How does a garlic clove thrive inside a closed refrigerator?

How does a garlic clove thrive inside a closed refrigerator?

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A garlic clove has been growing very well inside a closed refrigerator.

It has developed beautiful green stalks, which I think are the equivalent of leafs. Since they are green, I assume they contain chlorophyll.

Without any source of sunlight (for photosynthesis) or soil (for nutrients), how can such a plant thrive so well?

Is it simply growing off the internal stored energy of the clove itself?

Will it continue to grow without sunlight and soil?

Your garlic was likely purchased as a bulb, not seed, and stored in the fridge. The garlic 'clove' is not frozen, so your fridge readily mimics underground conditions in the temperate late winter or spring season. The bulb is generally buried underground, and the subsequent initiation of plant development and growth uses the stored energy. In a garden, the garlic would, however, begin photosynthesizing soon thereafter. Bad news: in your fridge, the plant is certain to become etiolated, because the lack of light, and yes, eventually run out of the stored resources--and die. Good news: you can eat or transplant it.

My Garlic Is Sprouting: Can I Plant It?

Garlic (Allium sativum) sprouts when it's ready to grow into a new plant. Store-bought garlic cloves sometimes sprout in the refrigerator, and cloves supplied for growing can sprout in storage. There's nothing wrong with sprouting garlic, but store-bought cloves can carry diseases and may not grow well if they aren't suited to local growing conditions. A single garlic clove grows into a garlic bulb in good growing conditions. Garlic is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, and it's usually grown as an annual plant.

How to Grow Garlic Indoors in a Pot

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If garlic is a staple in your cooking (and why wouldn’t it be), growing your own at home is a great way to ensure you always have some fresh garlic on hand when you need it. Garlic doesn’t necessarily grow super quickly, but in the meantime you can regularly trim off the greens and use them as a flavorful garnish in your recipes. Once the garlic is ready to harvest and you have a big bundle of fresh cloves, it will be so worth it. Check out the steps below to learn how to plant, care for, and harvest garlic indoors!

What’s Wrong with My Garlic?

If you grow garlic for any time at all, eventually you will have “issues.” At some point along the way, you might notice that some aren’t doing quite as well as the others. Maybe you notice a little discoloration or wilting, but overall, most seem to be holding their own against rain, wind, and heat. Or maybe, much to your surprise, a whole bed will turn yellow and fall over, seemingly overnight. On the other hand, maybe everyone appears to be doing just fine, the leaves turn yellow in summer, indicating time to harvest, but when you dig them up – agghh! The Dreaded Black Spot! Maybe even white fuzz, malformed bulbs, stunted roots, creepy-crawlies, or any number of other things. Or maybe they all look beautiful, you proudly hang them to cure and are ecstatic at the wonderful crop, but then a month later, they become soft and show signs of decay. If you are crying out, “What’s Wrong with My Garlic?” – this article might be for you.

Many will tell you growing garlic is easy – but the truth is, it is a long, tricky process, and you – or nature – can screw it up any step along the way. By the time you notice something is wrong, it can be too late.

Don’t thrash yourself too harshly. Some things you simply can’t avoid. They are there. But you spend 9 months pampering these sweet babies into healthy, strong individuals, and you want to do what you can to ensure they grow up to their potential. I am a strong believer in unconditional love, but there are also times when tough love is warranted. However, paying attention, listening, and a little preventative care can go a long way to avoiding problems down the line.

It’s a Bit Like Fortune Telling: We Have to Learn to Read the Leaves

Garlic problem #43: Garlic leaves affected by Fusarium University of Minnesota Extension photo

Garlic speaks to us through its leaves – so if we want to understand garlic, we can divine knowledge of its well-being or malaise (and correspondingly, our upcoming fortune or otherwise) through leaf interpretation. Divination requires two things: a question and an answer. The real question, of course, is whether it’s the right answer, what does it mean, and what is your subsequent response. I guess that’s four questions. No matter. Life rewards action.

