One of the weirdest things about me is that I always prefer fresh to powdered spices but I’m too lazy to actually slice, dice, mince, or hack it up myself. I will also find an excuse to put garlic in pretty much everything, and I am fairly suspicious of any recipe where it’s not included.
I’ve tried a bazillion things over the years to make peeling garlic easier. I once had a rubber tube for rolling it one clove at a time. Uh uh. Took forever and a day. I considered for about 10 seconds the shake it in a giant bowl thing. I know myself. I pictured papery garlic peels floating and falling all around me like feathers after a pillow fight. Not to mention, I’d then have two extra bowls to wash. Not going to happen.
Smashing it seems to work well, especially if you’re going to finely dice/mince it or run it through a garlic press. The thing is, I find chopping it myself to be difficult. It gets slippery. I can’t keep my fingers curled under. I don’t want to haul out the food processor for a couple of cloves. In fact, I’m not fond of hauling out anything I have to take apart and clean just for a few cloves. I do have a garlic press. I got it at a Pampered Chef party the year before I started teaching second grade. One of my students came to me one day and said with his beautiful lisp, “You bought a garlic preth from my mom.” I used it once, found out what a pain in the kiester it is to clean, put it back in the drawer. I don’t have the heart to actually get rid of it.
Told you I’m lazy in the kitchen. I don’t lie.
Thus began my love affair many, many moons ago with pre-chopped garlic in jars. The day after I found out I am fruit intolerant I went to the grocery store to find a few things to make dinner. One of the items on my list was my beloved pre-chopped garlic in a jar. I think each of us with a food intolerance or allergy, whether it’s fruit, gluten, sugar, you name it, has panicked over something that you’d never think had the bad stuff in it. I looked at the jars of garlic and it occurred to me that might not just be garlic juice that seeped into the jars. I know. Garlic juice? I don’t know how that stuff gets bottled. It hit me there might be olive oil in it, so I turned a jar over to check.Two ingredients: garlic and citric acid. Here’s what my brain did: Wahoo! No olive–aw crap! Citric acid? Really? Well, crap. Except I’m trying to keep it clean. Crap is not the word that blazed through my head.
I did find a bag of peeled, fresh, whole cloves of garlic with absolutely nothing added. Score! Better yet, they came in smaller bags of 4 cloves each. But I don’t use that much garlic and I didn’t close the bag tightly enough and you really don’t want to know what my fridge smelled like. Wow.
Great. Now what?
Do it in bulk and freeze it, that’s what!
I did a little research on the Internet and was surprised and excited to learn there are several good alternatives. Regardless of what you choose to do, your storage container needs to be air tight. Here are my favorites methods for storing fresh garlic:
Method #1: Freeze whole, peeled garlic cloves in zippered sandwich bags. They’ll stick together once frozen, but no worries. Simply snap off what you need and grate it. Don’t use a giant box grater, though. OXO has a fabulous teeny one I use for grating parmesan. Use the tiny holes. If you have a microplane for the nutmeg you’re no longer able to eat, now you have another use for it.
Method #2: Process all the garlic at once in your food processor. Put it all in one freezer bag and snap off a little at a time as you need it. Or, and this might be my favorite suggestion, divvy it up in an ice cube tray. No kidding! You can see the full, super simple article with pictures of the steps in this post by Amanda at EggiLove. Please go read it. File it under “Why Didn’t I Think of That,” then marvel at the smarts it takes to come up with something so simple, yet so brilliant!
Fresh, already peeled garlic is getting easier to find. I’ve seen it in Safeway and Fred Meyer, as well as Chuck’s Produce. Amanda at EggiLove found hers at Costco.
Happy garlicking, my dear Fruities!!