It’s certainly not new information that garlic is one of the superfoods. This small but mighty vegetable has not only a mighty smell but mighty health benefits as well. Some benefits of garlic include promoting heart health, fighting cancer, helping against the common cold, acting as a natural antibiotic, and even helping to clear your skin.
Garlic is something that I try to add to nearly every dish I cook. It’s not only healthy but also a great addition to nearly any recipe. Whether I’m cooking spaghetti sauce or liverwurst, there’s always room for garlic! Since I use it so frequently I’ve only rarely had garlic spoil. A bigger problem is constantly needing to buy more!
All of that said, you may not be as excited about garlic as me but still like to occasionally use it. This may mean that for you, spoilage is a real possibility. Whilst garlic already has a strong smell, spoiled garlic is even worse. The last thing you want is the smell of spoiled garlic wafting through your home. The good news is that you can freeze peeled garlic to stop this!
In this article I explain the impact of freezing garlic. I’ll also walk you through exactly how to do it for the best results. Read on to learn everything you need to know about preserving garlic!
Can You Freeze Peeled Garlic?
In short – yes! You can certainly freeze peeled garlic. In fact, it’s a great way to prevent spoilage and to significantly extend garlic’s shelf life. While garlic already has a pretty long shelf life, there are times when it spoils faster than usual. This happens to me occasionally and when it does I wish I’d frozen it!
Instead of just a few weeks, or maybe months, freezing garlic can guarantee it to be good for multiple months. If you don’t plan on using all of it in the immediate future, freezing peeled garlic is a great idea.
As you’ll see later, freezing garlic not only extends its lifespan and prevents strong odors, but it’s also a very convenient method of storage. You can simply take as many peeled cloves out as you’d like. And you don’t have to deal with the annoying process (and sticky fingers) of peeling garlic.
What Does Freezing Do to Peeled Garlic?
You might be wondering if freezing a peeled garlic clove negatively affects it. The answer is yes and no.
When you freeze most foods, the texture is what’s usually affected the most. This is due to the physical properties of water and how it interacts with the cells of the food. Garlic is no different.
The texture of this aromatic vegetable will slightly change. It won’t be as firm or as crunchy as fresh garlic. However, this usually isn’t such a big deal. Since garlic is mostly used in cooking, the aroma and taste that are the most important, which aren’t affected when frozen. Because when garlic is cooked it softens anyway, the loss of crunchy texture is also not important.
But, if you decide you’d like to use the garlic raw, it’s perhaps best to not freeze it. Or, alternatively, you can chop it up into fine pieces, and that way the loss of crunchiness is less noticeable.
How to Freeze Peeled Garlic
We all know the struggle of peeling garlic. It’s perhaps one of the most annoying vegetable preparation tasks that exist in all of the cooking procedures. However, by peeling a lot of garlic at one time, you can save yourself tons of time in the future and make it even more enjoyable to use garlic in your cooking. It will just require you to prepare many bulbs of garlic at one time.
But now that you know that you can freeze peeled garlic and how it can affect it, let’s get into how you actually do it.
- Separate all of the cloves from the garlic bulb(s).
- Find a mason jar or bowl that will fit all of the cloves of garlic you plan on freezing. If you use a bowl, you’ll also need a plate large enough to cover it.
- Then, place all of your garlic cloves into the jar or bowl. Then, cover the bowl or close the jar and then shake the container for a minute or two.
- Take a peek into the bowl or have a look into the jar and you’ll see the skins starting to come off. Continue for a little longer if you’d like.
- Once the cloves are almost peeled from all of the shaking, take them out and pick off the loose-hanging skin and discard it.
- If you’d like, you can also cut off the root end of each garlic clove.
- After the cloves are peeled, transfer them into an airtight freezer bag or airtight container.
- Squeeze out the excess air (in the case you’re using a bag).
- Label the bag or container and store it in the freezer.
If you have any concerns, you can add a bit of extra protection by wrapping the cloves in either aluminum foil or plastic wrap before you place them into the bag or container.
How Long Can You Store Garlic in the Freezer?
When it’s stored using the aforementioned method, peeled garlic will last between six months and one year in the freezer.
But, like most foods, the quicker you use frozen garlic, the better. There won’t be anything toxic or dangerous if you happen to use the garlic after it’s been frozen for a year, but the longer it’s frozen, the more the texture is likely to change.
Also, while the taste and aroma won’t change if kept in the freezer for around six months, the longer it’s kept (more than one year) the more likely that the taste and aroma will suffer. Left for too long, it might reach a point where it’s no longer viable and should be discarded. So make sure to eat it as soon as you can!
How to Thaw Frozen Garlic
How you prepared your frozen garlic will determine if you need to it at all. If you froze chopped garlic, minced garlic or garlic puree, then you don’t actually need to defrost it. You can add it directly into your cooking. Also, if you plan on adding your peeled clove to a dish like a soup or stew, for example, then you also won’t need to defrost it.
However, if you are using the method I have previously described and you plan on slicing or chopping it then you certainly need to let it thaw to allow for safe cutting and chopping. The easiest and most hands-free method is by simply taking the desired amount of garlic cloves and placing them on a plate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
If you’d like to quicken the process then you can also leave them out at room temperature (covered, preferably) or place them in a bowl of hot water.
How to Use Frozen Peeled Garlic
Another reason why freezing your peeled garlic clove is such a good idea is that you can use it pretty much the same exact way as you use fresh raw garlic.
The only difference is that since the texture may change slightly, using it without cooking it (like in a salad) may deliver less than ideal results. Whilst it might still be satisfactory, thawed garlic is best used in cooking. Or, as I previously mentioned, you can chop it up and then put it in the salad or other dish where it won’t be cooked and the change in texture is less noticeable. Besides this, however, you can use thawed garlic just as you would with fresh garlic.
Can You Refreeze Peeled Garlic?
It isn’t recommended to refreeze peeled garlic, like with nearly every other food, as the texture will change even more after a single freezing and thawing cycle.
However, if you plan on chopping your garlic and cooking it, you can likely get away with refreezing it as the change in texture won’t be noticeable when it’s mixed in with other cooked ingredients.
However, if you don’t plan on cooking with it, you should certainly not refreeze it as the change in texture will be much more pronounced.