Fermenting garlic enhances its flavor and imparts a smoother texture, while also adding probiotics, which can aid in digestion, according to Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions.” Fermentation also increases the antioxidant effects of garlic, which the University of Maryland Medical Center notes may play a role in boosting the immune system and fighting heart disease. Fermented garlic can be used in any recipe that calls for garlic, from salad dressings and dips to spaghetti sauces and casseroles. Best of all, it is very simple to make right at home.

Things You'll Need

Separate the heads of garlic into individual cloves.

Peel the papery skin off each clove.

Combine 1 tbsp. of salt with 1 cup of water in a 1-qt. glass jar. Stir well until the salt is dissolved.

Add the peeled garlic cloves to the glass jar with the salt water mix in it.

Pour additional water into the glass jar to cover the garlic cloves, leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch of space between the water and the top of the jar.

Cover the jar loosely — don’t fully seal it — and set it aside at room temperature for at least three days or up to a week, until the garlic achieves the desired flavor.

Seal the jar and store it in the refrigerator.


  • For additional flavor, add 1/2 tsp. oregano or other spice to the salt water mixture.

  • To speed up fermentation, use 2 tsp. of whey and 2 tsp. of salt instead of 1 tbsp. of salt. Under these conditions the garlic should ferment in only 2 to 3 days.

  • To make peeling the garlic cloves easier, bake them at 200 degrees Fahrenheit until the skins start to pop open.