Freezing fresh garlic is a great way to preserve it for all your winter meals. Learn how to freeze garlic cloves, minced garlic, pureed garlic in oil, and roasted garlic paste with these tips.
Garlic is a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, sauces, pasta dishes, or any number of recipes. Although garlic is known for its long-term storage potential, it can spoil quickly in some situations.
The idea of garlic going bad may sound surprising, but it can happen if not stored properly. Garlic must be cured for several weeks to remove the excess moisture from the bulbs, and then kept in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated location such as a basement or root cellar.
Garlic is abundant in the fall, so it is a good idea to buy in bulk while it is in season. If you are stocking up at your local farmers’ market, it is likely the garlic is ready to store for winter. If you grow your own garlic crop, follow the steps outlined in this article to properly harvest, cure, and store garlic:
When stored properly, garlic can last a year or more. If storage conditions are not ideal, garlic can either begin rotting, sprouting, or the cloves will just shrivel up.
If you discover your garlic is going bad, you can save it by freezing. Freezing garlic is an easy way to preserve it longer and ensure you always have garlic on hand for your recipes.
Tips for Freezing Garlic
Frozen garlic can work just as well as fresh garlic and will give the same flavor to your recipes. It can be frozen in many forms, including whole raw cloves, minced garlic, roasted, or pureed garlic in oil.
Choose Healthy Garlic Bulbs
For the best quality frozen garlic, start with healthy bulbs with smooth and dry skins and firm cloves. Make sure they are free of soft spots or moldy areas, which may indicate decay.
Decide How You Will Use the Garlic
Think about how you will use the garlic. Whole cloves are the most versatile and great to have in the freezer to grab and chop as needed for any dish. Would meal prep be much easier if you had frozen minced garlic ready to go? Would cubes of pureed garlic in a bit of olive oil work for a majority of your recipes?
Roasted garlic is good for recipes where you want the flavor of garlic but not the texture. Do you have time to roast the garlic before freezing?
Selecting a Freezer Container
Any plastic freezer container you use will absorb the smell of garlic. I like to use regular zipper freezer bags, but you can also use freezer safe glass mason jars, or dedicate a small plastic freezer storage container with a sealable lid for freezing garlic.
A small silicone ice cube tray is handy for forming the garlic into cubes and freezing. Once frozen, the cubes can be removed and stored in freezer bags. The garlic aroma will stick to the trays, so only use them for freezing garlic, onions, pesto, tomato puree, or any other foods where you won’t mind a mild flavor of garlic.
Ways to Freeze Garlic
There are a few different ways to freeze garlic, but they just require the use of basic kitchen equipment and freezer containers. The methods below are easy and will result in fresh, flavorful garlic that will last up to six months or longer in the freezer.
Here are the illustrated steps for freezing whole garlic cloves, minced garlic, garlic and oil puree, and roasted garlic paste. You can find the full, printable recipe on how to freeze garlic at the bottom of this article.
How to Freeze Garlic Cloves
By far, the easiest way to freeze garlic quickly is in whole cloves. All you need is fresh garlic and a freezer bag.
Just separate the cloves, remove the outer paper skins, and place the peeled garlic in a freezer safe airtight container or freezer bag. Squeeze all the air out, and then seal it closed. Once this is done, the garlic can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To use frozen garlic cloves, just reach in the bag and grab what you need. Garlic doesn’t freeze solid, so you can crush, slice, or chop the cloves and prepare it for your recipe as you would with fresh garlic.
The texture of the frozen garlic cloves will change and become softer than fresh, but it will hold all the flavor of garlic. Frozen cloves maintain their color and flavor better then chopped or minced garlic.
Freezing Minced Garlic
Taking the time to chop or mince your garlic before freezing makes it much easier when it is time to prepare meals. You can use frozen chopped garlic in any recipe the same way you would use fresh garlic.
