Garlic is a delicious and healthy addition to any dish, but sometimes it can be difficult to use all of it before it goes bad. You can preserve garlic to make it last longer.
Preserving garlic is easy and has a lot of benefits. It saves money because you can buy garlic in bulk at reduced cost. You’ll also waste less garlic if you preserve it since it won’t go bad before you have a chance to use it. It’s also more convenient because you don’t have to peel garlic every time you want to use it.
Properly preserved garlic lasts a long time, so you don’t have to worry about it going bad. Plus, it’s easy to do and doesn’t take much time. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to save money and make your life more convenient, preserving garlic is a great option.
When it comes to preserving garlic, there are a few different methods you can use. You can freeze it, dry it, or pickle it.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the various methods, including the benefits and drawbacks of the various methods. I’ll also share some reasons why it’s not a good idea to preserve garlic in oil, even though that’s a popular method of preserving garlic.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to preserve garlic so you can enjoy its flavor for longer.
Health Benefits of Garlic
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Before I get into how to preserve garlic, let’s first talk about the health benefits of garlic.
Garlic has long been prized for its culinary and health benefits. Allicin, a compound in garlic, is thought to play a role in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Additionally, garlic is a natural antibiotic and can help to fight against bacterial infections.
Garlic is also high in antioxidants, which can play a role in preventing cell damage. Some studies have even suggested that garlic may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Since bogus health claims abound, and since there’s conflicting information regarding some of these claims, take them with a grain of salt. However, there is no doubt that garlic is a nutrient-rich food that offers many potential health benefits. As such, it should be included as part of a healthy diet.
Selecting the Best Garlic for Preserving
When it comes to preserving garlic, the adage “you get out what you put in” applies. To produce high-quality preserved garlic, it’s important to start with bulbs that are fresh and in good condition. There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the best possible quality.
First, look at the bulbs and make sure they’re clean and firm, with no signs of mold or sprouting.
Second, check that the skin is unbroken.
Finally, pick up a few bulbs and see how heavy they are for their size; this is an indication of freshness.
By following these simple tips, you can be sure you’re selecting the best garlic available.
Storing Garlic at Room Temperature
Most of the tips in this article have to do with storing garlic in the refrigerator or freezer. But what if you want to store garlic that you’ve harvested from the garden or bought at the grocery store without any special preparation?
Here’s how to store garlic at room temperature. Note that this is for unpeeled garlic.
One way to make garlic last longer when storing at room temperature is to keep it in a dark and dry place. Garlic likes cool temperatures, so the pantry or a cupboard away from the stove would be ideal.
Be sure to keep it away from any other fruits or vegetables, as garlic gives off ethylene gas which can speed up the aging process.
You can store garlic in a mesh bag or a perforated container to allow for air circulation. If you notice any sprouts beginning to form, simply cut them off.
Finally, check on your garlic every few weeks to make sure there is no mold developing.
If you follow these steps, you can store soft neck garlic for one to two months, and hard neck garlic for up to six months.
Preparing Garlic for Preserving
Rather than just sticking bulbs of garlic in the fridge, freezer, or pickling solution, there are a few steps to take to prepare the garlic for preserving.
To Preserve Garlic, First Peel the Garlic
One of the first steps to take before preserving garlic is to peel it.
Peeling garlic can be a tedious task, but there are a few tricks that can make the process a bit easier. First, try using a sharp knife to remove the skin. A dull knife is more likely to crush the cloves, making them harder to peel.
Second, you can place the cloves in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them sit for a minute or two, then drain the water and use a fork or your fingers to remove the skins.
Third, you can use a garlic peeler. A garlic peeler is a small tube made of silicone or rubber that you can use to quickly remove the skin from garlic cloves. Simply insert a clove into the peeler and roll it back and forth on a hard surface. The skin will come off in seconds. I picked up the garlic peeler pictured above on Amazon.
Another option is to place the cloves in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 15-20 seconds. This will loosen the skins so that they can be easily removed.
