Freezing Garlic in 3 Simple Steps
Freezing Garlic can be simple and fun!
The common cliché is you “can never have too much garlic.” We couldn’t agree more. How to store garlic by freezing is relatively simple. Freezing whole unpeeled bulbs, individual garlic cloves (peeled and unpeeled), and freezing minced and chopped garlic is simple and fun. You can also cook or process garlic into various forms and then freeze it for later use that will make meal preparation a breeze. Frozen garlic lacks the crunchy texture of the fresh version, but the flavor remains very robust and strong — and it definitely lacks the dull taste that sometimes accompanies jarred garlic or pre-packaged garlic. Starting with fresh garlic before you freeze it is definitely the way to go.
Before you begin the freezing …
Select the highest quality organic (if possible) you can find. The better the garlic, the better the flavor after freezing it. No question.Garlic can be frozen either as cloves or as a whole head, but it will lose some of its texture and its potent flavor during freezing. Check to see if your garlic is ready for harvest when half the leaves turn brown and the other half remains green (usually the stems have fallen over). Fresh garlic will feel firm and should not contain wet spots, mold or have green shoots around the head.
Preparing for Freezing:
Trim the stems and peel and separate cloves. Leave cloves unpeeled if freezing the entire head.
- Make sure the garlic is well-dried, but firm without any sticky or wetness. Sticky or wet garlic is likely better used immediately and won’t freeze very at all.
- Verify that there aren’t any green shoots coming out of the top.
- Confirm there is no mold on the garlic.
- Wash any dirt or dust off the garlic and let it dry out.
Allicin is the key:
You want to maintain the flavor and benefits of the garlic. Allicin is the ingredient that makes garlic so special.Almost immediately after the skin is removed from the garlic cloves the flavor begins to degrade and so does the Allicin. The goal is to avoid these issues. Let the garlic sit for 5-10 minutes after pressing, mincing, chopping, slicing before you freeze it because it takes time for the Allicin to form which is the ingredient containing all of garlics health benefits. The more finely the garlic is pressed, minced or otherwise the more Allcin that gets released. You should also wait 5-10 minutes with fresh garlic to get those benefits of garlic. Garlic is one of the world’s healthiest foods, so take good care to preserve it properly.
Learn how to peel garlic fast and easy using a GarlicShaker. Watch video:
How can you freeze it…?
The simple answer is garllic can be frozen in a many ways. You just have to choose which method is right for your situation. What state is the garlic in prior to choosing to freeze it?
- Whole, or peeled raw cloves
- Roasted garlic cloves
- Chopped raw in oil (very risky and dangerous)
- Raw garlic paste
- Roasted garlic paste
Note: Frozen garlic is perfect when the texture is not a primary concern. The flavor or frozen garlic isn’t significantly different from fresh, but the texture is definitely different. Frozen garlic will be significantly softer in texture than fresh garlic. The better you prepare it, the better it will tastes when you unfreeze it for cooking.
It’s delicious in…
- Spread on sandwiches
- Salad dressings
- Soups and soup stocks
- Sauces, especially pasta and BBQ
- Meats, fish, and poultry
- Bread, biscuits and bread sticks
1) To freeze whole unpeeled bulbs keep the leaves on the entire garlic bulb. Put in a plastic bag, plastic wrap or aluminum foil if desired. This will help prevent freezer burn if stored for a long period of time. If you are going to use the garlic soon then using a bag, plastic wrap, or foil is not necessary. The bulb can just be put in the freezer as is with the skin and leaves on. If you don’t store in a bag, plastic, or aluminum is recommend that you use the garlic bulb within one week. You can freeze individual garlic cloves by removing the leaves and cleaning the cloves. Put them in a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap and put in the freezer. The individual cloves can be removed as needed. This process is known as dry pack. You can also tray pack in the same manner with whole garlic cloves by laying them on a single layer cooking sheet or tray.