For example, the standard advice on when to harvest garlic is to look at the leaves. When the bottom leaves start to brown but 3 or 4 green leaves still remain (some recommend 5 or 6, but not every variety has a lot of leaves), the time is right. Each green leaf represents an associated wrapper that can protect the bulb after it is harvested, so you want to make sure you have a few green ones left.

Yellow tips are such a common garlic phenomenon that many consider it “normal.” They can be caused by any number of stressors: a hard winter, a warm spell followed by a freezing spell, mild nutrient deficiencies or imbalances, too much or too little water a little of this and that. I don’t worry about yellow tips. My garlics usually get them. Everything I read says that unless they are extreme, yields should not be affected.

However, yellow stripes, splotches, speckles, leaf curl, thickened leaves, purple veins, or other abnormalities indicate something more serious is going on: soil deficiencies, insect infestations, fungal growth.

Multiple shoots coming from the stalk might be from cold damage in early spring.

Severely stunted, crumpled bulbs in spring might also be a vivid complaint about a rough winter or early spring freezes. Stunted plants might also indicate the presence of thrips.

Wilted leaves during mid-season: your plant might just be thirsty. Be aware that under-watering can cause the plant to mature early. Or maybe it’s just tired and hungry, in which case a little foliar or root-zone feeding might bring it back around. Then again, perhaps something more nefarious is lurking beneath the surface, and further investigations are warranted.

I used to think that garlic was an invincible super plant. After all, it is used as an insecticide, fungicide, plant strengthener, immune system booster, and it provides a number of health benefits to our homeo sapien brethren. What could possibly hurt this remarkable plant?

As it turns out, Plenty! The following is a quick summary of several of the fungi, insects, and other stressors that can affect the garlic crop. After compiling this list, I am actually quite amazed mine have done as well as they have over the years!

Mold & Fungus

Garlic Problem #88: Garlic White Rot (Steve Renquist photo)

Aaaagggh! If you live in the Northwest, mold happens. Every year I find some – some years I find a lot. We’ve had one of the coolest, wettest spring & summers on record – conditions that would make any fungus happy – so don’t be surprised if some of your beloved garlic plants fall prey. Sometimes you can’t tell what’s going on – the plants look basically fine, maybe the leaves start to yellow, which they normally would anyway – maybe some seem a little smaller, but variations in size are common – and then you go to harvest the plant, and you find the dreaded mold. Roots that are rotted off are a sure-fire sign, as is black around the neck. I have had cold, wet years when I’ve lost most of my crop. Sometimes it’s isolated to an individual area, in which case I take a closer look at soil differences, watering techniques, or microclimates that could cause problems. These bulbs need to be thrown in the burn pile (do not compost!), and it’s a sad day. I have, in desperation, rubbed off outer skins and thrown clean cloves into vinegar for a fresh pickled garlic, but they are never as good as the cured kind. Here are some specifics:

Basal or Bottom Rot (Fusarium culmorum and F. oxysporum): This fungus is pretty much in all soils but is usually not a huge problem unless the plants are already weakened by some other stressor. It is most frequent in warmer temperatures, like late in the summer. Look for reddish decay in a single clove or the entire bulb. Yellowing begins at tips of leaves and moves down plants may wilt rot appears at the basal plate. Bulbs might appear ok but then rot during storage. It looks a lot like white rot, but death proceeds more slowly. If conditions are not ideal, it may not be that obvious that it is even there – but then, during storage, if temps are relatively warm, the bulbs may begin an early decay and the cloves shrivel into tough little inedible nuggets.

Blue Mold (Penicillium hirsutum and P. corymbiferum): The Penicillium Rot travels through the air and shows up as a blue-green mold on wounded garlic. It can happen in the field, where they emerge but then turn yellow and die, but it particularly occurs after harvest during storage as a result of rough handling. Be careful not to plant infected bulbs or you will get it again. It’s easy to do. One little infected clove in a bowl of popped cloves ready to plant can infect the whole bunch. If you see mold on a bulb, don’t think you can plant the “clean” cloves. They are not. Spores are invisible.

