In the old days, people use only vinegar to pickle garlic. Later on, people add sugar to make it sweet and sour for a better taste. It is named after the special holiday LaBa festival, which means “December 8th” according to Chinese calendar. The traditional custom of the festival is to make LaBa Garlic and having LaBa Congee. Pickled sweet sour green garlic is perfect to pair with dumplings, noodle soup, or hotpot. It is a must have with dumplings on Chinese New Year. LaBa Vinegar is the vinegar after the LaBa Garlic is pickled. It’s also a tradition to have it with dumplings on Chinese New Year.
Why is LaBa Garlic green?
When garlic meets vinegar, the acid in the vinegar breaks down the cells of the garlic, and releases sulfer compounds allicin. Allicin reacts with amino acids, which is also in the garlic. The result produces rings of carbon-nitrogen called pyrroles. Four pyrroles linked together creates colour green, this is why garlic turns green when it’s pickled.
What is LaBa Garlic taste like?
Traditionally, it tastes sour, juicy, crispy, and a little bit spicy. It adds the freshness to the main dishes. This recipe is a modern way that the added sugar balances the sourness. The sweet sour pickled garlics taste much better this way.
What is the benefit of LaBa Garlic?
Garlic can fight with diseases, detox, and boost immune system. It can also reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and may reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower the risk of cancer.
Vinegar can lower blood sugar, reduces cholesterol, and anti-microbial.
The combination of both makes it unique. It is not only tasty and in stunning looking, but also adds great health benefits to diet. It’s good to have with salad, soups, or sandwiches.
I learned how to make this back in grade one, and it was a homework from science class right before LaBa festival. Every time when I make this recipe, it always brings me back to the old times. In other words, the first time when I observed the magic that happened in 3 days. I think that is one of the reasons I am so curious about the science.
If you have kids at home, this is a perfect science experiment to try. I would strongly recommend this experimentation!
Prep Time: 2 hrs
Cooking Time: 2 – 3 days
Total Time: 3 days
Serving: 7 – 8
White purple garlic: 5 – 6 head
White vinegar: 3/4 cup
Brown(rice) vinegar: 3/4 cup
White sugar: 2 tbsp
Small clear glass bottle/jar: 2
1. Peel 5 or 6 heads garlics, then cut the bottom ends and damages off the garlic cloves if there is any.
2. Fill garlic cloves into each bottle/jar till they are full.
3. Put 1 table spoon sugar into each bottle/jar.
4. Pour each type vinegar into the bottle/jar till full, meanwhile, make sure all garlic cloves are covered.
5. Cap tight, and place the bottle/jar by the window in a cool place for 2 – 3 days.
Relax, chill, and watch the magic happen! Enjoy!
- Make sure to use clear glass bottle/jar. If you don’t have any, use a clear glass container. That is to say, no plastic is preferred for health reasons.
- To fill a fuller bottle/jar of garlic cloves, sway the bottle 3 – 4 time during filling. The small garlic cloves would naturally find its way to fit in with the bigger garlic cloves. This is to minimize the space and maximize the quantity, in order to reduce possible air in the bottle/jar.
- The amount of vinegar use is based on the size of the bottle/jar. If the bottle/jar is bigger, more vinegar may needed. The key is the vinegar must cover over all garlic cloves.
- The ratio of sugar and vinegar is 1:5. If more vinegar is needed, make sure to add extra sugar for taste.
- Cap the bottle/jar as tight as possible. Slowly sway the bottle/jar a bit to help all sugar dissolves in vinegar. In other words, DO NOT SHAKE the bottle/jar.
- Remember this is a winter food, make sure to place the bottle/jar in a cool area.
- It is also perfect to pair with Pan Fried Dumplings or Wonton Soup.
Why the LaBa Garlic does not turn green completely?
Recently, I got asked for why the garlic does not turn green completely by some followers. They have tried to pickle the garlic for over 20 days, but does not turn completed green. The garlic stays white greenish. Where went wrong?
If the garlic does not turn green completely, there might be 3 reasons:
- The garlic is not fresh enough. The garlic needs to be fresh, the fresh garlic contains more active Allicin, which will react with the acid to make the colour becomes green. If the garlic is sitting on the counter top for over 2 weeks, it probably not the best ingredients to use. The above picture is 2 weeks old garlic, and I have pickled over one week. It does not look as expected, but still tasty.
- The garlic is not freshly peeled. If the garlic was peeled and exposed under the sun for certain time, the result will not turn as well as expected. Try not to use pre-peeled garlic cloves.
- Temperature is not low enough. This is a winter food, make sure to place it at a cool/cold place. The low temperature will active Allicin, to make the garlic greener.
Is there a way to fix the half green and half white garlic?
Try to cut the garlic in half, or smaller pieces. When more surface touches the vinegar acid, the more chances that the garlic will turn green. And be more patient, a little bit longer time helps as well.
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LaBa Garlic Pickled Green Garlic in White and Brown VinegarPrint Recipe
- 5 – 6 head white purple garlic
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 3/4 cup brown(rice) vinegar
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 2 small clear glass bottle/jar
- Peel 5 or 6 heads garlics, then cut the bottom ends and damages off the garlic cloves if there is any.
- Fill garlic cloves into each bottle/jar till they are full.
- Put 1 table spoon sugar into each bottle/jar.
- Pour each type vinegar into the bottle/jar till full, meanwhile, make sure all garlic cloves are covered.
- Cap tight, and place the bottle/jar by the window in a cool place for 2 – 3 days.