Q. My neighbour dropped off a whole bunch of garlic that he grew in his garden, and I’m not sure what to do with it all. I like using garlic in recipes, but I can’t possibly use all the garlic he gave me! I don’t have a pantry or cold room to put the garlic in either. Can you freeze garlic cloves?
A. You’re in luck, because garlic freezes extremely well! There are many ways to freeze garlic, depending on how you plan to use it, so choose the method that suits your needs best, or divide the garlic and freeze batches of it using different methods. Garlic that has been frozen and then thawed may lose some of its firm texture, but should not lose any of its flavour or nutritional properties. To avoid the garlic smell from transferring to other items in your freezer, make sure to package it well.
To Freeze Garlic
The simplest way to freeze garlic is just to freeze raw, whole garlic cloves. To do this, separate the garlic cloves from the bulb by pulling them apart with your fingers. Next, peel each clove by pressing down on the clove with the flat edge of a knife until the papery coating cracks and can be peeled off with your fingers. Then, place the garlic cloves in freezer bags. Remove as much of the air from the bags as possible, then seal and label them. Garlic cloves can be frozen for up to a year. To thaw, remove the desired number of cloves from the bag and let thaw in the fridge. The bulbs may be a bit softer, but they are still perfect for use in recipes.
For more convenient use, you can chop garlic cloves into slices before freezing. To freeze slices, place the slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and place the sheet in the freezer until slices are frozen. The slices can then be placed in freezer bags without sticking or clumping together. Remove the air from the freezer bag and seal tightly. To use, simply remove the desired amount and add directly to recipes where the garlic will be cooked through. No need to thaw first.
If you typically use garlic in recipes that call for minced garlic, you can freeze minced or pureed garlic in olive oil. Simply chop or puree garlic, and pour enough olive oil to coat. Stir the mixture well, and then store in a freezer safe container or a freezer bag. The oil may turn white while frozen, but will return to normal upon thawing. To use, simply scoop our desired amount and add to recipe.