ahead and buy the whole cloves already peeled in the supermarket. i won’t tell anyone. i mean, unless you like spending the better part of an hour wrestling with uncooperative cloves, then be my guest and buy whole heads of garlic!

now that i’ve successfully mastered pickling, i can’t wait to start experimenting with other fruits and vegetables! what are your favorite things to pickle and preserve?

french pickled garlic

Yield: 1 cup french pickled garlic

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time


1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 small red chile, sliced thinly
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 dried bay leaf
7-8 whole peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon dried herbes de provence
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup whole garlic cloves, skins removed


combine all ingredients except for the garlic in a small saucepan.

place saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil. boil for 5 minutes.

add the garlic cloves to the saucepan, and allow to boil for 30 seconds.

pour contents of saucepan into a sterilized mason jar, and allow to cool for 45 minutes.

when the jar is cool, place the lid on it and store in the fridge.

the garlic will be ready to consume in as little as 2 days, but for the best flavor, allow it to sit in the fridge for about a week before opening.

stored in the fridge, the french pickled garlic will keep for about a year.

recipe adapted from epicurious

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15 Responses to “french pickled garlic.”

  1. #
    Beth Anne — August 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Um, you have made me such a happy gal tonight :) How long should we wait before digging in? When is flavor optimal?

    I’ve done peaches in whiskey, cherries several ways, okra and am planning some apricots this weekend. I’ve done jams and chutneys too but my favorite by far is creole tomatoes. I want to make that season last as long as possible every year but I inevitable use every jar within a few months.

  2. #
    leaf (the indolent cook) — August 10, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    This looks deliciously savoury and pungent.

  3. #
    J. Davis — August 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    “forgetting about a small percentage of it until i find a terrifying bag of liquified black slimy goo in the refrigerator drawer.” I feel so less alone now.

    I’ve never tried pickling either. Always intimidated by it. But this? This makes me want to try it.

  4. #
    Kitty — August 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    YES!! I pickled about 8 half pints of garlic February 27. Somehow I forgot about those little jars and it was just about 2 weeks ago that I opened the first one, thinking I would thinly slice a close and throw it in with the stir fry I was making. Out of curiousity I ate one small clove whole. Now I’m addicted! They are delicious just eaten like popcorn – such a sweet, mild flavor. I have more garlic on my to do list in the next week or two. But I’ll buy the heads and peel them myself like I did last time. Yes, it took me 2 days but it was a great “while I watch TV” activity! Kinda zen.

  5. #
    Aggie — August 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Loooooove!! this is my kind of eating.

  6. #
    Aubrey — August 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I am intrigued by this recipe! I’ve been making refrigerator pickles for the last few months, complete with slightly smashed cloves of garlic. While I devoured the “regular” pickles, I must admit I completely forgot about the pickled garlic! I think I will have to try this asap!

  7. #
    Mommyof2Girlz/StephD — August 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    This looks amazing, thank you for the recipe. I have a bunch from my neighbors hanging in my basement drying and I was just wondering what to do with them all. Now I know :)

  8. #
    CopyKat Recipes — August 23, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I get over excited with finds at my local farmer’s market as well, I am hoping I get to try your pickled garlic sometime. I would totally love this pickled garlic.

  9. #
    Annice Goens — September 7, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Looks absolutely delish! thanks!

  10. #
    Rick K — May 14, 2012 at 4:44 am

    I bought a rubber garlic peeler (like the one below) years ago. Now it’s super easy to peel garlic cloves. I can’t wait to peel garlic and try your pickling recipe.

  11. #
    Bunny — January 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Why store in the refrigerator, when you have sugar, salt, vinager, alcohol, and it is boiled.
    We live in W. Sydney Australia. Up to 45C in summer and 0 C in winter, and have never put Jam, preserves, or pickles in the refrigerator…..
    Who had a frig before the 1950’s. If there is a good reason I’d really like to know.
    Thanks Bunny


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