Pickled Elephant Garlic

Pickled Elephant Garlic A member of the leek family, Allium ampeloprasum like all garlic doesn’t produce viable seed. In spring mammoth scapes appear and can be harvested when flower buds form. For all types of garlic removing the flower buds directs the plant’s energy into bulb formation. These are a delicacy when sautéed. Come back for a recipe in late spring.

Pickling is a natural for these large mild cloves. So I offer you this recipe with the greatest  respect for those who develop pickling recipes. The flavors change and develop over the first six weeks and even longer and it is important to have it acidic enough to not cause botulism. The vinegar mixture needs only brought to a boil and then poured into the jar. Vinegar boiled in an open kettle for more than a few minutes will evaporate acetic acid reducing overall acidity.

Makes 2 pints

2 to 3 heads Elephant Garlic
4 cups white wine vinegar
¼ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
4 dried or fresh chili peppers

Directions: separate bulbs from garlic heads. Remove the skins and trim the root base. Cut bulbs lengthwise into three sections. In a saucepan put vinegar, spices, sugar and salt on to heat.

Put canner or stockpot on to boil with enough water to cover jars during processing. Put lids into hot water to soften while jars are prepared.

Slit peppers with a knife tip in 3-5 places.  Place pieces of garlic, a bay leaf and peppers into freshly washed rinsed jars. Dip a spoon into brine, scoop out spices and add to jars. Add hot brine mixture to jars leaving ½” headspace. Wipe edges with a clean cloth or paper towel. Cover with heated lids and gently tighten rings.

Place jars in simmering waterbath. Jars should be covered by no more than an inch of water. Bring water to a strong simmer and once bubbles begin rising to surface process for 12 minutes. Remove jars from kettle and cool. Because I’m intimidated by any thoughts of spoilage or botulism my jars go into a refrigerator, another good reason for the small batch approach. The lids will  be depressed as a sign of sealing. Your garlic should be fresh and is ready to eat in ten days but I prefer six weeks. I like to cut into sections when serving. A true garlic aficionado may want a third of a clove or more.

5 Responses

  1. I’ve done a lot of pickling over the years. I have a couple of questions: 1) You’re just bringing the brine to a full rolling boil, then turning off the heat, right? 2) What size jars are you using? 3) How did you come up with the 12 minutes for processing?

    I’ve made pickles by the jar for years with no spoilage. Ever. (You should be able to hear me knocking on wood right now, given that I’ve just tempted the pickling fairies to make my last batch spoil!) I use 5% acidity vinegar (whether it’s white wine, apple cider, or whatever – I match the vinegar to the flavor I want) and heat the brine to a full rolling boil. Meanwhile, I wash the jars in hot soapy water; wash the lids and rings and bring them to a boil in a pan of plain water, turn off the heat & let them sit in the water until I need them. I pack the jars then fill with the boiling brine. Wipe rims, adjust the lids, then turn them upside down and place them on either on a wooden cutting board on the kitchen counter or a double-thickness of toweling on the kitchen counter. I let them cool for 20 minutes or so, then turn the jars right side up. Then they sit there – undisturbed – until completely cooled – usually overnight. Then I wash the jars & wipe dry, label them, and put them away *in the pantry* for at least 3 months. Yes, 3 months. Occasionally I’ll have a jar that doesn’t seal – it goes into the fridge marked with a “ready to eat” date.

    I’ve more-or-less completely abandoned the boiling water bath process for pickles unless I’m doing a large batch or pickling green tomatoes. *That’s* a whole ‘nother story! :)

    Good luck with your pickling adventures.

    • Hello Mary,
      Just above the ingredients list it says “Makes two Pints”. I decided upon the twelve minutes since similar recipes said ten minutes.
      Apart from not wishing to boil off acetic acid thereby lower the acidity, I’ve had a broken jar result from fully boiling brine. Simmering brine works as well and is less likely to splash. I suggest dropping lids into the water bath liquid and instruct to wipe edges. There’s no reason to not keep jars for three months but six weeks seems to allow for flavor to develop.
      Your method of turning jars upside down is very interesting but I think I have this one down pat and ready to on to a few more Elephant Garlic recipes.
      Thank you for commenting

  2. It is so great to see the results of the garden on the shelves and knowing I can enjoy the fruits of my labors (pun intended) all winter long. Canning is so much fun – once you get the basics down and get over the common fears. It is good to be cautious as well.

    You can always call the local Extension Office for help with your plans. They can tell you if a recipe is safe and the correct procedure to use. Since I’ve taken some classes at the local Extension office, I boiling water bath things I used to just flip over and cross my fingers for like jams and jellies. I had never before heard of that method for sealing pickles. Boiling water bath isn’t hard and is a proven safety measure for high acid foods.

    I think growing and processing are enough work. I don’t want it to be wasted because I didn’t do something correctly or because it spoiled.

    • Hi Deb,
      Thanks for your comment. We opened a jar of pickled Elephant Garlic yesterday and served with a modified country pate. The garlic was crisp, delicious with a well tempered flavor. This recipe is one I’ll make several jars of next year for gift bags. I’m enjoying pickling and jam making but stick with the recommended processing methods.

  3. Its great as your other posts : D, thanks for posting .

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