Finally, here’s another simple kitchen hack that can make the process much easier. All you need is a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. First, remove any loose skin from the garlic cloves. Then, add the cloves to the jar and screw on the lid. Give the jar a good shake, and then allow the cloves to sit for about 30 seconds. After that, simply open the jar and remove the cloves.
The skin should now be easy to slip off. This method works best with small to medium-sized cloves of garlic. If you’re working with larger cloves, you may need to give them an additional shake or two.
With these handy tricks, you’ll be able to peel garlic in no time at all.
Once your cloves are all peeled, give them a quick rinse to remove any papers or dirt and set aside.
Now let’s get into the tips for how to preserve garlic.
Storing Garlic in the Refrigerator
To prolong the shelf life of your garlic, it is best to store it in the refrigerator. But before you do, there are a few things you should know. First, do not store garlic in its entirety. Separate the cloves and remove the skin.
Once the cloves are exposed, they will start to dry out. So, it is important to wrap them in a damp paper towel or place them in a ventilated container. This will help to keep them fresh for longer.
You can also pickle garlic and store it in the fridge. I’ll cover that option in more detail later in this article.
Preserve Garlic by Freezing
You can freeze both whole cloves of garlic, and minced garlic.
First, we’ll get into how to freeze whole cloves of garlic.
Freezing Whole Cloves of Garlic
Whole cloves of garlic can be stored in the freezer, but there are a few things you need to do first. Start by peeling the garlic cloves. You can then place them in a freezer-safe container, making sure to leave enough space between each clove.
Once the cloves are frozen, you can then transfer them to a freezer bag. Be sure to label the bag with the date so you know how long they have been in the freezer.
When you’re ready to use the garlic, simply remove the desired number of cloves from the bag and allow them to thaw at room temperature. The garlic will be good for several months when stored in this way.
Note: even though I mentioned peeling, peeling is optional. But I find it harder to use garlic that has been frozen but not peeled, so unless you just don’t have time, it’s best to peel the garlic before freezing.
It’s also important to note that frozen garlic becomes soft when thawed. This shouldn’t be a problem since you’ll likely cook or blend the garlic that you’ve frozen before using it.
How to Freeze Minced Garlic
Now let’s get into how to freeze minced garlic.
To freeze minced garlic, start by peeling and mincing or pureeing the garlic cloves. Then, add the garlic to a small ice cube tray or silicone mold. Next, add a small amount of olive oil to each compartment, just enough to coat the garlic.
Freeze the tray for several hours, or until the garlic is solidified. Once frozen, transfer the garlic cubes to a freezer bag or container.
Label the bag with the date and contents, and store in the freezer for up to six months. When you are ready to use the garlic, simply remove one or two cubes from the freezer and thaw in a bowl of warm water. Use as you would fresh garlic in any recipe.
If you don’t have or don’t want to use ice cube trays, pulse the garlic in a food processor. If desired, you can add a small amount of oil to the pulsed garlic. The amount of oil isn’t crucial, so no need to measure. But I like putting just enough to help it blend a little better. Also, the oil comes in handy when you’re ready to use the frozen garlic. I’ll explain that in a minute.
Next, spread the minced garlic about ½” thick on a cookie sheet. Use a knife or bench knife to score the garlic into small squares. Pop the cookie sheet into the freezer.
Once frozen, break the frozen garlic into small enough pieces to fit into a zippered bag or storage container.
When it’s time to use the garlic, break off as many squares as you need. This is where having used oil helps. If you’ve added oil to the pulsed garlic before freezing, it tends to break apart easier.
In fact, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of scoring and freezing the garlic on a tray, you can put the garlic that’s been mixed with oil directly into a freezer bag or container, and just break off the amount you need when you want to cook with it.
Another easy method of freezing minced garlic is to use more olive oil. If you use two parts olive oil to one part garlic paste, you can store your garlic in a jar in the freezer and just scoop out what you need. It’s easy to scoop out because the large amount of oil keeps it from freezing solid.
