It’s March and my garlic stash is diminishing and drying out. But that’s OK, I’m covered. I plan for this. I preserve garlic in a few different ways to ensure a year-round supply of farm garlic.
We grow some lovely garlic
Over the years, I have come to know that some of those beautiful cured storage bulbs will stay firm but most will be dried out by February. This makes sense. Word is that I should expect garlic to keep until New Years Day. Maybe ideal storage conditions, dry and cool and dark with good airflow, might extend this New Year’s prediction. For years, I would be without farm garlic from February until May when the first garlic scapes are snapped off the plants. Why buy garlic during the dry months? Now I prepare for these gap months. I freeze chopped garlic and dehydrate garlic into powder so that I can cook with farm garlic year round.
Here are four ways to keep garlic so that you will be cooking with your own (or farmers market fresh) garlic year round.
Peel and slice garlic. I use the food processor and slice them like almond slices. Dehydrate the slices in a dehydrator or the lowest setting of the oven. This will take all day or longer. When you can snap a slice--not bendy--then it is ready. Cool, then powder. I use my Vitamix to powder garlic. A coffee grinder dedicated to spices would work. Whatever gadget you use, clean it promptly and thoroughly so your next smoothie doesn’t taste like garlic. This garlic powder is so premium! Especially if you grow the more potent hard-necked garlic, as we do at House in the Woods Farm. Sometimes I give small jars of garlic powder as gifts. Read my blog about garlic powder and the gardening setback that led to learning how to make it.
Chopped Garlic in Olive Oil
Peel cloves. Chop them in the food processor to your preferred coarseness. Pack into small jars and fill in with olive oil. Leave an inch of airspace. Label and freeze the jars. I use canning jelly jars or reuse small jars from olives or jam. Defrost and keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Garlic in olive oil is perishable; use small enough jars so that you can use up your garlic in a few weeks. Sautee and cook with the chopped garlic and the flavored olive oil.
This is convenient. When you make a freezer roll of garlic, you don’t have to worry about it being perishable, because the roll stays in the freezer. Cut a thin slice off the roll and cook with it. Pop the garlic roll back in the freezer. I keep it on the freezer door so it is easy to find. To make your garlic roll, peel and chop garlic, add a little olive oil to the food processor, just enough to hold it together. Spoon it onto the edge of parchment paper and roll it tight. Maybe hold it together with a couple rubber bands. Slip the roll into a ziploc or a small container if you like, to protect it from freezer burn. Store in the door of the freezer, ready when you need it.
Ice Cube Trays of Garlic
Chop garlic with a little or a lot of olive oil, similar process to the garlic rolls, then load up ice cube trays that are dedicated to spicy things like garlic and pesto. Maybe fill them halfway, whatever you feel is one sautee serving size. When they are frozen, you can pop them out and fill a ziploc bag and refreeze. Use a whole cube in your next sautee.
Read my blog on eating garlic as medicinal food for immune-boosting.
Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods Farm organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are 2013 MOTHER EARTH NEWS Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life on the farm's Facebook Page. For more about House in the Woods Farm, go to the House in the Woods website, and read all of Ilene's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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