Do you know anyone who doesn't cook with garlic? Me neither. Those plump garden grown cloves help season most all of our meals.
How do we store them all through fall and winter? Well this year I've tried something new and I am so, so, so happy I did!
I've wanted to peel and store garlic in olive oil for several years. Usually we are so busy come fall that it never happens. Garlic stores just fine how it is.
So why change? Is it really better? Yes my friend it is!
3 REason preserving garlic in Olive oil is better
1. Garlic is easier to peel when it is fresh. You don't even have to wait for it to cure. Dig it up then peel. The skin comes off so much easier this way.
2. Your garlic is already peeled for all your cooking adventures.
3. You automatically get a little olive oil with your garlic. I can't think of anything that I use garlic in that doesn't call for olive oil as well.
4. Pretty much number 2 but so wonderful it must be mentioned again, your done peeling garlic til next season!!!
Peeling the Garlic
I have an entire post on harvesting and curing garlic here if you want to learn more about that but for this process it isn't necessary to cure the garlic. We simply dug it up and the broke the gloves apart. We did not get this all done in one day so ours did dry out a bit but they still peeled super easy.
I have to tell you how this all began. I mentioned earlier that we always ran out out time to peel all the garlic. Well, we didn't have any more time this year than any other year. If anything, we had less, but one day my 6 and 4 year old decided to start peeling the garlic. They must have heard us talking about it and they usually like to help me peel it when we are cooking so it is nothing new to them.
You can imagine I was very grateful when I found them peeling it. I made sure I got everything out I wanted to save for planting (always use the biggest, healthiest cloves for planting) I told them if they peeled it all they could help me preserve it. So away they peeled. Then the next morning I woke up to find the two of them up before everyone else peeling garlic!
Wow! they were really getting after it! They ended up peeling about half of the garlic that we were planning on keeping for eating which is really quite a bit for the two of them. I did help a little, but just a little. I'll take half of the garlic peeled over none at all any day!
This particular garlic peeled really easy by simply rubbing it together in our hands. The majority of it would peel this way. Any fresh garlic is easier to peel then cured garlic though, even if you have to peel each clove one at a time. The skin just doesn't stick to clove as much.
You can see how I rubbed them in my fist in the picture below or better yet, rub a handful between your hands.
Blanching the garlic
There are mixed opinions on whether or not you can store plain garlic in olive oil, at least for long periods of time. Some say it can grow botulism because it is an anaerobic environment. I would feel perfectly comfortable if I was going use it all up within a week or two, and the research I did seemed to say the same. That is an option if you want to make a smaller jar that you will use more quickly.
I wanted a big quart jar though. You can actually fit a lot of garlic cloves in a quart jar. More than I thought for sure. It is going to last more than a week or two even feeding this household of 10 and thus I blanched the garlic first.
Wash the garlic to get rid of any little pieces of garlic skin or debris that is hanging on and you are ready to blanch it.
To blanch the garlic I put about 3-4 tbsp. of vinegar in a 2 quart pan and added water to fill it about 80% of the way full.
Once the water is boiling add a layer of garlic and blanch for 2 minutes. You don't want to cook the garlic, remember we are just blanching it.
Drain the garlic and let it dry completely.
PAcking the JAR
Once the garlic is completely dry you are ready to pack your jar. Nothing special needed here, just fill it with you garlic cloves as tight as you can. Once you're done with that pour on the olive oil.
Our top pick for olive oil is Kirklands Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, cold pressed. As soon as one order comes in we order the next. Don't want to run out of this stuff!
Once you have added the olive oil run a butter knife down the side of the jar a few times to release any air bubbles. Now top it off with more olive oil if needed and you're done!
Store in the fridge and use as needed. The olive oil does firm up once it is refrigerated but it doesn't get hard like coconut oil. It is very easy to spoon out.
When I need some garlic I take out the desired amount of cloves and mince, then add them to a heated pan, no need for extra oil.
I put the remainder of the garlic in a plastic ziplock bag and store it in the freezer. I will fill up my quart jar as needed. Since the garlic was blanched, freezing it will not effect the texture.
It is so nice to have all of this garlic prepped. I am thankful every time I go to use it. I remind my two little ones who did so much of the peeling how helpful it was for mommy, and I know that it makes them feel good to hear about how much they helped me.
We use quite a bit of our garlic for canning. Then we plant between 600-700 cloves each fall. Whatever is left is what we use for cooking.
So I still have a box of garlic that isn't peeled. My 4 year old daughter does still peel some now and again. Whenever she sees the box she says "Mommy! We have to get that garlic peeled!" Then I give her a little bowl and tell her she can peel as much as she would like.
I made my first jar on Sept. 2 and I still have about a third of a jar left. I've liked it so much that I think I will work harder to make time to peel all those garlic cloves in the years to come.
I realize that I am writing this in November. Your garlic isn't fresh from the garden anymore. I tried friends, fall is just so dang busy! But at least I got the pictures so I can share this with you now and you can be prepared for next fall. And you can even do it with you garlic now, it will just be a little harder to peel. Still very, very doable!
So what is your favorite way to preserve garlic? Do you keep it in cloves, can it, freeze it, dry it? What do you do?
We are nearing garden planning time friends! I'll be doing a post on my favorite seed sources so stay tuned for that and I'll see you soon!
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I look forward to sharing my gardening and homestead adventures to help you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!