2) A good method for freezing minced or chopped garlic is to wrap it up tightly in a freezer plastic bag or plastic wrap. Peel, chop or mince the garlic. Remove any extra skin or material you don’t plan to use later after freezing. You want to make sure the container you use is as air tight as possible and then put it in the freezer. It then form a garlic cluster as it freezes. When the garlic is chopped or minced, and then frozen it is easy to just break off as much as you need at any given time. This is a big advantage in managing your usage. Garlic frozen this way can last a very long time. It is wise to date your garlic freeze date to manage its freshness.This process is also known as dry pack. You can also tray pack in the same manner with peeled, chopped, minced cloves by laying them on a single layer cooking sheet or tray.
3) A common method for freezing garlic is placing peeled garlic cloves—chopped or whole—in olive oil. To freeze an entire head you will want leave the whole head unpeeled. This is actually the only safe way to preserve garlic in oil. But you really have to know what you are doing. Garlic is a low acid food, and when it’s placed in oil, the environment lacks oxygen. This combination provides the perfect growing conditions for the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which produces botulism-causing toxin. Botulism is a VERY dangerous disease and even deadly. Never store garlic in oil or make garlic infusions at home unless you have studied and are very clear about how to avoid the risks and dangers of botulism. When homemade garlic oil or infusions are left stored unrefrigerated or kept for too long the chance of botulism is very real. People getting sick from their homemade infusions is a common occurrence. We don’t recommend it and neither does the FDA. Never store garlic in oil (frozen or un-frozen) at room temperature. Similar problems exist for roasted garlic stored in oil. We don’t recommend freezing garlic oil at all to be safe, but if you are going to do so then use the garlic oil immediately and completely. Do not try to re-freeze the garlic oil under any circumstances. Better to make it and use it right away. It's the only way to be safe.
Packaging choices are…
Make sure whatever containers you decide to use are air tight, moisture and vapor resistant. Verify that there aren't any cracks in the container and it won't break when frozen. If it does break or crack then throw out the contents. They could be contaminated with botulism.This is critical! Air will cause freezer burn and ruin the garlic. Packaging that is cold resistant and will not break when frozen are the best choice for obvious reasons. If the container breaks, the garlic is ruined. You want to use containers that that protect against flavor absorption and leeching. It is also helpful to use packaging that you can label and date so you know how old the frozen garlic is before using it. Freezer grade Tupperware or plastic bags, rigid plastic containers, glass containers, and well folded aluminum foil can all work well. You can even freeze it in ice trays overnight to make cubes, but then store those cubes in air tight containers. The maximum storing time to use your frozen garlic is between 10-12 months. We highly recommend using within six months because our experience is that the flavor does begin to degrade after approximately six months. Maximum storage time is twelve months, but we advise against this practice. Freeze it at 0 degrees fahreheit.
We recommend sticking with the safer storage methods previously discussed, or even trying freezing garlic puree or paste instead. You can make paste or puree with your fresh cloves by mixing them in a blender or food processor. You can a dash of salt and touch of olive oil – just enough to form a paste. Use a spoon, or ice cream scoop to form small or large balls of garlic paste. If possible, flash freeze the balls and then put into air tight freezer bags. These frozen balls of garlic paste will prove valuable in your kitchen. For more ways to preserve garlic read our garlic preparation and storage page. Too make these recipes you will have to peel your garlic. Watch video to learn more about the newest garlic peeler gadget.
Using Frozen Garlic…
You can use frozen garlic virtually the same way you would use fresh garlic. It is easy to minced, chop, slice, press or puree even when it is frozen. Freezing garlic is really a great solution if you find an amazing deal and want to lock in those cost benefits or you find a crop that is particularly delicious and you want to extend the life of that batch over the long-term. If you grow your own garlic you often end up with a lot more than you can use quickly. You can give away to friends of course, but if you want to keep it for your family freezing is really the best solution. You don't have to thaw the garlic before you use it.
Can I just refrigerate garlic?
Yes, but use it within 2-3 days maximum. The flavor and texture will deteriorate and you run risks of botulism.
To peel garlic cloves easily. Open your Garlic Shaker®. Toss an in a handful of garlic cloves. Close the lids. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Open a lid. Pour out the peeled garlic cloves. They will be fresh and ready to use immediately.