Downy Mildew (Peronospora destructor): “Destructor” says it all. It likes cool, damp/wet weather. Spores can be wind-blown over long distances, and they can even “swim” via rain and irrigation. They just love it when the weather is around 55 degrees, which it is for most of our spring and summer. The pathogen survives as oospores for many years in the soil. When the weather turns hot, the plant can regain the upper hand, but if it turns cool and damp again, the Destructor will return. It can reach epidemic proportions under the right conditions. Look for spots on the leaves that become covered with a grayish furry mold. Growth is stunted younger plants may die outer scales of bulbs become water-soaked necks sometimes shrivel and turn black. Yuck.

Leaf Blight (Botrytis squamosa): Look for grayish-white leaf spots that become brownish. Usually occurs under high humidity, moist conditions.

Neck Rot (Botrytis allii and B. porri): This fungus survives on dead plants in the soil and attacks garlic leaves in warm, wet weather. It will also take over the bulbs in storage. It is called “neck rot” for good reason – the stem turns black and slimy and easily pulls from the bulb. It can be quite common in maritime climates, and usually affects the softnecks more than the hardnecks. Watch for sclerotia, those black clumps that form between cloves. Excessive rain or irrigation can encourage growth, and it is difficult to control in wet weather. I have had to deal with this in wet years when mulch and compost kept the moisture levels high in the soil and directly around the bulbs, and also when weeds (large dandelion leaves!) limited air circulation around the plants. Be careful not to bruise the bulbs, which can also invite infestations.

Rust (Puccinia allii): The rust fungus travels with the wind and loves cool, wet conditions. High humidity, low rainfall, temps between 45 and 55 – oh, yikes – that’s exactly what we get here! Look for yellow flecks and spots that turn to orange and brown. The only real controls involve chemicals. Fortunately, according to CA studies, although overall yield may be reduced in heavy infestations, you can still use the cloves for planting in the following year. Rust was a problem for me this year, which I will discuss in a future post.

White Rot (Sclerotium cepivorum): If you get this, you might as well give it up forever, because this fungus can live 30 years in the soil and is particularly active in cool, wet conditions. It looks a lot like basal rot but the garlic demise is much more rapid. The bottom leaves turn prematurely yellow, along with the leaf tips the plants fall over and the stems and bulbs begin to rot the plant pulls apart roots are rotted you can see fluffy white mold and poppy-seed-sized black sclerotia, which are smaller than what you’d find on neck rot. The sclerotia germinate in the presence of sulfur, which is produced by the garlic plant. How convenient for them.


Yikes. “Virus” is such a scary word! It conjures up images of the plague sweeping across a field of posies and we all fall down. However, according to the U of MN: “Because garlic is clonally propagated, almost all [italics mine] planting stock is infected with some type of virus. The viruses are usually mild and do not seriously affect yield….One exception is onion yellow dwarf virus, which can cause severe mosaic in combination with other viruses. Most of the garlic purchased from seed catalogs and other garlic growers contains some virus.”

Garlic Mosaic (also onion mosaic): Look for mottling or striping on the leaves. Mosaic is caused by several different viruses that appear to be lumped under the “potyvirus” term. They can be transmitted through the planting stock or even carried by aphids. It is thought that these viruses are commonly present in all garlic (according to U of CA).

Iris Yellow Spot is a virus carried by onion thrips. It is usually seen on onions, but can also affect other members of the Allium family. Identify by a diamond-shaped splotch on the leaves or elongated brown lesions.

Yellow Dwarf Virus: Look for yellow streaks on the leaves. Not all leaves are necessarily infected, and how much it affects the crop depends on the level of infestation and the time of the season – a mild infestation late in the year might have very little effect. Stressed plants are more likely to get it – or maybe they have it all along, but a weakened plant under the right conditions allows the virus to manifest itself. In severe cases, plants are stunted leaves and flower stalks can be twisted and pale. Of course, yellowing leaves look like just about everything else that can affect garlic, so it’s hard to tell whether it’s really the result of the evil Yellow Dwarf or not. Preventative measures are best.

