Miso fermented garlic
Miso fermented garlic (and garlic bulbils!!!) are fast and easy to prepare … and give you not only yummy fermented garlic, but garlic flavored miso too! As a huge fan of both miso and garlic, what’s not to love? This year I experimented with fermenting garlic bulbils in miso too. After using all the green garlic scapes, I had a lot of bulbils at my hands. So the last of my garlic bulbils got buried under miso to be dug up during winter months!
Miso fermented garlic
This is the season for both fresh garlic! Whenever I see it in stores, I can NOT resist. Fresh garlic leaves your fingers sticky and the pungent aroma is nothing compared to the imported garlic of winter months. This year I experimented with my first batch of fresh garlic by covering the cloves with organic miso paste and leaving them to ferment. And because I had garlic bulbils at hand at the same time, I did the same to them too! After about a month in the fridge, it will be time to taste my miso fermented garlic and the garlic flavored miso. I can’t wait!
As time goes by, miso fermented garlic will continue to develop in flavor, softening in both texture and in taste. If you keep the garlic cloves covered by miso and only use clean utensils, miso fermented garlic will easily keep a year ++++ in the fridge. Or so I’ve read, we shall see! In order to actually conduct such a long term experiment, I think I need to make a few more jars 😉
Pickling or preserving veggies in miso paste is a technique that comes from Japan (d’oh). Misozuke are usually veggies pickled in miso paste, and ninniku no misozuke is miso pickled garlic. You can read more about misozuke from Just One Cookbook’s site! My first introduction to miso fermented garlic came however from Bon Appetit’s Brad Leone and his It’s Alive -series. Later I saw Imamu make miso pickled veggies on YouTube! (Sorry, but I can’t for the life of me remember which video it was… But if you love Japanese food, I highly recommend watching any and all of her videos!) Ever since, I’ve been waiting for a chance to do some miso pickling or preserving too. And finally, here we are! This experiment is more in the style of Brad’s miso fermented garlic than misozuke, but I will definitely give the more traditional misozuke a go soon too.
I thought I’d share this project with you, although I haven’t had a chance to taste the results yet. The time for fresh new garlic (and garlic bulbils at least here in Finland) has begun and in case anyone is up for this experiment, I better talk about it now! I will update this post with results and taste test once the garlic is ready! I hear a month is needed for fermenting the fresh garlic cloves. If one uses a bit older garlic, they get ready in about two months! Even if mine aren’t ready yet and I’m experimenting also with garlic bulbils, I am certain all of them turn out dreamy! After all, miso pickling is an old tradition, and those tend to be kept alive for a good reason ❤️
Garlic scapes & garlic bublils
Around the time when I made this experiment, I had a hefty amount of garlic bulbils at hand for the first time in my life. Outside of Finland many already know that you can eat the green garlic flower stems aka garlic scapes, but here this seems to not be a very known fact yet, unfortunately. I’ve been drooling over all the garlic scape recipes online for years, and so I was over the moon when I finally got a hold of these delicious green delicacies! You can eat garlic scapes as a vegetable (sauteed, grilled, steames, fried, pureed, mixed in with hummus, soups, stews, salads… well, whatever you like, really!) or instead of garlic. The green stems have a texture similar to green beans and they are absolutely delicious!
The batch I bought from a local farmer included the green stems, but loads of garlic bulbils too. At first I didn’t know what to do with them. In fact, I desperately tried to find out what they were … well, even what they’re called! I mean, I knew absolutely nothing about growing garlic! I found out that the bulbs at the end of the garlic scapes are called bulbils, and that some throw this part out, some use it to grow more garlic. I decided to cook some of the bulbils I had, and found them delightful! Honestly, they are just like a cluster of mini garlic cloves – super good in anything I’d typically use garlic in. So, by the time I had made my batch of miso fermented garlic, I knew I had to try to fermenting some garlic bulbils in miso too!
The miso I used was an organic miso on the lighter side, though not quite the most mellow and light kind of white miso which I would have preferred. Around the time of the experiment, I was stuck with what was available at my local grocery store! I would have wanted to use a really mellow shiromiso to allow the garlic flavors to be the hero of this concoction, but the more robust flavors in the jar I had at home will be good too, no doubt.
To be honest, I wouldn’t making this experiment with any kind of miso, light or dark, mellow or funky! I use miso a lot in my cooking and absolutely love the flavor of all the types that have crossed my path. That’s why I think I will definitely do more experiments with miso fermented garlic, using different types of miso. I know I will make use of all the garlic flavored miso I’ll end up with!
Miso fermented garlic cloves and bulbils
- glass preserving jar(s) with lids
- miso paste (preferably organic)
- garlic cloves or bulbils (organic and as fresh as possible)
- Sterilize the jars and their lids. I usually pour boiling water in them and leave them like that for around 15 minutes. Then I leave them upside down to air dry and cool off in the drying rack of my kitchen.
- With a clean spoon, pack about a centimeter of miso paste at the bottom of the jar. Peel your garlic cloves / bulbils and stick them in the miso so, that they aren't touching the walls of the jar nor each other.
- Cover the garlic with more miso, making they layer at least a centimeter deep on top of the previous layer. Try to pack in the miso tightly so no air gaps are left behind. Add a new layer of garlic and miso and keep going until you reach the top.
- Leave a few centimeters empty at the top. Tidy up the edges of the jar and close the lid.
- Let the jars ferment in room temperature for three days, then move them to the fridge. You may notice that the miso starts to bubble and rise, leaving pockets of air. That's okay! Let the jars develop in the fridge at least a month before using!
- When digging out the garlic, always use a clean utensil. Wipe away the miso and snack away, or puree the garlic to soups, dressings, hummus, mashed potateos... you name it! The garlic will stay good in the jar as long as it's covered by the miso for up to a year (maybe more, we shall see!).
Ps. I also put some of the garlic bulbils in honey! By the time the miso fermented garlic is ready, I will also be sampling on the honey fermented garlic bulbils!
Eastridge Farms Garlic FAQs, Cooking with garlic bulbils, Japan Guide: Tsukemono
We shall see how this turns out I was gifted with a lot of garlic from a friend’s farm.
I’ve done honey cured garlic but my favorite recipe is: a 1:1:1 ratio of warm water, honey and tamari. Place garlic in jar and cover with the liquid, let marinate for at least 6weeks.
Note: I use warm water to disolve the honey the add the tamari. The liquid makes a wonderful marinade.
What a good friend you have, I hope it turns out well! I will try that combo, it sounds fantastic. Thank you so much for the tip! ☺️ I’ve been using both the garlic cloves and the garlicky miso from last summer since I wrote this blog post … But luckily my jars are nowhere near empty yet!