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How do you preserve garlic?

How do you preserve garlic like the jars of whole and minced garlic found at the local grocery store?
• Do you dehydrate it and store it with silica gel?
• Do you peel it and store it in the freezer?
• Do you pickle it in vinegar and salt using a boiling water canner?
• Do you make refrigerator garlic pickles?
• Can you safely store garlic in oil?

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  1. Storing raw garlic in olive oil can lead to botulism . . . so at least I know that one's out!

    You could certainly mince a big batch of garlic, measure teaspoons of it onto a cookie sheet lined w/parchment or plastic wrap, freeze it, then put the frozen teaspoons of garlic into a freezer bag for later use.

    1. You can preserve it with vinegar and salt, like pickles. We received a jar of canned garlic from my aunt last year. It was a little 4 oz. jar packed full of cloves. I left it on the shelf for a few months, a bit wary of it. Was desperate for garlic for a recipe and was out of all other forms, so finally cracked it open. The vinegar flavor was fairly mild, definitely not strong enough to overpower the garlic. The texture of the garlic was still fairly crunchy. It worked great for cooking. There are a few cloves left in the jar in my fridge, and they still look and smell fine, even after a month (okay two months) :) So it's doable, just don't know what proportions you would use.

      1. Why would you want to preserve garlic? It's cheap, small, stores well. I guess I don't understand.

        7 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          I can think of one reason -- pickled garlic is delicious! I've never made it myself, but have bought jars of it in Gilroy. Garlic loses a lot of its astringency after pickling, so you can eat the still crunchy cloves straight from the jar . . . They'd probably be killer in martinis and bloody marys too!

          1. re: operagirl

            Ah, I reread OP and realize it's a two-parter. Storage AND pickling. I understand pickling. Didn't understand just the storage part. Thanks for pointing that out.

            1. re: operagirl

              wow! how freaking interesting --- garlic martinis and in bloody marys!! I like how you think operagirl!

              1. re: smilingal

                Haha, thanks! A martini sounds real good right about now!

            2. re: c oliver

              You would want to preserve garlic if you had just cropped 20 bulbs of the stuff and didn't want to have to give most of it away before it started to shoot!!

              1. re: paulypooh

                I'm in your debt for reviving this thread. I remember it from when I was a real newbie here but couldn't think how to search for it. I really loved that idea of roasting and then freezing. Thanks.

              2. re: c oliver

                Hey Oliver, the Garlic you get today comes from all over and A LOT OF IT is not American and pales in comparison. GILROY FOREVER!! So, this thread is very important. The Chinese Garlic is a different strain grown under very different conditions and, and, and... WallyWorld sources, uhhh worldwide,,, so if you can't figure out why your recipes lack their former spark, check the country of origin and preserve the best American Garlic.

              3. We have had it at a restaurant in Mexico where they mince it, fry it in oil until brown, then store it in more oil. They serve it on top of fish but we always ask for it just as a condiment on the side. It becomes kind of candied when stored in the oil. I haven't tried it at home yet but it is really good down there!

                1. If you are talking about the large jars of peeled garlic found at places like Costco, after much trial and error, I've found two very good ways to handle them.

                  1. Put the garlic in the food processor, add just enough oil (I use olive or grape seed) to get things going, and let it process till very finely minced. Spread the mixture thinly onto a shallow baking pan with sides. Cover tightly with foil. Freeze overnight. Next day, break into big chunks and place in a plastic freezer bag. Keep frozen. It's easy to break off a small piece as you need it.

                  2. Put the garlic in a heavy saucepan. Cover with olive oil so the garlic is about one-fourth the total level. Simmer on low till garlic is soft and golden. Don't burn or it's bitter. Add chopped fresh parsley, Italian herbs or herbes de Provence, dried or fresh basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, a spoon or two of Dijon mustard and onion powder, a few spoons of wine vinegar. Let cook for another 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Use a stick blender to incorporate the ingredients. Taste. You may want to add salt,pepper, or more herbs, mustard, or vinegar. I have also added either a bit of soy sauce or Asian fish sauce which rounds out the flavor. Sorry I cannot give exact proportions, I dump and cook till it tastes good! This idea is based on a rather pricey condiment called "GranMere's". You add a spoonful to steamed vegetables, salads, sauces, or anything that needs a little seasoning boost. Keep in the fridge. Stores for weeks and weeks.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: rexsreine

                    Gad that sounds good. What a great idea.

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      I do just what rexsreine described except I generally don't add anything to it or puree it - I just cook the cloves until they're soft, then store in the fridge in the oil. It keeps for a long time - the kitchen police would probably arrest me if they knew how long I tend to keep it. I always use it in cooked dishes though so I figure that if there's anything growing in it, I'll kill it with heat.

                  2. I just roasted 9 heads of garlic and now that they are peeled, they are safely and lovingly tucked in the freezer, ready for use. It makes weekday cooking really easy.

                    I also mince fresh ginger and store that in the freezer and freeze my pesto. YUM

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: rtms

                      rtms, I'm curious what you use the roasted garlic for? Not in the place of fresh, so what please? I like eating roasted garlic occasionally but not sure how I would use it in cooking. Thanks.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Hi c oliver sorry for the delayed reply. i've been away.

                        I put the garlic in everything from salad dressings, white bean garlic spread, garlic mashed pototoes, quick fried noodles, ratatouille, curried cauliflower soup, oven ribs, roast chicken. You get a hint of garlic without the harshness. I really use it instead of fresh garlic for many dishes and save my good garlic for lamb.

                        1. re: rtms

                          This is what I love about CH. All the ideas. I too love garlic but not always that harshness. Thanks, rtms.

                          1. re: rtms

                            Another question. Do you freeze them on a baking sheet and then put in a plastic bag so they don't stick together?

                            1. re: c oliver

                              After finding a bargain bag of 25+ whole garlic heads @ Sam's, I just threw the whole heads in plastic zipper bags and put them in the freezer. I take them out as I need them, and break off the cloves. The only thing that appears to happen is that they turn gold and translucent. But freezing does not seem to affect the taste. Anyone have further info about freezing garlic? Good idea or bad?

                              1. re: c oliver

                                They are pretty dry when they're cooked. I just put them in a ziploc bag and take a clove or two out, as needed. Because of the irregular shape the cloves only make limited contact and are easy to break apart and because I love garlic, I don't mind an extra clove or two.

                        2. Dehydrate it. Store it whole long term and grind it into garlic powder in small batches or as you use it. Just an option. There are others up there.

                          1. As Garfish says, I slice mine thin and dehydrate it. I use the thin slices as is in soups or stews, or grind for really fresh garlic powder. Just keep in an air-tight container. No need for silica gel.

                            This recipe has gotten good results:

                            Pickled Garlic
                            6 cups fresh garlic cloves
                            3 cups white distilled vinegar
                            1 cup granulated sugar
                            1 teaspoon salt

                            Peel cloves; if large, cut in half lengthwise. In a non-reactive saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to boiling and stir until sugar dissolves. Drop garlic into mixture and cook, uncovered, over high heat 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let cool. Store in tightly covered jar in refrigerator for 3 months or longer.

                            To make a crisper, slightly spicier garlic pickle, add 1/8 teaspoon alum and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppercorns.

                            1. I wouldn't use that much garlic so it's not an issue for me (knowing what to do with it after
                              Sat at a wine bar (outside) in San Fran one springish afternoon having 1 glass of red wine and the sourdough bread and roasted purred garlic knob that was floating in delicious olive oil. Ate the whole bread and all the garlic dipping sauce. That night thought I was dying. Is it possible too much of a good thing?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: iL Divo

                                No - it was probably that you only had 1 glass of wine!

                                1. re: smilingal

                                  Yep 1 glass, maybe a scant tablespoon of purée, floating in maybe scant tablespoon olive oil and a 10" baguette. Over about an hour, felt instantly ill and I'll attribute it honetly to garlic overload. May be wrong but haven't been very fond of it since. Never cramped so much in my life.

                                  Sorry OT

                              2. I don't. I buy it when I need it.

                                1. I love to use garlic in many ways, such as dehydrating it for chips, roasting it, pickling it with herbs and making candied garlic. Oh, and roasted garlic oil (in small batches, of course).

                                  1. I've pickled large cloves of garlic with onions. Traditional method, salting overnight then packing in clean jars and pouring spicy vinegar over. 3 weeks later they've gone bright green. Is this poison? Once they went purple and we didn't eat those. LOL.