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Apr 30, 2009 02:56 AM

Preserving Grated Garlic

I go through tons of garlic when cooking for my family and I heard of a neat trick of storing chopped garlic (in my case I grate it using my micro-plane grater) in a jar drowned in olive oil and kept in the fridge. I found this extremely handy when I am short of time and need to come up with a quick pasta sauce, for example. The problem is the garlic turns into a green shade after a couple of days in the fridge. Is this a sign that it is "going off" or oxidizing (smells fine though) or is it simply picking up the color from the olive oil? I have seen the commercial equivalent of this in stores (which looks very white) but I don't like the idea that they contain preservatives. Anyone with ideas? And please, before anyone suggests that I am being lazy and that I should chop or grate garlic each time I need it, may I just say that I do truly find this time-saving. I have a family of five which includes a vegetarian, two confirmed meat-eaters and a young child who is a fussy eater. They only thing we all have in common is that we generally like Italian (thus the large garlic consumption). Many thanks.

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  1. Don't do it. You risk poisoning your family with botulism. check out this response to an earlier thread on "smelly" garlic:

    1 Reply
    1. re: janniecooks

      Wow.......Having understood that garlic has antibacterial properties I am surprised to hear about the botulism risk.

    2. Try making garlic confit. I picked this up from Anthony Bourdain's _Les Halles Cookbook_, though it isn't much more than baked garlic.

      I do it in a small covered metal casserole, but you can just do it in an aluminum foil packet. Break up two or three heads of garlic, leaving the cloves in the skin and toss them in a couple of tablespoons of oil and a sprig of thyme if you like. Bake at 350 deg. F for a half hour, cool, pop out the garlic from the skins, and save in the oil in a small container. It has a sweeter flavor than fresh garlic and is nice to have around for all sorts of things, and I find it keeps for two or three weeks in the fridge.

      3 Replies
      1. re: David A. Goldfarb

        this reminds me a little of the salmonella egg thread a few days ago.

        i don't see how this is any different than storing garlic in oil, from the danger-danger warning reply above. the outbreaks mentioned developed from garlic in oil that was improperly stored.

        i make garlic confit alot, but i peel the cloves before cooking them in lots of oil. i do it on the stove, rather than turning on the oven. if you're worried, do this, and freeze portions. you can make quite a bit in decent size skillet.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          My thought was that oil and garlic that are baked (or cooked in a skillet) and refrigerated are probably safer than raw garlic in oil.

          1. re: David A. Goldfarb

            "Clostridium botulinum spores are extremely heat resistant, so while cooking at proper temperatures would destroy most foodborne pathogens, it does not destroy C. botulinum."

            You still need to be careful and heat to proper temp for proper amount of time.

            Or properly acidify.

      2. It's safe for a few days. So go ahead and grate your garlic and cover it in oil, then toss anything you haven't used in 3-4 days and repeat.

        3 Replies
        1. re: tmso

          janniecooks, I read the thread you suggested together with other information I googled on the web and I see what you mean. I am glad I posted this as I was never aware of this problem. There seems to be some views that if kept in the fridge for less than a week it should be safe. tmso's suggestion echoes this and I might follow this but must admit this has given me a bit of a shake...... Anyway, thanks everyone for all the info and suggestions.

          1. re: chowess

            chowess, I'm glad you did some more research. it's just not a safe practice, especially given how abundant and cheap garlic is. have you thought about using mini chopper to process all that garlic?

            1. re: chowess

              A few days isn't enough time for anything dangerous to develop, but if you still don't feel comfortable with that, you could keep the garlic in a little bit of white wine instead. That's an aerobic, acidic environment, which is about as hostile to botulism as you can get. And most uses of garlic can benefit from a splash of white wine anyhow.

          2. You can keep chopped garlic in the fridge for several days. No need to add oil - avoid the botulism risk altogether. My mom used to do this all the time (Korean cooking uses tons of garlic so she would chop 3-4 heads of garlic in the food processor and keep it in a jar - sometimes for weeks). It loses some flavor (very little) but it also loses some of its "bite" and mellows out over time which is not such a bad thing. It also turns a bit more yellow over time as it loses moisture. I don't do it because I only use a *lot* of garlic but not a *ton* of garlic. And I don't mind chopping.

            1 Reply
            1. re: soniabegonia

              Another thing you can do is to chop a bunch and separate it into week-size portions and freeze them in ziploc bags. That way you don't keep so much of it in the fridge and lose flavor.

            2. I separate garlic cloves and freeze them unpeeled in ziplock bags.