This is a great way to preserve peeled garlic cloves, so you don’t have to mess with the papery skin while cooking in the kitchen. It’s also a simple to store garlic in the spring, when garlic bulbs begin to sprout.
When I first learned how to grow hardneck garlic, I knew the harvest needed to be stored a cool, dark place for long term storage. I had the perfect cold room in my basement and was happy knowing I had a delicious garlic supply tucked away, ready to be used any time I needed it! And I used a lot of it that winter.
But when spring came, I soon realized I didn’t yet know everything I should about how to preserve garlic.
Because with the arrival of spring, my garlic cloves started sprouting! Tiny pale green shoots appeared out of the top of each pointed garlic clove. And I noticed that as the sprouts grew, my garlic cloves shrunk in their papery peel.
I knew I needed to do something fast, or my cloves would put all their energy into growing these little shoots and I would be left without raw garlic in the kitchen until the summer harvest came in.
Best Preservation Method for Garlic
I knew you could make dehydrated garlic. And I knew some folks would create a pickling brine and pickle garlic in a white vinegar via the canner to prolong its shelf life. I’d even heard of preserving garlic in a pressure canner!
But I wanted to preserve whole cloves in a raw form. So I decided to try peeling and covering my garlic with raw apple cider vinegar.
Having garlic-infused vinegar on hand would be wonderful for making salad dressings and other homemade condiments. And if it worked, I would have raw preserved garlic on hand until the new harvest came in.
Needless to say, it worked beautifully! This is one of the best ways (and perhaps the easiest way) to keep individual cloves of garlic in raw form. So let me show you how to preserve peeled garlic in apple cider vinegar.
Items You’ll Need
- quart (1 litre) wide mouth glass jar
- food grade lid
- glass weight
- cloves of the freshest garlic
- raw apple cider vinegar (or learn to make your own HERE)
If you want to use a different type of vinegar for preserving your raw garlic, you can use white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or any type of homemade fruit vinegar you regularly use for creating homemade condiments.
Also, if you want to use small jars for this process, you certainly can. I prefer to use larger jars, so there’s less I have to store in the fridge!
Watch the Tutorial
Easiest Way to Preserve Raw Garlic in a Glass Jar
I recommend using your own garlic or buying it from a local farmer’s market for this preserving technique. If you want to use grocery store garlic that was grown overseas, I recommend using different methods of preservation. Like dehydrating or canning!
Take whole heads of garlic and rub to remove outer papery peel. When working with hardneck garlic, you’ll need to pop cloves loose from the stem of each garlic bulb.
Once you have a collection, it’s time to start peeling the cloves. This part takes a long time and there are different ways folks like to peel garlic!
Personally, I like to pinch the bulb between my fingers and crack the shell around the clove of garlic. Once cracked in a few places, it should easily peel away, especially if the garlic has come through the winter season and some of the moisture has evaporated from the flesh.
Peel, peel, peel until you have a pile of fresh garlic cloves. I like to listen to a podcast while I do this part. Because it really does take time!
Keep your eye open for brown spots or mold and be sure to cut it away, if found.
Once you have a pile of peeled cloves, go ahead and fill your glass jar to the top of the shoulder, being sure to leave room for a glass weight.
Place the weight on top of your garlic cloves and add raw apple cider vinegar until the garlic is fully submerged and covered. Fasten a lid into place and keep the garlic in your fridge until used up.
Is vinegar a reliable method for preserving garlic long term?
Yes, vinegar covered garlic will keep for months in the fridge. It will slowly soften over time, but the acidity of vinegar will keep bacteria away.
Can I cut my garlic into thin slices or mince it before adding apple cider vinegar?
Most certainly! If you don’t want to deal with whole garlic cloves, either of the above options are a good idea. Just make sure you have a proper weight that can keep everything submerged under the vinegar (it’s harder with minced garlic).
Do I need to add salt to my vinegar to preserve garlic?
No. Apple cider vinegar is acidic enough on its own. Salt isn’t necessary, unless you’re fermenting raw garlic. Which is totally different!
Should I add herbs or spices to my garlic?
You can add bay leaves, dill, red pepper flakes or even mustard seeds to your vinegar. But once again, if things float to the surface, mold growth may occur. So you’ll want to stir things 1x week to prevent bacteria growth.
Can I store my garlic at room temperature?
I don’t recommend storing your garlic at room temperature. Keeping it refrigerated will help it remain firm for longer and you don’t have to worry about mold growing on garlic cloves that might pop to the surface.
If my garlic turns a green color, does that mean it’s bad?
Over time, you may notice your garlic turning green or even a blueish color. 🙂 It’s normal for garlic to change color as it ages and it’s still perfectly safe for use!
How will I know if my garlic has gone bad?
If your vinegar starts to smell musty, if there’s mold or yeast growth on the surface of your vinegar or if your garlic turns mushy and bland, it’s time to compost it and move on!
How to Preserve Garlic in Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 quart (liter) glass jar
- glass weight
- tight fitting lid
- 1 lb raw peeled garlic
- 2 cups raw apple cider vinegar
- Peel your garlic until you have 1 pound.
- Fill your glass jar to the top of the shoulder.
- Add a glass weight to hold the raw cloves down.
- Pour apple cider vinegar into the jar until garlic is fully submerged under the glass weight.
- Add a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator up to 6 months.
- Use raw garlic in homemade condiments, marinades, salad dressing and home remedies.