Critter Infestations

Garlic problem #57: Damage from Onion Thrips (University of Maryland Home & Garden Information Center)

Aster Yellows: I put this in the critter category because it is carried by a leafhopper bug. Signs include smaller, yellow, deformed leaves (veins remain green) and a possible “witches’ broom” appearance. The disease is relatively new in garlic, particularly up north, but I recently heard of a grower in Minnesota who lost 10,000 bulbs to this pest! What a devastating loss! Aster yellows can actually affect over 300 species of plants and is caused by a phytoplasma. When the leafhopper feeds on the plant, it becomes infected for the rest of its life. The spread of aster yellows is worse in cooler, wet climates, probably because leafhoppers don’t like hot dry areas. One has to wonder what kind of pests and diseases we will have to deal with in the face of climate change – those things that might migrate north to escape the heat and drought.

Nematodes (Ditylenchus dipsaci) can live in plant tissue for 9 years! They spread through planting infected seed stock. Plants may show no symptoms in cool growing conditions, but in warmer weather, the tops will yellow prematurely. In some cases, the stem will appear stunted or twisted or even swollen sometimes the bulb is deformed. Look for swollen tissue at the basal plate, spongy tissue, splits where you’d normally see a bulb, yellowed skins, rot and decay. (Not to be confused with the predatory nematodes, Steinernema feltiae, aka Neoaplectana carpopapsae, which you can actually purchase, and which are known to attack some 250 or so different kinds of insects, worms, and bugs.)

Onion Maggots (Hylemya antiqua): These legless little white maggots will bore into the garlic stem underground. The plant will turn yellow, wilt, and possibly die. They generally prefer onions and shallots. As an adult, they look like a little grey housefly eggs are laid at the base of plants in the soil the baby maggots have voracious appetites.

Onion Thrips: These little suckers love warm, dry weather. Look for whitish specks on leaves (lack of chlorophyll – they suck the life-blood juice right out of the plant) that grow into splotches and eventually all run together. They can hibernate in the bulb wrappers and carry viruses, such as the Iris Yellow Spot mentioned earlier. Oh – and if you live in a warm place, you can have 10 generations of these buggers in your field in one season alone!

Soil & Other Issues

Punky Bulb: Seriously, Dude, this is a real thing. It is caused by a manganese toxicity due to a low pH. Cloves are loose and discolored.

Waxy Breakdown: The cloves turn translucent and rot. It can happen when the temperatures are hot during harvest (sun-baked?).

Nutrient Imbalances: Lack of nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium can all appear like everything else – yellow tips of leaves, often affecting the oldest ones first (calcium deficiency often appears as spots). Leaves die back. In nutrient overloads, for example, too much nitrogen, you might see excessive side shoots. Test your soil. The best preventative approach is to build the soil in a balanced way through compost applying boxes of this and that can really throw things off.


I don’t pretend to be an expert here. By all means, if you suspect something wrong with your garlic, look for additional resources, talk to experts, consider having your garlic, soil, or whatever you can catch tested. In my next post, I will talk about management strategies and prevention. In the meantime, here are a few good sources of information.

Some Resources:

Anderson, Bob. “Gourmet Garlic Gardens” (website for all things garlic).

ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Updated 2008. “Garlic: Organic Production.” 28 p.

Cornell University Dept. of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology: Diseases of Garlic

Engeland, Ron L. 1991. “Growing Great Garlic. The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers.” Filaree Productions, Okanogan, WA.

Oregon State University Extension. “An Online Guide to Plant Disease Control.”

Oregon State University, Washington State University, University of Idaho. “Pacific Northwest Plant Disease Handbook,” a Pacific Northwest Extension publication.

University of Minnesota/Extension. “Growing Garlic in Minnesota.”

Disclaimer: Each of these resources contains valuable information some present info on chemical controls, which is not something I myself use, but I do find it useful to know what might be applied on crops where chemical warfare is supported.

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Preparing Your Container

Fill your container with either of these:

  • Loose potting soil amended with some 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer, according to the instructions on the package.
  • Garden soil, filtered with wire mesh or a sieve to remove clumps and pebbles, and amended 50-50 with well-rotted manure or compost.

