freeze garlic cloves

Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?

Garlic is a staple ingredient for a well-stocked kitchen. Almost every dish of any cuisine, we make calls for at least a clove or two of this aromatic herb.

On the other hand, if you don’t use a ton of it in your cooking, it takes a while to empty a pack. At this point, you might be wondering: Can you freeze garlic for future use?

Absolutely, yes. Freezing garlic is a great preservation method as well as a time-saving hack.

If you use the aromatic herb frequently in your cooking, you’ll realize how much time is spent on peeling, slicing, or chopping it. Freezing garlic in bulk allows you to complete this tedious task up-front and have the aromatic ready to use anytime you need it!

This article walks you through our easy step-to-step guides for freezing garlic. Read on!

Various Ways to Freeze Garlic

Garlic is the flavor powerhouse in any cuisine. In case you have an extra amount that you can’t use before it starts sprouting, freezing is one of the best and easiest ways to preserve this aromatic spice for long-term storage. It also saves you money and time for meal prepping.

This potent herb can be frozen in a few different methods, and blanching is unnecessary. You can pick one freezing method that suits your preference and how you want to use it.

You can freeze garlic in various forms depending on your cooking needs:

  • Whole unpeeled bulbs
  • Individual cloves (peeled/ unpeeled)
  • Sliced or chopped
  • Minced
  • In oil

Regardless of the freezing method, we need to start with good quality bulbs. Choose fresh, firm bulbs. Avoid using soft, shriveled, moldy, or heavily-sprouted cloves. They’re not worth your freezer space. Clean the bulbs before proceeding to the next step. Remove any dirt, but don’t wash them.

Freezing Whole Garlic Bulbs

This freezing method is undoubtedly the easiest and quickest one. After selecting the bulbs, simply pack them in a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container. Expel excess air out of the bag and seal it tightly. Label with the freezing date and freeze it. That’s it!

Freezing Garlic Cloves (peeled or unpeeled)

  1. Select, clean, and break apart the bulbs into individual cloves.
  2. You can peel them or freeze them unpeeled. If you often have a busy weeknight to prepare dinner, it will be more convenient to have them peeled before freezing.
  3. Pack them in a resealable freezer bag, mason jar, or freezer-safe container. If using a bag, you can also wrap them in aluminum foil before tucking them in the bag.
  4. Seal it tightly and freeze.

Freezing Minced Garlic

  1. Select, clean, and peel the cloves. You can also buy pre-peeled cloves to save time.
  2. Mince them manually with a knife, in a garlic presser, or blend in a food processor. Add oil and salt if you like.
  3. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper.
  4. Spoon minced garlic into the sheet. You can adjust the amount for each portion. One teaspoon is roughly equal to one medium to big clove. We don’t recommend using ice cube trays or muffin tins because the garlicky aroma tends to linger on the molds.
  5. Wrap the sheet tightly and flash-freeze for a few hours.
  6. Once frozen, pack into a freezer bag.
  7. Seal it tightly and label it with the freezing date.

Freezing Garlic in Oil

Just a word of caution, preserving garlic in oil poses a risk of botulism poisoning if the mixture is not handled correctly. To avoid food poisoning, it should always be kept refrigerated at 40 °F or lower for a maximum of 4 days. (*)

So, if you use garlic in oil frequently, this method is your best choice. Here is how to do it.

  1. Select, clean, and peel fresh garlic cloves.
  2. Puree the cloves and prepare the mixture as usual. The standard ratio is 1 part garlic puree in 2 part oil.
  3. Package the mixture in glass jars or freezer-safe containers.
  4. Leave at least ½ inch headspace.
  5. Seal the container tightly and label it with the freezing date.
  6. Pop it in the freezer.

Keep in mind that all the steps above should be done immediately, so the harmful bacteria don’t have a chance to grow and spoil the mixture.

How to Thaw and Use Frozen Garlic

When it comes to thawing, you have a few options.

1. Refrigerator thawing. This is always the safest method to defrost frozen garlic regardless of the freezing method. Thawing a large amount takes longer, so make sure to do it in advance.

2. Defrost on the counter. Simply pull out as many bulbs/ cloves as you need and let them stand at room temperature while you are preparing other ingredients. After they are softer, continue with peeling, mincing, slicing, or chopping them according to the recipe. This method is totally forbidden for garlic in oil.

3. Use it frozen. If you freeze chopped, minced, or pureed garlic, you can break off a piece and add it frozen right into the pan.

Frozen garlic may lose some of its crunchy texture, but the strong and robust flavor is still there. In other words, you can use it on any recipes calling for the aromatic herb, for sautéing, stir-frying, roasting, in soup, sauce, condiments—anything, really.

How Long Can You Freeze Garlic?

Frozen garlic freezes pretty well for up to 3 to 6 months. It is possible to freeze it longer, but its flavor starts to diminish over time.

Make sure to regularly check your freezer’s temperature and set it at 0 °F (−18 °C) or lower to maintain the food safety and quality.


FAQs

Do you have to peel garlic before freezing?

No. You can freeze it in bulbs or cloves – peeled and unpeeled.

Is it okay to eat garlic with a brown spot?

Brown, soft spots, and mold appearance are general indicators that garlic has started to decay. Don’t use it and throw it out immediately.

Is frozen garlic as good as fresh?

Frozen garlic may lose some of its firm texture. But, you can still use it in cooked dishes to substitute the fresh ones. Freezing also retains the nutrient contents as well as extends the shelf life considerably. (*)

Summary

Garlic can be frozen in several ways: in bulbs, individual cloves (peeled or unpeeled), sliced or chopped, or in oil.

No matter which freezing method, always seal the container tightly, so the strong odor won’t escape and taint other foods.

Freezing garlic is a must-try if you need to deal with an excessive surplus or save time for meal prep. Next time you have too much fresh garlic to deal with, don’t hesitate to freeze it and use it at your own pace!

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*image by qwartm/depositphotos

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