By April most of our garlic varieties have started to sprout. And this is when people often ask, What can I do with it? If you already see green sprouts the best thing is to eat it straight away – all of it – or break off each clove and plant them. This will provide you with green shoots through winter – treat them like spring onions. Not all varieties grow well in all areas so there is the possibility that the clove you’ve planted won’t fully develop into a nice big juicy bulb next spring, but it will certainly provide fresh green-garlic flavours.
BEFORE sprouting it’s best to put some aside for pickling.
1. Basic pickle
I do a couple of jars of this each year now, and while it is NOT fresh season garlic in flavour, it’s better than imported chemical drenched garlic.
It’s simple. You’ll need:
A few whole garlic bulbs
white wine vinegar
Separate the cloves, leave the skins on and pack into a small jar. Don’t put in bruised ones.
Fill with the vinegar and measure as you go. For each cup of vinegar add ½ teaspoon of sugar. When the jar is full, tighten the lid and refrigerate for at least month before use. You don’t have to put it in the fridge! But I do. Slice and peel or mince it as needed. If it’s left for longer the skins will dissolve. It will taste vinegary and is crunchy yet keeps the overall garlic flavour.
2. Garlic Honey
Pack peeled cloves into a jar and cover with honey. The honey will become liquid and preserve the garlic. It has a strong pong! This is okay if you don’t mind a touch of sweetness and the honey becomes extra medicinal, but it’s not so good for chopping etc. The first time I did this I was very unsure about the liquidly nature of it. But it’s good for salad dressings or when I want to add a whole clove to a tomato Sugo etc where an extra hint of sweetness is okay.
3. Crushed Frozen Garlic
This is definitely more work but if you manage your freezer well, it’s meant to be a go-to way of having sort-of fresh garlic during winter. Every year I get an email from someone telling me that that process has worked well. I’ve tried it but found it difficult because my freezer is full of our meat and loads of stock in various containers.