A. sativum likes loose, well-draining, rich, and loamy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.

Check your garden soil with a soil test to find out if it has the right pH for your cloves.

And make sure you don&rsquot use soil that&rsquos recently been planted with other Alliums. This will help prevent pests and fungi that are attracted to Alliums from thriving near your newly planted cloves. Some of the fungi can live in the soil even after the previous Allium plants are long gone.

Largest construction vehicle

The Terex RH400 is caterpillar track vehicle that is apparently a bigger than our two axle beasts we saw before, you can see it filling a 797B:

You can have a look at its specifications by yourself, but here is a little summary:

  • height: 10.17 m
  • width: 8.6m and that’s the tracks, the body is even larger
  • shovel can reach 20.2 m up

Garlic juice is made by pressing, juicing or blending garlic cloves, which come from the plant bearing the scientific name Allium sativum. Closely related to onions, garlic has been used for thousands of years around the globe due to its powerful effects on human health. While drinking the pure juice of garlic may not sound palatable to many people, the health benefits associated with this unique beverage are undeniable.

Balanced between its use as a flavorful ingredient and as an element of traditional medicine, many people rely on garlic juice for its anti- inflammatory , anti- carcinogenic , antibacterial , anti-fungal and antioxidant effects. Garlic juice is a rich source of allicin, the active ingredient in garlic. It also has abundant vitamins such as B vitamins, vitamin C, as well as minerals like manganese, phosphorus, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Additionally, it also contains sulfuric compounds and other volatile acids. [1]

Garlic juice can be applied topically to the skin. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Growing and eating wild garlic

Very few of the really shade-tolerant vegetables are as productive, versatile and useful as wild garlic (Allium ursinum), also known as bear garlic, ramps or ramson. When I was young, on a family holiday in Wales, I discovered a wood carpeted with ramsons. Overwhelmed by such exuberant bounty, I stuffed my pockets with leaves. In the car on the way home my parents noticed a certain odour taking over the space and after a quick search my foragings were evicted. I suppose it could have been worse, it could have been me. Nowadays I have my own tame patch of wild garlic in my allotment and I can harvest it when I like.

As with many perennial crops, there is a useful synergy between wild garlic and the cultivated kind (Allium sativum). It starts to be ready just as stored bulbs are usually running out, some time in February or March, and runs through until about June. Wild garlic can be used pretty much anywhere you want a garlicky flavour, with the caveat that the flavour doesn’t survive cooking for long, so you generally need to add it to cooked dishes near the end. Ramson pesto packs quite a punch. I like to chop leaves into salads: whole leaves are a bit strong to eat in bulk but chopped roughly and mixed with other leaves they are delicious. Layering a few leaves into a sandwich works well too. For some seriously local food, you can try using it to supply the garlic flavour in broad bean hummus.

However, if its garlic flavour were the only thing that wild garlic had going for it, it would be best regarded as a herb and grown in a small patch in a shady corner. What makes it useful as a bulk vegetable is the very fact that it loses its garlic flavour when cooked for more than a few minutes, leaving a very tasty, oniony green. As such I use it anywhere where I would use onion, particularly as the base of a sauce, be it pasta, curry, stew or soup. You can also substitute it for spinach for delicious variations on dishes such as lasagne. It makes an excellent pot herb, either on its own or mixed with other leaves that are available at the time, such as annual and perennial kales or leaf beet. One thing to be careful with is that wild garlic quickly develops a rather unpleasant burnt-onion taste if allowed to dry out while cooking, so you need to take care to keep it moist. In our household we love wild garlic on pizza but we always layer it at the bottom so that the other ingredients protect it.

Almost all parts of wild garlic are usable, including the leaves, stems and flowers. The flowers look amazing in a salad. The bulbs are also usable once the leaves have died down, but they are not as good as the bulbs of cultivated garlic and they don’t store very well once lifted. And of course, if you eat all the bulbs then you don’t get the other parts. That said, if you have a good supply of them you might want to try the recipe for pickled wild garlic bulbs that can be found – with many others – on the excellent Eat Weeds blog.

