A little garlic goes a long way. So, if you have bought a bag of bulbs, you might find the garlic sprouting, shriveling, or becoming moldy before you have a chance to use it all.
Don’t worry if you’re a garlic lover, because you can freeze garlic to extend its shelf life and avoid food waste.
Types of Garlic You Can Freeze
The garlic plant’s bulb is made up of 10 to 20 segments called garlic cloves.
Used mostly as a seasoning in cooking or for medicinal purposes, garlic has a very sharp, pungent flavor and smell due to the reactions of its sulfur compounds when chopped or crushed. Once cooked, the spicy flavor mellows and becomes somewhat sweeter.
Garlic bulbs are covered in a thin outer casing of leaves surrounding an inner layer that encloses each clove. Garlic is most commonly used chopped, crushed, or grated and added to a variety of dishes during the cooking process.
From sauces, pizza, casseroles, curries, and stir-fry, to oils, pasta, and dressings, garlic can be added to almost any savory dish regardless of the type of meat, starch, or vegetables in question.
It is often paired with onion, tomato, chili, or ginger and can be packed to permeate oil flavorings or blended into a paste.
The bulb can also be roasted whole drizzled with olive oil. As the garlic softens, it can be squeezed out of the casing for a sweeter type of garlic paste.
Black garlic is another gourmet preparation of the bulb which involves heating the garlic over several weeks resulting in a sweet and syrupy dark product.
Garlic can be purchased, stored, and frozen in many different ways including:
- Whole unpeeled garlic bulbs
- Individual garlic cloves peeled or unpeeled
- Minced or chopped garlic
- Garlic paste
Can Garlic Be Frozen?
Although garlic may lose its crunchy texture on freezing, it can be successfully frozen whole, or chopped without affecting the flavor.
Frozen garlic may even display a better flavor than some fresh versions which feature a slightly chemical taste due to the compound reactions when crushed.
How To Freeze Whole Garlic Cloves
Step 1: Check and Clean
Only fresh garlic should be frozen. Check the quality of the garlic to ensure that it is still firm with clear paper-like skin and that there are no blemishes, sprouting, or signs of mold. If you are freezing the whole bulb, give it a good clean by simply wiping off any dirt with a damp cloth.
Step 2: Separate (optional)
Optionally, you can peel the outer layer of papery skin and separate the cloves into individual pieces.
Step 3: Pack
Place the whole bulb, or individual cloves into a resealable freezer bag. When sealing the freezer bag, make sure to press out all the remaining air. The less air the garlic is exposed to, the better it will preserve in the freezer.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
Label the bag with the date and place it into the freezer.
How To Freeze Peeled Garlic
Step 1: Check and Separate
Ensure that the garlic you want to freeze is still in excellent quality. Garlic that is shriveled, soft, or sprouting should not be frozen and rather discarded or used immediately. Peel the garlic outer layer and separate the cloves.
Step 2: Peel
Peel the outer layer of each individual clove leaving a clean and glossy white garlic segment. If you wish, chop the segments into the desired size pieces.
Step 3: Wrap
Place the cloves or chopped garlic pieces on a layer of foil and wrap them well ensuring that all the corners are folded over completely without any gaps where air can enter.
Step 4: Bag It
Place the foil-wrapped garlic in a resealable freezer bag. This provides an extra layer of protection against exposure to air. Press down lightly on the bag to remove any air and seal.
Step 5: Label and Freeze
Label the bag with the date and freeze.
How To Freeze Garlic Paste
Step 1: Clean
Clean the garlic by peeling off all the layers of outer skin leaving only the raw individual glossy cloves.
Step 2: Chop or Blend
Finely chop the cloves or place them in a blender and pulse for just a minute until the garlic is minced.
Step 3: Pack
Transfer the minced garlic into a small resealable freezer bag. Lie the bag flat and press out all the remaining air before sealing.
Step 4: Partition
Lying the bag flat on a baking sheet, spread the garlic evenly in the bag. Use the back of a knife to lightly press down lines across the freezer bag, creating 1-inch square partitions.
Place the baking tray in the freezer allowing the garlic to freeze evenly and maintain the square indentations. Freezing the garlic in this way will make it easier to break off a small piece instead of having to thaw the entire pack.
Step 5: Label and Freeze
Once the garlic is frozen with the indentations in the bag, remove the baking tray. Label the bag and place it back in the freezer. Now it is easy to stack, and also to break off just an inch at a time when needed.
How To Thaw Frozen Garlic
Garlic does not need to be thawed before using. Minced garlic can simply be removed from the freezer and added to the dish you are cooking. Whole cloves can be cut with a sharp knife or grated.
If needed, leave the garlic just a few minutes at room temperature. Due to its small size, it should thaw fairly quickly.
Frozen garlic can be used in the same ways you would use fresh garlic in any cooked dish. So, if you don’t use garlic in your cooking daily and would like to preserve a bunch of cloves for long-term use, freezing is an easy way to retain its quality and flavor.
Whether using it in a stew, stir-fry, sauce, casserole, to top pizza, stuff into a garlic loaf or blend into a dressing, garlic will spruce up any dish with bags of flavor.
Up next: can you freeze green onions?
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