Fermenting garlic can be done with the skins on or with the cloves peeled. Cloves can change color during fermentation representing a few potential factors.
Epicurious says, “‘We don’t know a lot about this,’ says Dr. Luke LaBorde of Penn State University’s Department of Food Science. ‘It’s definitely enzymatic and nonenzymatic reactions occurring in the garlic, but we really don’t know entirely why’.” Some say this is connected to variations of different nutrients.
“The bioactivity of some natural products is increased by fermentation,” says Nutrition Research. They reported fermented garlic protected diabetic, obese mice through the antioxidant activity of the fermented garlic vs the unfermented garlic. The study showed remarkable liver support and antiobesity effects.
Plant Foods For Human Nutrition, a publication of the Netherlands, reported a study on fermented garlic which showed, “Superoxide dismutase (SOD)-like activity, scavenging activity against hydrogen peroxide and the polyphenol content of the garlic extract were increased 13-folds, more than 10-folds, and 7-folds, respectively, as compared with those of the control garlic extract.”
They go on to say, “The fermented- garlic is suggested to possess desirable anti-oxidative properties.”
What’s specifically interesting is, as they say, “Hydrogen peroxide is generated from the scavenging reaction by SOD.”
The Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition reported the study concluding, “Dietary fermented garlic powder decreased the blood total cholesterol. The triglyceride concentration was decreased. Dietary fermented garlic powder can also increase the nutrient digestibility, lymphocytes and RBC concentrations, but decrease the faecal E. coli concentration in weaning pigs.”
Peeled and blanched garlic was compared with unblanched garlic during fermentation as reported by the International Journal of Food Microbiology. The blanched garlic was prepared by pouring boiling water over the peeled garlic for 15 minutes prior to fermentation. They reported, “The starter grew abundantly in the case of blanched garlic, producing mainly lactic acid and reaching a pH of 3.8 after 7 days, but its growth was inhibited in unblanched garlic. Ethanol and fructose, coming from enzymatic activities of the garlic, and a green pigment were formed during the fermentation of unblanched garlic, but not of blanched garlic.”
Sometimes, when fermenting garlic, the cloves change colors.
Epicurious says, “As far as they can tell, garlic enzymes—which give it that distinct flavor—break down over time. Naturally occurring sulfur in the garlic interacts with those enzymes, occasionally turning it slightly green or blue. Sometimes the color change happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Shifts in temperature, pH, and the age of the garlic can also come into play.” Older garlic turns blue or green more frequently than fresh garlic.
The Journal of Food Science reported a study where they tested all 22 amino acids with garlic fermentation. They said, “Blue–green pigments are easily generated by mixing juice from heated white onions, a good source of 1-PeCSO (1-propenyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide) (which causes the) formation of thiosulfinates, ‘color developers’.”
They further concluded, “Green discoloration” in crushed garlic represents a mixture of yellow and blue pigments, and the blue color results from at least 8 pigments, depending on amino acid composition, rather than a single blue pigment. Results indicated that amino acids other than glycine have the potential to form blue pigments.”
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Industry posted another study testing the pigmented fermented garlic saying, ” Alliinase and acetic acid were required for the color formation. UV-vis spectral measurements and pH results suggest that the color formation occurs by two kinds of processes: one enzymatic and the other nonenzymatic.”
Some traditional cultures make Black Garlic, a totally different product than fermented garlic. Black Garlic is made by putting dried unpeeled garlic in the slow cooker on the warm setting for 12-20 days without opening the lid. This is not a probiotic food, it’s still good for you, just not a probiotic.
Probably the most telling aspect of fermented garlic is its incredible against Staph and the bacteria MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA that is specifically resistant to antibiotic use consistently shows no match for fermented garlic.
Microbiologist and Pharmaceutical Scientist Michelle Moore says, “Unlike antibiotic drugs, garlic is very complex, containing 27 known active ingredients and dozens more that work in unknown ways. Many of these ingredients can work together synergistically inside the body in intricate ways to fight infections. The herb is highly effective against resistant MRSA bacteria because it is too complex chemically for the bacteria to become resistant to. In contrast, the antibiotic drug Zyvox, which is prescribed for many MRSA cases, has only one active ingredient: Linzolid.”
The British Journal of Biomedical Science says, “Resistance to mupirocin in MRSAs is increasing. Allicin is the main antibacterial agent isolated from garlic.” The tested garlic isolates and found, “88% of clinical isolates had MBCs of 128 microg/mL, and all were killed at 256 microg/mL. Of these strains, 82% showed intermediate or full resistance to mupirocin; however, this study showed that a concentration of 500 microg/mL in an aqueous cream base was required to produce an activity equivalent to 256 microg/mL allicin liquid.”
Fermenting garlic is one of the easiest and most potent things a person can do for their health.
Fill a quart mason jar full of garlic cloves (peeled or unpeeled, your choice), add a tablespoon of mineral salt. Fill the jar with filtered water leaving an inch of headroom. Let the jar sit for a few weeks or longer.
*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]
“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.
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