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Spicy Pickled Garlic

Note: Some garlic is more prone to coming out colorful due to age, soil and irrigation conditions.


¼ cup iodine free salt
2 ½ cups distilled water
2 ½ cups white vinegar
2 pounds fresh garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon peppercorns
4 heads fresh dill


  1. Combine the salt, water, and vinegar in a non-reactive large saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon peppercorns and 1 head of dill into 4 sterilized pint jars. Divide and pack in the garlic (about 8 ounces each jar) leaving ½ inch of headspace.
  3. Using a ladle, divide hot pickling liquid between the 4 jars, leaving ½-inch of headspace. With a clean chopstick or butter knife remove any air bubbles, clean jar rims with a clean towel, center lids on jars, and adjust band to fingertip-tight.
  4. Carefully add jars to a pot of boiling water, cover with the lid and process for 10 minutes. Make sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water when boiling. Turn off heat and remove cover. Let jars cool 5 minutes and remove from pot. Place on a flat surface and let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Check seals.

The chemistry of garlic and its reactions to other compounds will sometimes turn pickled garlic a turquoise color or a shade of light green to blue. This is completely normal, safe to eat and does not affect the flavor, but can look unappetizing.

Follow these simple tips to avoid colorful garlic:

  • Use iodine free salt, such as kosher or sea salt
  • Use stainless steel or enamel cookware; avoid copper, aluminum, cast iron and tin
  • Use distilled water opposed to tap water to avoid trace minerals
  • Store jars in a dark place