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Preserve Your Harvest: Freezing Garlic in Oil

| 8/20/2018 8:51:00 AM

Duganski garlic ready for storage 

Mid-August is hustle-and-bustle time for all gardeners who are in the midst of putting up their harvest. There are beans to can, corn to freeze, and herbs to dehydrate so that they can be enjoyed throughout the winter months. And here in Morrow County, Ohio, those winter months seem to last a heck of a long time. And when the weather turns bad, and it becomes too dangerous to drive, I don’t always have a way to get to town for food, so investing time into having a well-stocked pantry of healthy food is always a priority.

One of the pantry staples I always have on-hand, and one of the easiest garden goodies to grow and harvest, is garlic. (Oh, I can just taste it now: homemade marinara, creamy garlic soup, fresh-outta-tha-oven peasant bread dipped in garlic-infused olive oil.) With so many great recipes that include garlic, home cooks should have it in their kitchens, but it can be a pricey item, especially if you want the good stuff. I mean, some of these suburban gourmet groceries are charging at least $1.50 per head of organic garlic. If you’re like me, I’d rather use my grocery budget on items that I can’t grown myself or buy from my farmer friends.

This is the second year that I grew the garlic variety “Duganski,” a hardneck bulb that has purple stripes. For me in Zone 5b, Duganski is usually ready to harvest mid-July, producing medium-to-large heads. I have grown “Music” in past years for farmers’ market and CSA production, but lost my entire seed stock to a polar vortex winter, leaving all of my harvestable garlic mushy (talk about soul-crushing).

When I harvested this year’s garlic crop, I was a little disappointed, with many heads being on the smaller side. I must admit, I got lazy in June, and didn’t water enough during a dry spell and wasn’t as vigilant about weeding as I should have been. Nonetheless, I removed all the scapes, and we enjoyed many garlicky dishes. When I harvested the garlic a week after the Fourth of July, I cleaned and dried all of it, regardless of size. It’s been about a month of drying time, keeping the garlic on the shady front porch, and I’m ready to get the bulbs in storage.

The largest of the heads will be saved for reseeding in October. I’ll prep the garlic patch in a fresh spot, not replanting in the same location to reduce the likelihood of disease infecting next year’s crop. I advise planting at least one clove per week of the year, but I usually plant 60 cloves to have seed stock, too. Each clove will grow into a head of garlic, and I use about a head a week. You can adjust your planting to meet your needs.

8/22/2018 7:19:40 PM

Great advice, as usual, from Corinne!

8/22/2018 10:09:26 AM

I also freeze my extra garlic in oil but a bit differently. I mince the garlic, mix it with oil, and freeze it in a shallow dish. After the garlic/oil mixture is frozen it is broken into chunks roughly the size of garlic cloves and stored in a freezer container. The chunks give you the option of how much garlic to use.

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