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How do you stop pickled garlic from turning blue? (Not a joke!)

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Recipes for pickled garlic always have you put the garlic (peeled or unpeeled, whole or separated into cloves) into a solution of vinegar, sugar, water, and salt. Then you put something on top of the cloves to keep them submerged.

Every time I've tried this, the garlic develops a turquoise color, starting at the root end. I've done it with different pickling solutions, and the result is always the same!

Has anyone here actually pickled garlic themselves? Did your garlic turn blue? It's making me crazy!
HELP!!!!!!!!!

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  1. The pigments in the garlic are reacting to the acid. Try blanching the garlic cloves briefly. The heat should destroy the pigments and then your garlic won't react to the acid. Not all garlic has these pigments and they can varying from clove to clove within a head.

    1. We just went over this in our UC Extension Master Food Preservers Class. The garlic is turning blue because it is immature. Use fully mature garlic and they should not color. Some varieties of garlic will turn purple istead of blue when immature while cauliflour will turn pink. Both are still safe to eat, just unusual color.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Karen

        Tnx for the info.

        Since you took this course....do you happen to have a good recipe, or some info, on making kimchee?

        1. re: Howard-2

          I don't know how "authentic" this recipe is as I don't care for Korean food, and the University of California extension program will only publish what is "safe", not necessarily "good". But what have you got to lose? Do not change the quantity of salt or you risk spoilage instead of fermenting.

          Korean Kimchi

          3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pickling salt
          6 cups water, (use bottled if your water is hard)
          2 lbs Chinese (Napa) cabbage, cut into 2" squares or shredded, your preference
          6 scallions, cut into 2" lengths, then slivered
          1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
          2 tablespoons Korean ground dried hot pepper, or other mildly hot ground red pepper
          1 teaspoon sugar

          1. Dissolve the 3 T salt in the water. Put the cabbage into a large bowl, a crock, or a non-reactive pot, and pour the brine over it. Weight the cabbage down with a plate, all cabbage must be under the brine. Let stand for 12 hours.
          2. Drain the cabbage, reserving the brine. Mix the cabbage with the remaining ingredients, including the 1 teaspoon additional salt. pack the mixture into a 2 quart jar. Pour enough of the reserved brine over the cabbage to cover. Push a freezer bag into the mouth of the jar, and pour the the remaining brine into the bag. Seal the bag. Let the kimchi ferment in a cool place, at a temperture no higher than 68 degrees F, for 3-6 days, until the kimchi is as sour as you like.
          3. Remove the brine bag and cap jar tightly. Store the kimchi in the refrigerator, where it will keep for months.

          a few notes: do not use black pepper in place of the red. The red pepper gives the relish the charastic orangy-red color.