You can harvest wild garlic simply by pulling off individual leaves or, for less garlicky hands and to speed things up, you can cut a clump at a time with scissors. I generally put my wild garlic leaves in a bowl of cold water for five minutes as soon as I get home, to preserve and wash them. They’ll then keep for at least a week in the fridge. Another way of harvesting that gives a slightly different product is to dig up a clump and then prepare the individual plants by cutting off the roots and removing the sheath of the bulb. The whole thing then hangs together in a sort of ‘spring onion’ version of wild garlic. Fried in plenty of oil and dipped in a sauce these are gourmet food indeed.

wild garlic clump, separated

Ramsons are an easy plant to grow, flourishing in the parts of the garden that most other plants avoid. They are a plant of deep woodland, so they like plenty of shade and a moist, humus-rich soil. Once you have got them established they will generally self-seed (to the point of nuisance if they weren’t so edible). Their habit of dying down in the summer makes them easy to manage as you can choose this time to top-dress them, mulch them or hoe over the top of the bulbs. They can even be used in a strip as a bit of a barrier against the spread of other plants. During the spring they suppress other plants by the strength of their growth and during the summer you can hoe the strip. Ramsons are capable of growing through quite a thick mulch: their leaves form green spikes that punch up through mulch before unfurling. Alternatively the dormant period is long enough that you could fit in another crop or a green manure, or interplant wild garlic with another perennial that makes use of the later part of the year.

wild garlic – just emerging

Wild garlic will tolerate growing in the open, but as soon as there is hot sun its leaves will burn off and it will retreat to its bulb. It is worth growing some wild garlic in the deepest shade you can find, in which case it will persist until midsummer. Wild garlic can be raised from seed or, more easily, grown from bulbs. The bulbs do not store like those of cultivated garlic, they dry out and die quite quickly if they are not stored moist. They transplant very well ‘in the green’ (while the bulbs are growing), which also avoids the problem of forgetting where you have planted the bulbs! If you are in Scotland, don’t forget that it is legal to pick leaves, flowers and seeds for your own use without the owner’s permission but not to uproot a plant (e.g. by transplanting bulbs) or to harvest commercially. If you want to do either of these you will have to ask the owner.

One word of warning, whether you are foraging wild garlic or growing it. While wild garlic is entirely edible, it can be growing in with leaves of plants that are quite poisonous, as most of the spring bulbs are. It is hard to mistake wild garlic for anything else when you look closely – the combination of the broad, soft leaf and the garlic smell is unique – but if you are picking lots of leaves you might become a little careless. In the photo below you’ll see a patch of poisonous snowdrops growing in about the wild garlic, so if you are foraging, take care, and if you are growing I would recommend removing any snowdrops, bluebells or other spring bulbs from the same bed. Photo: Monimail Tower woodlands from Scottish Wild Harvests Association’s Forage In Fife. Further reading: Forest Gardening Real Spring Onions.

In North America, the name ramps has transferred itself to a similar-looking plant, Allium tricoccum, also known as wild leek. It’s a fascinating piece of convergent evolution. The two species are actually rather distantly related within the Allium genus, but by adapting to the same woodland niche they have come to be very similar in both looks and behaviour. Both are spring ephemerals, coming up and dying down early to make the most of the spring sunlight before the trees leaf up. Both carpet the ground and have broad, delicate leaves, adapted to capturing as much light as possible and dropping the usual allium adaptations to drought and strong sunshine. Despite this there are differences reflecting their divergent ancestry. The North American ramps has shallower bulbs than the Eurasian and the whole plant is more commonly used rather than just the leaves. The leaves and bulbs become tough and inedible and start to die down once the plant starts flowering, unlike A. ursinum, in which leaves and flowers occur together.

How does a garlic clove thrive inside a closed refrigerator? - Biology

Hi there, looks great. Thanks for sharing. I made my first garlic honey ferment in December 2019. It is delicious. Wondering if I can add fresh cloves and continue the fermentation, or should I start a new jar.

