Can You Ferment Garlic in Olive Oil?- You Should Need to Know

Have you ever been tempted to pick the garlic-infused oils from the grocery store or even a fashionable specialty food store to use in your cooking? As fermented garlic products can be expensive, you may have thought you could ferment garlic at home to save money while also adding new flavors to your cupboard.

Yes, garlic ferments in olive oil because it contains all three necessary components for conduction fermentation: natural sugars in the garlic, natural bacteria living on the garlic surface, and an anaerobic environment provided by the olive oil, among other things.

Garlic, like other fresh vegetables, has naturally occurring carbohydrates and microorganisms. When the olive oil and garlic are combined in a jar, and sealed, specific bacteria will begin to convert the sugars into acid as part of the fermentation process. This article contains more information on garlic fermentation and also answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

How safe is keeping garlic in olive oil?

can you ferment garlic in olive oil

Garlic heads are typically contaminated with bacteria spores that dwell in the soil. It is impossible to remove these spores and bacteria from the garlic completely. When bacteria thrive in an environment with plenty of oxygen, they do not pose any problems. As a result, there is no need to toss away all of your garlic cloves. However, if no oxygen is available, the bacteria’s spores will increase and become dangerous.

When fermenting garlic in olive oil, it is customary to place the lid and tightly cover it, creating an anaerobic atmosphere. Because there is no oxygen in such an environment, the germination of the spore is facilitated. Furthermore, if the fermented garlic is left out at room temperature, it becomes considerably more harmful. By exposing the bottle to a warm environment, you are essentially encouraging the growth of bacteria. Furthermore, because olive oil is not highly acidic, it creates an environment that is more suitable for the growth of harmful bacteria.

If you eat the garlic or use the oil, you run the danger of contracting botulism poisoning. Some signs of poisoning include blurred vision, muscle spasms, dilated pupils, and even facial paralysis. While there is a drug that can prevent germs from causing further damage, it cannot be used to reverse the damage.

All of this appears to be alarming. It most certainly is. However, if you’ve only recently purchased fermented garlic, you shouldn’t run to the pantry and toss it out. Commercial goods contain chemicals and additions that inhibit the growth of bacteria. Furthermore, if you store fermented garlic in the refrigerator, the bacteria will not thrive in such an environment. However, it is ideal to consume it immediately or within seven days of purchasing it.

Fermenting garlic in olive oil at home is extremely dangerous. It is possible to boil the garlic before preserving it in oil if this is something you truly want to try. You can add vinegar if you want to. As a result, both the heat and the vinegar will kill off the spores, reducing the likelihood of the dangerous bacteria spreading. Once it has been prepared, it should be stored in the refrigerator. Temperatures below freezing create an adverse environment for all these bacteria.

How fermented garlic tastes like

How fermented garlic tastes like

When fermented garlic is preserved properly, it develops a sweet, buttery flavor similar to that of butter. Because it has a texture similar to JELL-O, it is much softer than unfermented garlic. There is also no characteristic garlic aftertaste, which many people dislike. As a result, even individuals who are averse to consuming garlic may like fermented garlic.

However, the problem with fermented garlic is that the flavor and smell will remain the same even if it isn’t preserved properly. There is no way to tell whether bacteria have contaminated the oil. As a result, it’s critical to use caution when handling fermented garlic, storing it in the refrigerator for a few days, or purchasing a store-bought product.

Different ways on how fermented garlic is used

Different ways on how fermented garlic is used

A simple way to take garlic is by popping whole cloves of fermented garlic in your mouth. After all, fermentation reduces the heat of garlic, ensuring that it does not burn your stomach or tear your lips off when consumed. There are various other, more intriguing methods to use garlic that are both more flavorful and integrate more nutrients. If a recipe specifies that raw garlic cloves should be used, substitute fermented garlic for them.

Due to the milder flavor of fermented garlic than non-fermented garlic, you will likely use much more fermented garlic than non-fermented garlic in your recipes. The size and heat of garlic cloves vary depending on the garlic used in cooking. Taking Georgian Fire as an example, it is significantly hotter than Making a small batch and tasting it before adjusting the amount to your liking.

Troubleshooting fermented garlic that changes color

Troubleshooting fermented garlic that changes color

Garlic cloves that have been fermented may turn bluish-green. The color change is not an indication of decomposition; these cloves are still safe to eat and taste exactly like beige fermented garlic. The color shift occurs due to the age of the garlic, temperature fluctuations, or an acidic ph. It can occur in pickled garlic, fermented garlic, and when used in the kitchen.

The fermentation of garlic causes sulfur-containing chemicals and enzymes in garlic cloves to react with one another and then with acids in the brine produced by the fermentation. When creating fermented garlic, it is best to use fresh, young garlic to avoid the color-changing effect. Peeling the cloves without crushing or cutting them also helps keep the cloves’ color consistent throughout cold-temperature preservation.

You might be interested to read also our another comprehensive article of: How to cook baked garlic brown sugar chicken

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How is fermented garlic used in cooking?

If a recipe specifies that raw garlic cloves should be used, substitute fermented garlic for them. Due to the milder flavor of fermented garlic than non-fermented garlic, you will likely use more fermented garlic than non-fermented garlic in your recipes.


It is important to be aware of the potential of bacterial infection while fermenting garlic in olive oil at home, even if you are doing it yourself. While compared to commercially prepared versions, which have been specially processed to prevent any form of contamination, it’s important to follow a few guidelines when creating it at home.

Cooking the garlic before fermenting it, adding an acid (such as vinegar), and keeping it in the refrigerator are all important steps in producing a product that is safe to consume.