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Here’s how to preserve garlic in oil – store it in the fridge or freezer.
Garlic is one of the easiest things to grow in your food garden. You can grow quite a few heads of garlic in a fairly small space. Garlic doesn’t mind growing in the garden or in containers or pots on your deck. You can also buy garlic at the farmer’s market.
We grow a lot of garlic bulbs here; we have always loved eating it and every year I just kept planting more and more. There is no such thing as too much garlic in our house! We use it in all kinds of marinades and sauces.
I want to show you how to preserve garlic in oil. Plus, other ways to store garlic safely!
Normally, we store whole garlic bulbs and whole cloves on the kitchen counter in an open weave basket for ventilation. Storing bulbs in a terracotta or ceramic garlic jar (dishwasher safe) like this one works well too and pretty garlic keepers look nice on the counter.
But as the year (and the shelf life of garlic) goes by, you may find your clove of garlic getting softer. It’s at this point that you want to consider preserving garlic – here are several ways.
How to Preserve Garlic in Oil
Here’s how to store garlic cloves in oil:
- Fill a clean quart mason jar with the garlic cloves.
- Slowly pour extra virgin olive oil over the cloves in the glass jar.
- Add enough oil to completely cover the cloves. Make sure that no part of the cloves are exposed to the air.
- The garlic MUST be completely covered.
Wipe the rim of the jar using a clean paper towel or cloth. Making sure the rim is clean will mean the lid can make a good seal.
Storing Garlic in the Fridge
Add the seal and ring to the mason jar and close tightly. Then, put the jar in the refrigerator and keep it there. Remove the cloves as needed for cooking, but be sure to return the jar to the fridge.
The oil will solidify and it doesn’t look as pretty as when you first added the oil, but it is much safer to store the jar in the fridge. Plus, grab some oil mixture along with the garlic and grease your cooking pan! Just remember to have the cloves completely covered while stored in the fridge.
Once you’ve used all the cloves in the jar, you now have garlic flavored oil to use in all kind of meals!
Storing fresh or raw garlic in oil at room temperature provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
Don’t take that chance!
Other Ways to Store Garlic Bulbs
How to store garlic bulbs whole?
The easiest way to store garlic is with whole bulbs. Trim the roots and the stalks of cured garlic and store the bulbs in woven baskets or anything that allows air flow to the bulbs. Wire baskets will work as well.
Don’t fill the baskets all the way up with garlic. Shallow layers work the best so there will be airflow around all the bulbs.
Try to NOT store garlic in a paper bag, unless you have only a few bulbs. Plus it must be fully dried garlic. Realize that if any of the bulbs have any moisture at all, the bulbs can easily start to degrade and mold.
Always use an open weave basket or something where each bulb has air flow.
Preserving Garlic in Vinegar
While storing garlic in oil is a great way to preserve it – and offers the added bonus of lots of garlic-infused oil for cooking – you can store garlic for up to four months when you preserve it in vinegar.
Simply place your peeled cloves in a heat-safe container. Bring vinegar to a boil and add your hot vinegar to your container, making sure none of your cloves are exposed to the air.
Can I store garlic in oil in the freezer?
Yes, you can freeze garlic to preserve the garlic in oil you’ve mixed together. You can use either minced or chopped garlic or whole garlic cloves.
Different Ways to Preserve Garlic by Freezing
You can easily freeze garlic – here are several different ways.
Freezing Minced Garlic in Olive Oil
If you want to freeze minced garlic then you’ll need to puree the peeled garlic cloves in a food processor or blender. This minced garlic is great frozen in small containers that you can easily grab as needed.
A good rule of thumb is one part garlic to two parts oil. You’ll need to freeze garlic in an airtight container like small jars or a tightly sealed Ziploc bag with the date written on it.
This packaging must be resistant to moisture so the oil can do its job to protect your pureed garlic inside the container.
Freezing Garlic in Oil in Ice Cube Trays
Here’s one of my favourite ways to freeze garlic (we love the convenience) – we basically just chop the clove and fill ice cube trays with cloves, leaving room for the oil.
Top each section with oil and store in the freezer. Once froze, you can transfer them into Ziplock bags. This makes it so easy to just pop out a couple of cubes of frozen garlic in oil for adding to your dinner recipes.
Using a food processor to mince garlic is a very fast way to get your garlic preserved for eating later in the year. We find our food processor is one of the best kitchen tools we have. It gets a LOT of use in our kitchen.
