Garlic is life.
So I believe, anyway – the flavor of garlic is a welcome addition to virtually any savory (and even the occasional sweet) recipe and I literally have a love for garlic hard-coded in my DNA. Given the insipid, stale and hospice-bound garlic in most supermarkets, it’s a wonder people have any true appreciation for the “Stinking Rose” (as it’s called by many). I am fortunate to live an hour away from Gilroy, CA – the garlic growing capital of the United States, but even for me, it is hard to get truly fresh garlic that goes beyond the standard version sold in virtually every market.
Did you know that there are more than *600* different varieties of garlic – the grand total of *one* is what we get in most stores because it happens to be the variety that stores the best. Curious to learn more about the many varieties of garlic you are missing? Try this comprehensive list here of varietals from all over the world!
As it happens, the mighty country of Georgia is the garlic capital of the planet, with more than 150 known varieties of garlic supposedly found in this small country. That’s nearly 1/3 of all the known species on Earth! Georgians know their garlic, and so do I – for the record, two of my favorite varieties of garlic for the recipe I am about to share are Chesnok Red or Metechi (both Georgian, of course!).
In Georgia, they pickle the bumper crop of garlic they harvest every year in a unique brine made from pomegranate juice, vinegar, hot pepper and black pepper. These happen to be some of the healthiest superfoods you can eat – and when it’s garlic-flavored from the freshest produce available, it’s as good for you (and delicious) as it comes! 🙂
My version of Mzhave Niori (Pickled Garlic) adds in a touch of coriander seed and a bit of fresh basil, as I like the flavor they add and they are classically used in Georgian cuisine. The use of the cabbage leaves to keep the garlic submerged is my personal trick – use it well and enjoy the pickled cabbage that results! Leave my extra ingredients out and you have the classic Georgian recipe – and either way, it is delicious, Citizens! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo