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Sep 5, 2008 07:03 AM

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.