Best ways of preserving garlic?

In a moment of insanity last fall (more than one moment, actually) I planted four different kinds of garlic in the vegetable garden. Within a month or so I should be harvesting about 50 heads of garlic. While I’m fond of the stuff and Mrs. J. makes up large batches of tomato sauce for freezing, I foresee problems using it all while it’s still fresh and flavorful.

The general online advice is for harvested garlic to be left to dry for a few days, then hung up in a cool place. Unfortunately we have no root cellar at the Jackmannis, so the best I can do is a basement at about 65-70F (I thought of hanging up a bunch of garlic in my office along with some crucifixes to ward off long-toothed oncologists, but I don’t want a reputation any worse than what I have now).

In a typical home setting, what’s the best way to store garlic so it keeps longest? When can I chop it up in a food processor and bottle it? Any suggested recipes for garlic products that work well stored over long periods and don’t give you botulism?

Smash it or process it, and freeze it into 1/2 tsp sized cubes.

Ideally you’d have an empty one of these trays hanging around for this very purpose. If not, you can probably buy a mini-ice cube tray at a housewares store.

You can roast some of them and keep them in the fridge for a couple of weeks. You could also make garlic oil (boil peeled cloves in olive oil for 10-15 minutes).

Garlic greens make great pesto. This you can then freeze ice cube trays, bag the cubes and keep 'em in the freezer. Plop one of those bad boys into a red sauce long about January…

That is if the pesto lasts, mine usually doesn’t.

Whole garlic should last for many months in the fridge, even without any effort at preservation at all. A porous container is probably best for this.

I like the freezing ideas – but, since I’ve never done this before, I’d try baking them or dehydrating the cloves, and pulverizing them. Seems kind of cool, and it would be good practice for making powdered cheese or powdered meats (for me, at least – I love this kind of thing, but am not no good at it). I’ve never done any of the above successfully, although I’ve tried a little bit, without paying enough close attention, but they seem like good ideas to me. You could sell the remains to backpackers just for fun, probably.

Roasted garlic bulbs freeze really well and can be used all winter in sauces, mashed potatoes, or smeared on bread.

You might try pickling some as well. Pickled garlic doesn’t get used much in recipes, but it can be tasty on sandwiches, in dips, or as a salad garnish.

I also found an article on garlic preservation, that includes a pickling recipe as well as drying and freezing advice.

I had a revelation today. You should make garlic braids, and attach little silver crucifixes (or whatever the plural of crucifix is), a little stake and hammer, and a sign saying “In case of vampire outbreak” on each of them.

Of course, this will have an impact on your rep, but it would be worth it.

Those are some really tiny cubes…


See post 2. Yes, they’re tiny, but the advantage is that 1/2 tsp is equivalent to an average “clove of garlic” as called for in a recipe. So however many “cloves” you need, you pull out that many cubes.

If you don’t have or want to get the teeny trays, you can line a baking/cookie sheet with some parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and drop 1/2 tsp. mounds on it. Freeze the whole sheet, and when they’re frozen you can put the mounds into a ziploc type freezer bag.

That’s the post I quoted.

You’ll get months out of the dried, hanging garlic. Pull them out of the ground on a hot and dry day. Trim the stems and let them sit in the sun for a few days. I hang mine in cheap (yes, new) pantyhose - cut the hose in half to get two legs. Drop in a bulb, tie a knot, drop in an another, tie another knot, and then you can just cut off a bulb from the bottom when you need it. I also lack a root cellar, sadly. Anywhere cool, dark, and not humid works - I use a coat closet far from the kitchen and showers as a pantry/cellar.

Pickled garlic is great. Do you have much experience canning?

So it is. :smack:

So did you look at the teeny tiny crushed garlic freezer tray at the link? They hold 1/2 tsp in each section, yes.

Thanks for all the suggestions.