Hi Pam- glad to hear your honey ferment was successful! I would not advise re-using the honey. You can add it to vinaigrettes, drizzle on grilled proteins, etc. For an optimal ferment, it is always best to start with fresh ingredients to avoid any cross-contamination.

I use ph strips to test my 3 day old garlic honey and it didn’t change the color of the strips which mean my ph is about a 6. Should I be worried or is it really to early to test it. Also what what strips you use and/ ph meter would you suggest.

Hi Jason- thanks for your interest and question. At 3 days, it is still too early in the fermentation period for the pH to lower below 6. This is a long ferment and can vary depending on the quality of honey, freshness and water content of the garlic. I would start testing at around 4 weeks.

Hi, I was wanting to know if you make this if you have to have it tested and approved before selling it? Thanks

Hi Kevin- No, I have not had the fermented honey garlic tested as I make it for personal use and do not sell it.

One of my jars of honey-garlic smells alcoholic. What caused this? Is it still good? Also, what happens if the garlic isn’t fully submerged? Thank you!

Hi Eryn- thanks for your interest and question. Alcohol is a byproduct of fermenting honey. The longer you leave the ferment, the more alcohol is produced. I mostly experience this when fermenting cranberries in honey, but it can sometimes occur in garlic ferments. The amount is very minimal, so you don’t have to worry about consuming it, but it can affect the flavour. Try to keep the garlic submerged or at least coated in the honey for an optimal ferment.

Hi there, beautiful recipe! I saw you mentioned fermenting cranberries in the above comment and I had a quick question to that extent. I’ve been fermenting raw cranberries, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon in honey and I thought I popped the cranberries enough before the ferment but they seem to have refilled with air and I poured them all in a bowl and most are popping and when I ate one they tasted like alcohol a few weeks ago. Just the berries that hadn’t popped. Are they still safe to eat now that I popped them, or do you think all or do you think there is a risk of botulism or something else? Nothing smells bad, they were just like little balloons. Thank you!

Hi Sarah- thanks for your interest and question. Your spice combination with the cranberries sounds delicious! I usually add cinnamon, star anise and cloves to my ferment. FYI, there is also an article on our site about fermenting cranberries in honey. I usually add cinnamon, star anise and cloves to my ferment.

Even if you poke them, cranberries take a while to deflate in a honey ferment because their skins are so tough. It is also normal for them to taste like alcohol because a small amount of alcohol is produced by the yeasts in the ferment as a byproduct of fermentation. They should be fine. I cannot say conclusively that there is no botulism in your ferment, but it is not very common, and I have been fermenting cranberries and honey for years without issue. You mentioned that they have been fermenting for a few weeks? You could stop after a few weeks, but for optimal flavour and low pH, I like to leave mine for about a month.

I would like to ferment purple onion in honey. Please advise me on this.

Thank you and many blessings for your goodness in teaching

Hi Fran- I don’t have a recipe for onions, but you can follow the same guidelines as with the garlic. The onions release more liquid than the garlic and might give off a strong odour due to the sulphur compounds in the onions.

hi Jody,
my batch is 6 weeks old and the fermentation during the first few weeks was active, now a bit slower (seems normal). Still ph is around 5 (strips do not provide more exact reading). Should I be concerned about botulism? thank you

The strips can be hard to read (comparing the shading in colours). I suggest you try another reading.

If the pH still reads above 5 you can add apple cider vinegar to it to help lower the pH. However, please bear in mind that a pH above 4.6 does not absolutely mean botulism is present- botulism does not always occur in raw honey- making sure the pH is below 4.6 is just a safeguard in the low chance that it is in the honey.

When you started the ferment, did you use raw honey and fresh, organic garlic? Did the ferment bubble or foam (did you see activity that fermentation was occurring?)

If you are very uncomfortable, then toss the batch, it will defeat your enjoyment of this delicious ferment- your stress is not worth it!

