fermented garlic

What Color Should Fermented Garlic Have?


My name is Dalton and my fiancé and I have started our journey into the world of fermentation! That being said we started with the simple garlic honey ferment but I’m getting worried about the look the garlic seems to be taking on.

I’ve had some of the honey and I tried a garlic clove about 6 days ago and both were very good. But the farther along it gets the more the color is turning grey/dark and to me it looks strange. Is this ok to eat or does it mean the garlic is going rotten and we should start again?!

Thanks for any advice you can offer!


Hey Dalton,

Nice to hear from you—welcome to the fermentation journey. It is a good one. 

The color of the garlic will continue to get darker over time and that is perfectly normal. Go ahead and eat and enjoy your honey and your garlic. 



Is Brown Fermented Garlic Paste Normal?

Garlic Paste

Garlic Paste

Hi Christopher and Kirsten,

I am loving trying all the different ferments from your book, and mostly have had success!  This year I had a bumper crop of garlic, and a lot of patience.  I Followed the directions for garlic paste.  It has been sitting now for 2 weeks, and is starting to turn a brown color.  When I took the bag and plastic out, I scooped some out.  It smells like garlic!  I am worried about the brown.  Is this normal?  Also on related garlic, is it supposed to kind of turn translucent?  I don't worry so much about the liquid ones, I know they are under the brine, and are fine : ).


Hi Candace,

We love that you are enjoying our book. Your garlic paste looks perfect! (Which is good news given that looks like a 1/2 gallon jar—I know how much work went into that?) You can add it to your success list. 

The browning is the sugars caramelizing and is exactly the color it should be. 

As far as the translucent — do you mean the ones up high on the side of the jar — those looks discolored. I would always wipe off the lonely stuff on the sides but everything looks pretty perfect to me. 

The main thing you will want to do is store in smaller containers with little airspace.

Hope that helps,


Gelantinous, thick, milky, fermented garlic brine

Strangely enough both of these letters came within a day of each other sharing the same question regarding a thick fermented garlic brine.

While they look all wrong both these ferments are fine. It happens sometimes with garlic. We don't know the reason behind it but these ferments. It is not mold and we haven't found that it happens from a process error. More likely it has something to do with the variety of garlic. I have done a lot of variety testing and found some varieties do this while others do not. While this brine unsightly, are perfectly safe and taste good as well.


garlic ferment3.jpg


What a helpful resource your site as been!  Thank you for offering to give us individualized advice. 

I’ve had a garlic ferment in my cabinet for about 2 weeks.  I’ve checked it every other day.  The garlic is completely submerged below 3 clean rocks.  I’ve checked the ferment every other day, letting out the air.  Today when I checked I noticed this milky white stuff floating at the top ¼ of the jar, more around the rocks, less the garlic.  I’m attaching 3 pictures and my attempts to draw lines to what your eyes should focus on. 

Is this the start of mold growing? Or is it something else?  The ferment has appeared healthy to date, a lot of bubbling every day, and a few cloves have started to turn blue. 

Thank you,


Thick brined garlic ferment.jpg

Hi Kirsten,

I started a batch of fermented garlic and it just hit the 4 week mark. It had been doing great and was bubbling lots, but a few days ago (maybe a week) I noticed that the bubbling had mostly stopped and the brine turned kind of gelatinous. You can see small solid chunks throughout the brine. The smell and color still seem fine, there’s no mold, and I think it’s ok, but am unsure since this is my first long-term brine. Is this safe to eat?


We've consolidated the answers to both of these into the text above.



Fermented Garlic Brine is Blue-Green

blue green fermented garlic

Hi Kirsten,

Thank you so much for your kind invitation to send in fermenting issues.

I am an eager newbie to the world of fermenting. Garlic has been my first foray into this world. Please see attached an image of my attempt.

I'm concerned about the colour the brine has turned.  It is decidedly green and there is a strong garlic smell emanating from the closed jar. Is this to be expected? I understood the cloves themselves may turn green or blue during the process but not the liquid?

I'd be grateful to know what has happened and what I can do to get a good jar of ferment. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Kind Regards,



Hi Carol,

Ah yes, the blue-green hue. You are right it is a little different seeing it in the brine. My guess is that the brine is thick with the garlic sugars. The whole cloves we make can have a very thick brine and that the blue-green is actually on the garlic that is now in the brine. Sometimes when they sit in the fridge for awhile the blue will work itself through.

This ferment looks okay to me but you be the judge (and trust your gut). If it smells strong like garlic, that is normal, if it smells strong like bad, compost, or whatever, then I would say it is bad. It should also smell a bit pickle-y.

It doesn’t always happen so don’t be discouraged and again I think they are fine, when you are ready to taste them, you will know. Pickle-y acidic garlicky is good, any thing else is not.



Fermented Garlic Turned Blue

Fermented garlic turned blue

Hi there!  
Firstly, I want to say that I love this book!  I have been fermenting every vegetable I can get! Force-feeding everyone around me, too. :)

I have a question about garlic. I started the jar a week ago, and it has been bubbling away. For the last day I notice some of the cloves (I put in whole cloves) are turning a strange blue or green color. I'm totally paranoid because of all the press about Chinese garlic!  Is turning colors a sign that it's tainted? Is it normal??  
Thanks again for writing the amazing book!  I'm so happy to have learned something new!



Hey Sarah,

Anyone force-feeding fermented veggies to the ones they love has our heart. :)

I think every fermentista remembers their first blue garlic.  The good news is that our research and experience is that its harmless. If you turn to page 182 in the book you will see the little Fermentista’s Tip on it. The timing of your message is great because Kirsten has a batch of fiery ferments going for the new cookbook and one of them did the blue-green thing on us. We also fermented about 30 lbs of garlic with a farmer friend a week or more ago and all of those are beautiful little creamy orbs like they are supposed to be.

So its okay, it will taste fine and be a conversation starter for sure. Lastly, we have noticed over time in the fridge many times (though not always) this blue fades.

Let us know how all of your creations turn out Sarah and if you have any more questions.

Christopher & Kirsten