Preserving Summer’s Bounty: Freezing Garlic
Remember all of my garlic galore?
Well, I've just finished preserving it all for this fall and winter! I've now dried all of the bulbs out completely. Just recently I did some sorting into piles: gorgeous and intended for planting this fall, good for storage, and not so good for storage.
I set aside any that had cracks or openings in the bulbs. I have read that those ones may not store well, and should be used quicker or else preserved in a different manner.
After searching the web quite a bit and talking to a friend, I came to the conclusion that the way I wanted to go about it was to peel my cloves, mince them in olive oil, and then freeze the garlic in usable portions. This method was recommended to me by a friend as something that she does herself whenever she has too much garlic that's going to go bad, and though it is a bit of work up front, it will make using my garden garlic throughout the year a snap.
After peeling it, I put the cloves into my food processor with enough olive oil to make it run smoothly and mince them up well. It's not a puree, but a nice, fine mince that is quite smooth because of the added oil. The oil will help to preserve the texture and flavor, or so I've read.
Next I made little dollops onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I used a teaspoon to do it, and I figure that each dollop is about 2 cloves worth of minced garlic.
After I filled a couple of cookie sheets, I put them in the freezer so that they could freeze individually. Then I scraped them off of the parchment paper and put them all into a ziploc bag.
Voila! Instant minced garlic at my fingertips!
Of course, I will still have the other half of my bulbs which I will be keeping in dry storage (which you can see above- just a bin with air holes, and layers of dried garlic in newspaper which will be kept in the garage) and I will use the dried bulbs whenever possible. But I love having this frozen garlic as a really convenient option, and also a way to make sure that none of my garlic will go bad before I get to use it!
Has anyone tried this or a similar method before? How do you preserve excess garlic?
Now, I wish I would have planted more garlic than just my 4 bulbs…LOL. We go through a lot of garlic here…and onions (about 9lbs. a months). And garlic isn’t cheap. i am just wondering how much money you have in that tub…gold really! Garlic is .69 a head here. Good Job!
What an awesome way to make use of the “not so pretties” that are harvested from your garden! I have not heard of doing things this way but have heard of mincing garlic, putting it into jars, then covering up with oil. This would be the equivalent to the jars of minced garlic bought in the stores. One nice thing is the oil can be used when the garlic is all done and has a nice garlic taste to it.
Hope all is well in the baby department:)
That sounds great! I want to grow garlic, I never have. I think it gets planted in the fall…any idea how soon before frost? We should have our first frost about a month or month and a half from now.
Where did you get your parchment paper? I noticed its brown, not the white like you get in the store. I am assuming its more natural. I wanted to find some like that but have been unable to.
Shannon, I have also heard of putting it in jars with oil. I actually chose not to do this because I read quite a few warnings about botulism occurring when this method is used. I know that many people do it, but when I started digging around, the warnings were just a bit too loud for my taste, so I opted not to. I’m sure it’s fine to do for a few days in your fridge, though, if you would just like to get that nice, garlic-flavored oil. And things are fine in the baby department, thanks for asking- we’re just waiting! 🙂
Nola, I planted ours in late October, which is around the time of our first frost (sometimes it’s a little earlier, but the ground is certainly not too hard or frozen at that time by any means). So maybe for you, plant in late September? Basically the point is just to get it in while you can work the ground (but when it’s not warm enough for it to start to grow), and then you need to mulch it well for over the winter, so that it can start growing the moment it warms up enough in the spring. I used dead leaves last fall to cover up my garlic.
The parchment paper is by a company called Natural Value and I got it from my co-op. It’s pretty much the only food storage/wrap type of stuff that I use in my kitchen, aside from ziploc bags. Maybe you could buy it (or an equivalent) online?
Wow, your garlic looks great. I have tried to grow garlic but have not had much luck. Any tips on growing it? Does it need to be planted in the fall? We just put out our fall garden Saturday. Thankyou so much for posting this. I think if I ever have any garlic to harvest, this would be a great way to preserve it.
Gayla, it does need to be put out in the fall, but I wouldn’t do it yet. Wait until the rest of your fall garden is on it’s way out, more or less. You don’t want it to really start growing until the spring, so it should already be pretty cool by the time it goes in.
Here’s a link to a site that was useful to me this past year while I was growing it:
Alright I got to ask- what size is your freezer? It has black hole porportions in my mind- all the freezing you post about and then storing what you have frozen- how do you fit it all?
I do love those little frozen garlic cubes- Dorot is the brand name that Trader Joe carries. Maybe I’ll plant some garlic to freeze for next year.
If you freeze garlic you kill of the enzymes in it, so why not ferment it to keep them alive and fermented garlic is even more beneficial to your heath than unfermented…. it’s been used in ancient China and Russia as folk medicine and cured an impressive amount of health problems, furthermore you can also use it to cook.
What a great idea! This has me wondering if garlic grows in my part of the country. If it does, no one around here grows it. I have so much to learn, and I appreciate your taking the time to share your experiences!
Mab, I only wish my freezer was of black hole proportions! I have a full size stand up freezer (similar to a large chest freezer), and then just the small one above my fridge. They are both generally crammed as full as I can get them, specifically at the end of the summer. It’s all about the creative organization, lol! And having things fall out on my head (or toes) when I open the door! 🙂
Hahahaha… Mab, I’m so glad you asked about the freezer! I have been wondering that too. My husband thought it was hilarious when he asked me what I wanted to my upcoming birthday and I suggested a “bigger house so we can get a bigger freezer” (we live in an apartment). I’m always fascinated about your freezer Stephanie – helps me keep on top of my little one too 🙂
I just mash mine up with a little real salt in the mortar and pestal and freeze in a glass bottle in the freezer. Works beaut and doesn’t set hard and is ready for easy use!
Thank you so much for sharing all your incredible knowledge on canning/freezing/etc. This is my second summer of doing it all but this year it seems we have even more bounty with our CSA farm share + our own garden.
Thank you for sharing this method on freezing garlic! Quick question…a lot of my garlic has cracks and is opening in the bulbs…how should i store them?
I will continue my search but will try this with my ‘healthier’ garlic bulbs 🙂
If they’ve already got cracks, then it’s best to freeze them because they won’t last as long in dry storage. I always separate the ones with cracks from the ones without, and I either mince and freeze (or you can also freeze them whole) the ones with cracks, or I just put them in the fridge and use them before I use any of my other bulbs.