Hi Jody
Hope you can help, my fermented garlic and honey is 2.5 months old and I’ve tested the PH and it’s 4.8. I used a Tropical Honey by RAW it’s quite dense and dark as a starting point but it’s lovely honey so tried it. There were a few bubbles the first few days but it certainly didn’t foam up. I’m so disappointed can I save this? I would hate to throw it out. Would raw apple cider vinegar help to lower the PH or am I just throwing good after bad?

you can add some apple cider vinegar if you are concerned. the ferment doesn’t always foam up, it depends on the population of microbes in the honey. Did you use fresh garlic? It is possible that the garlic did not release enough liquid into the honey to start the ferment.

Started mine a week ago, and the garlic keeps floating up! I’ve turned the jar upside down a few times, hoping it would help. Will they eventually sink?

Hi Maria- yes, the garlic will eventually sink. Some garlic can take longer to sink depending on how fresh it is. Keep inverting the jar until the garlic is submerged in the honey.

I saw a story about fermented garlic honey in my news feed this morning, and was intrigued. Doing further research, I stumbled onto this page, which has the most advice I’ve seen so far.

From other ferments we have done (pickles, salsas, sourdough, etc.) I understand the importance of using raw honey. Is there a difference between using filtered vs unfiltered honey?

We also use EZ Fermenter lids and weights, but I have not decided if I want to do a pint or a quart (we grow lots of garlic, so I am not worried about not having enough). With different sized jars, should the head space be adjusted, or is a half inch a rule of thumb that can be used regardless of jar size?

Hi Eric- you don’t need to fill the container with garlic and honey. The key is to keep the garlic completely covered in honey. Eventually, the garlic will fully submerge under the honey once it has released its juices and absorbed the honey. If you do want a fuller jar, an inch of headspace is recommended to avoid spillover from excess CO2 build up. It makes no difference if you use filtered or unfiltered, as long as it is unpasteurized.

I?m not sure what I am doing right but I?m still alive after making 6 quarts over 3 years? I do find it odd that many people are using whole garlic cloves. This is what I do.
MAKING IT: I start by mixing about 4 parts garlic, 1 part ginger and 1-2 parts onion (little different every batch) in a food processor and mince it adding a probiotic capsule or 2 while its mixing. I then toss it in a 1-quart mason jar close to ? full and top it off with raw honey slightly warmed by submerging the container in hot water. I fill it close to the top and let it settle, then I fill it again and keep doing this until the honey fills the jar completely and covers the mixture leaving ? to 1 inch head space.
STORING IT: Place a mason lid on lightly, place it in a dark cupboard stirring it 3-4 times in the first month and then about once a month after that. I don?t bother flipping the jar because once the honey is on the garlic that?s where it stays. It usually starts to get tasty after about 6 months in the cupboard and I have had batches last over a year. I try to make 2 quarts every 6 months so I never run out.
USING IT: I spread it on toast, use it instead of relish on burgers, add it to guacamole, add it to every salad I make, smear it on egg omelets/frittatas, and add it to my stir fried veggies or steaks after cooking once it?s on your plate as too much heat will kill the good bacteria. Next batch I am tossing in some minced jalapenos because it sounds awesome.
I have never seen mold or had botulism. Lol
Happy Fermenting

Modify as Necessary

Although there are many more natural pesticides available, such as Bt (a soil microbe toxic to certain insects), milky spore (also a microbe), nicotine (extracted as a tea from bulk tobacco), pyrethrum (derived from a variety of daisy), and iron phosphate (a natural mineral toxic to slugs and snails), the above natural and homemade insecticide recipes should give you a good starting point for creating your own version. Every organic gardener seems to have their own particular blend and ratio of ingredients, so by paying close attention to the effects of a specific recipe, it's possible to modify it to best suit your own insect battles.

Just remember, killing off all of the insects in your garden is not the desired result here, as any healthy ecosystem requires an abundance of beneficial insects, microbes, and fungi, both in the soil and on the plants themselves, so introducing other predatory insects (ladybugs, praying mantis, etc.) or creating good habitat for them, as well as building soil fertility, can also be an effective pest management approach.