Preserve Garlic by Dehydrating
Now let’s get into how to dehydrate garlic. I have a whole article on dehydrating garlic, which you can read here: How to Dehydrate Garlic and Make Garlic Powder.
Dehydrating garlic is a great way to preserve it for long-term storage. The process is simple and only requires a few hours of your time.
Here’s the short version of how to dehydrate garlic.
First, Peel the cloves and slice them thinly. Next, spread the garlic slices out on a dehydrator tray and set the dehydrator to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check on the garlic after a few hours to see how it is progressing. Once the garlic is dry and crisp, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Dehydrated garlic can be used in any recipe that calls for fresh garlic, and it will last for several months.
Dehydrating Garlic in an Oven
If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can dehydrate garlic in an oven.
Dehydrating garlic in an oven is a simple process that can be done with just a few household items. First, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, peel the garlic cloves and slice them into thin pieces. Spread the garlic slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure that they are not touching each other.
Bake for two to four hours, or until the garlic is dried and crispy. Store dehydrated garlic in an airtight container and use as needed.
Preserving Garlic in Oil
If you love garlic, you may be tempted to store it in oil to keep it fresh for longer. In fact, this is a very popular way of preserving garlic.
However, storing garlic in oil is risky. First, garlic is a highly acidic food, and when stored in oil it can encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. Additionally, garlic stored in oil is at a higher risk of going rancid. Rancid oil can cause nausea and vomiting, and in extreme cases it can even lead to food poisoning.
Here’s what the National Center for Home Food Preservation says about storing garlic in oil:
Research performed by the National Center for Home Food Preservation confirmed that mixtures of garlic in oil stored at room temperature are at risk for the development of botulism.
Garlic-in-oil should be made fresh and stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or lower for no more than 4 days. It may be frozen for long term storage for up to several months.National Center for Home Food Preservation
Canning is one of my favorite ways to preserve food and make it shelf stable. However, I don’t recommend canning garlic.
There are no approved methods for canning garlic. Garlic is a high acid food, so if you’re going to can it, you must pressure can it.
Unfortunately, pressure canning garlic removes most of the flavor and nutritional value of garlic. So, there really is no point in canning garlic. Also, since there aren’t any approved methods for canning garlic, I can’t give you proper processing times. So please just use one of the other methods of preserving garlic that I’ve included in this article.
When it comes to preserving garlic, pickling is one of the best methods. Not only does it extend the shelf life of garlic, but it also imparts a delicious tangy flavor.
The key to successful pickled garlic is to use fresh cloves that have been properly peeled.
Start by sterilizing a jar by boiling it for 10 minutes.
Place the peeled garlic cloves into the clean jar. You’ll need about two cups of peeled garlic cloves for one pint jar.
Next, make pickling liquid. To make the pickling brine, combine one cup of white distilled vinegar with one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of pickling salt. Heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Pour the brine over the garlic in the jar, and seal with a non-reactive lid, such as these that you can pick up on Amazon.
Store in the refrigerator and wait a month before using. Pickled garlic lasts in the refrigerator for up to a year.
Pro tip: If desired, you can add spices to the jar. Some popular ones are mustard seeds, black peppercorns, dill, or red pepper flakes. Sometimes I use all of them!
How to Use Preserved Garlic
To a large degree, you’ll use preserved garlic in the same way you’d use fresh. You can sauté garlic that you’ve store in the freezer in butter or oil just like you would with fresh garlic. You can also add it to sauces or soup.
If using dehydrated garlic, place it in its dehydrated form into recipes that use liquid such as soups, stews, and sauces. There’s no need to rehydrate it first.
If you want to sauté dehydrated garlic, I recommend first rehydrating it in a bit of hot water. Drain the water and pat the garlic dry before you sauté it.
Pickled garlic is a great addition to salad dressing. Just blend it, along with some of the pickling liquid.
So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this article on how to preserve garlic.
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