To freeze minced garlic, first separate the garlic cloves, remove the peelings, and trim off the root ends. Add the garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the garlic is minced to your liking. Scoop the minced garlic out of the food processor into a small freezer bag and flatten.
Score indents with a butter knife or bamboo skewer to make it easy to break off squares as needed for cooking.
Place the bag of minced garlic in the freezer. Freezing it flat makes it easy to store.
To use frozen minced garlic, simply separate sections and add to your recipes. One teaspoon of minced garlic is roughly equal to one clove.
Freezing Pureed Garlic and Oil
Cooking meals for the week can be a challenge, but grabbing a cube of pureed garlic and oil from the freezer can save you some time. Puree garlic and oil together in a blender or food processor before you freeze it into ice cube trays. Once frozen, these garlic cubes will keep their flavor and are ready to sauté or stir-fry in a hot pan.
To make garlic and oil puree, first separate the cloves from the bulbs, peel off the skins, and trim the ends.
Place the garlic into a blender or food processor. Pulse the food processor several times to chop the garlic, and then add olive oil and blend to puree the garlic with the oil. One tablespoon of oil to one head of garlic is a good place to start. Add more or less oil to your liking.
Scoop the puree into small ice-cube trays and place in the freezer until frozen, about 2 hours. After the cubes are frozen, add them to a freezer bag and store in your freezer for up to 6 months.
You can also freeze the pureed garlic and oil in a flattened freezer bag the same way as minced garlic above, or use a teaspoon to scoop out the puree and flash freeze in mounds on parchment paper.
To use, add the frozen pureed garlic and oil as you would fresh and cook according to your recipe. A one-inch cube of pureed garlic and oil equals about one tablespoon of pureed garlic.
Freezing Roasted Garlic Paste
Frozen roasted garlic is perfect for adding flavor without having to cook it before hand. Roasting changes the garlic flavor from sharp to mild and sweet, and adds a flavorful depth to dips, soups, stews, and salad dressing.
I have a separate article that shows the steps to roasting garlic:
Once the garlic is roasted and removed from the skins, mash the roasted cloves with a fork to form a paste. Use a teaspoon to measure the roasted garlic, and mound it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Freeze until solid, and then add to freezer zipper bags. This helps prevent the roasted garlic from sticking together allowing you to grab one or two teaspoons as needed for meal preparation. One teaspoon mashed roasted garlic equals approximately one clove of garlic.
You can also place the roasted garlic paste in a freezer bag, score, and freeze flat, or in mini ice cube trays as illustrated above.
Garlic is a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, sauces, pasta dishes, or any number of recipes. Freezing garlic cloves, minced garlic, pureed garlic in oil, or roasted garlic paste is a great way to preserve the fresh flavor for all your winter meals. Plus you will love the convenience of having prepared garlic ready to go at mealtime.
How to Freeze Garlic
- 10 garlic bulbs
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil adjust to your liking for pureed garlic and oil
Prepare the Garlic
- Separate the garlic cloves from the bulbs, remove the peelings, and trim the root ends.
To Freeze Whole Garlic Cloves
- Place the garlic cloves in a freezer-safe zipper bag. Squeeze out the air and seal it closed. Add today's date and place it in the freezer. Use within 6 months for the best flavor.
To Freeze Minced Garlic
- Add the garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the garlic is minced to your liking.
- Place the minced garlic in a freezer bag and flatten to squeeze out the air.
- Press indents to make it easy to break off squares as needed for cooking.
- Seal the bag, add today's date, place the minced garlic flat in the freezer, and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To Freeze Pureed Garlic and Oil
- Place the garlic cloves into a blender or food processor.
- Pulse the food processor several times to chop the garlic.
- Add some of the olive oil and blend to puree the garlic with the oil. Add more or less oil to your liking.
- Spoon the garlic puree into small ice cube trays and place in the freezer until frozen, about 2 hours.
- Once frozen, release the cubes from the tray, place in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 6 months.
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