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TIP OF THE DAY: Pickled Garlic

Pickled garlic is a healthful, tasty garnish and ingredient. You can buy it in jars, but it’s almost as easy to make your own.

Don’t worry about being overwhelmed by garlic flavor: The cloves lose a lot of their pungency in the pickling process. They are still garlicky, but tame.

Enjoy pickled garlic on salads, sandwiches, skewered appetizers or main courses, as a Martini garnish or as a snack like any pickles. You can also bring jars of it as house gifts—so much more interesting than most bottles of wine.

You can make the pickled garlic more of a condiment by pickling sliced onions and cucumbers along with the garlic cloves.



  • 6 bulbs garlic
  • 4 cups white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (you can cut back to 1 tablespoon if you want to minimize your sugar intake)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf

    Use pickled garlic to garnish just about anything, including canapés and crostini. Above, turkey and hummus with pickled garlic garnishes.Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • 2 dried red chile peppers (choose the type according to your desired level of heat)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • Optional: sliced onion and cucumber
  • Optional: more herbs, such as dill and/or oregano

    Pickled garlic with a choice of seasonings:
    Give it as gifts. Photo by Elvira Kalviste |



    1. SEPARATE the heads of garlic into cloves, with the outer skin removed. Set aside. TIP: To soften and loosen the skins, blanch the cloves in rapidly boiling water for 30 seconds, immediately immerse in cold water, drain and peel the cloves.

    2. COMBINE the vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf, chiles and lemon zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; continue to boil for 2 minutes.

    3. ADD the garlic, and continue to boil for 4 more minutes. Remove from heat and let stand overnight at room temperature.

    4. TRANSFER to a clean jar. You can strain out the herbs and spices or keep them (we keep them for the aesthetic effect). Cover and store in the refrigerator; the pickled cloves will keep for 6 to 8 weeks. Over the first week, the cloves will become even more pickled.

    TIP: When the garlic cloves have been consumed, taste the brine. You may want to incorporate it with oil into a salad dressing.


    If you’d like to simply purchase pickled garlic, consider Rabbit’s Pickled Garlic, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    We love these pickled cloves, made in chipotle, habanero, habanero dill, smoke and spicy dill. Read our review.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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