Saturday, March 24, 2012

Storing and Preserving Garlic

I love the taste of garlic!  But I hate when it goes bad before I use a whole head!  This tends to happen with a lot of fresh foods we buy.  Canning is a great way to preserve fresh produce, but unless you plan on jarring up a big ol' jar of garlic gloves, it just isn't an option.  I have two methods I use to preserve my garlic, drying (dehydrating) and freezing.  I don't have a dehydrator (though I wish I did), so I use the oven method.  Now, when using your oven, you've gotta watch the garlic, you don't want to overdo it.  First, set your oven on the lowest setting possible.  Then you slice your garlic into thin slices, the thinner the better.  Lay your garlic flat on a baking sheet (no oil or no stick spray).  If your oven is too high, you'll roast the garlic, and we don't want that.  So when you put it in, keep the oven door cracked to allow any moisture to escape.  Once your garlic is dry, you can store it for a 2-3 months in a tightly sealed container.  You can toss these slices into dishes as is, or you can grind them up into a fine powder (homemade garlic powder!).

I like to freeze a lot of veggies into pre-cut portions that I can just toss into my skillet or pot. When it comes to garlic, there are a few ways I like to freeze it.  One way is to chop your garlic up fine, mix with a little salt and pepper (and maybe some parsley), turn it into a past, then freeze into cubes.  Once the cubes freeze, you can store them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.  Also, if you're like me and like to keep sliced and diced onions in the freezer, you can add some minced garlic to the onions before you freeze. 

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