Freezing Minced Garlic
If you want to go without the garlic in oil option but still want minced garlic, after peeling garlic cloves, just add them to the food processor. Get the garlic to a texture that you prefer and place it inside an airtight container that’s moisture resistant.
This container can be placed in the freezer to freeze garlic for up to six months. And it is so much cheaper than buy a jar at the grocery store.
Freezing Garlic Cloves
If you’d rather freeze garlic cloves, that’s easy too. Just peel your garlic gloves and seal them inside an airtight container and place them in your freezer. You don’t need oil to freeze garlic as cloves or bulbs.
How Long will Garlic Last in the Freezer?
Garlic will stay good in the freezer for approximately six months. While it doesn’t last long in comparison to a lot of other garden food, it is a great option for preserving garlic if you don’t have room to store bulbs.
Does freezing garlic destroy allicin?
Allicin is a natural antifungal, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic substance that can be found in garlic. Garlic contains a lot of allicin when it’s fresh from the garden, but the allicin content does slowly diminish the longer you store garlic.
Freezing garlic will retain more allicin than, let’s say, putting it in the refrigerator. Fresh garlic typically loses allicin in 2 and a half days. Most people recommend allowing your fresh garlic to sit for at least 15 minutes before consuming it as the allicin is at its height in that time.
Freezing your fresh garlic within 15 minutes of the harvest will allow you to retain the most allicin properties of your garlic.
Garlic, Oil and Botulism
Let’s talk food safety here, it’s important and you need to be careful! Here’s some information about possibilities of getting Botulism from storing garlic improperly.
Storing garlic cloves in oil helps to extend the life of your garlic cloves, but it is important to use the garlic as quickly as possible. As you are using it, always make sure that your garlic is always completely submerged in the oil to keep it from growing bad things.
Can you get Botulism from garlic in olive oil?
Botulism is a type of food poisoning that causes breathing problems, blurred vision, and other difficulties that can prove to be fatal.
The growth of clostridium botulinum can create poison in garlic when you store garlic in oil but not refrigerate it. This substance is not something you’ll notice or smell. This is why you must follow proper procedures when storing garlic in oil.
To reduce the risk of getting Botulism from garlic in oil you’ll need to store your raw garlic in oil inside the refrigerator and use it within 2-3 weeks.
You can safely store garlic in oil for about 4 months in the freezer. Any garlic in oil mixture left at room temperature for two hours should be thrown away.
How to tell when garlic in oil has gone bad or rancid?
There are a few ways to tell when garlic in oil has gone bad or rancid. The look, smell, and feel test will help you determine whether your garlic in oil has gone bad.
The first way to tell if your garlic in oil has gone bad or rancid is to do the smell test. If your oil smells somewhat sweet then your container of garlic in oil has gone bad. To give you a better sense of what “sweet” means, it’s a similar scent to Elmer’s Glue.
Another sign that your garlic in oil has gone bad or rancid is to look at the garlic. If it has developed brown or yellowish spots or smells somewhat sour then the container is bad and you must throw it away.
Why is my garlic in oil bubbling?
If you notice your oil bubbling, that indicates that it is very possibly contaminated. It could be botulism or a variety of other things – but none of them should be eaten. The safest option when your garlic olive oil bubbles is to throw it out.
Why does garlic turn blue?
If you use tap water to store your garlic, you may find that your garlic turns blue. Using distilled water, iodine-free salt, and stainless steel cookware can help deter this process from occurring.
The reason your garlic turns blue is that the garlic enzymes break down over time causing the natural sulfur in garlic to interact with the enzymes. This process can turn your stored garlic a slightly blue or green color.
The good news is that you can consume garlic that’s turned green or blue. This process of the sulfur interacting with the breakdown of the enzymes merely changes the color of the stored garlic, not the flavor or potency.
So if your garlic turned blue, it is still fine to eat.
How long do garlic cloves last?
Garlic cloves last around 3 weeks – don’t peel the cloves until you are ready to use them! After several weeks, the flavor will definitely start to decrease, although they are certainly still fine for cooking!
Whether you preserve Garlic in oil, or store Garlic using one of these preservation methods, remember:
You can use garlic in so many meals and it helps promote good health. Sneaking minced garlic into your eggs and other meals helps promote good blood flow to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Using my tips for garlic storage, you can easily keep your harvest of garlic longer so that your family enjoys garlic all year round.
Grow your own, support your local farmer’s market or put in an online order for garlic!
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published on Dec 3, 2016 updated Apr 29, 2021