Garlic season is over, so if you don’t want to use garlic from the other end of the world in the New Year pork aspic in December, now it is the time to procure a domestic grown variety, and preserve it properly for the winter.
Selecting and storing garlic
Purchase garlic from a marketplace if possible. Always choose only intact and healthy produce, and avoid garlic with soft or damaged cloves.
The easiest way for home storage is in mesh bags or loosely woven baskets. If you managed to buy garlic with the stems left on, you may braid a wreath and hang it up for a great kitchen decoration.
Garlic has the longest storage life at average humidity and approximately 10 to 15 degrees Celsius; this is the reason why it is difficult to store it in heated homes, as it will dry out fast. The good news is, however, that you can use little tricks to prevent this from happening. For example, if you store garlic in an unglazed clay pot, the cloves will stay fresh for a longer time. If this is not possible, there are a few other options to eat flavorful garlic in the winter.
Storing garlic in the refrigerator
Large coolers are a great invention; a bottom drawer is a pretty good place for the garlic to be stored. However, you must take into consideration that if garlic is kept at room temperature for a longer time, it will start sprouting, even if it’s only the middle of January.
Storing garlic in the freezer
Although garlic can be stored by freezing, garlic preserved this way is not very palatable. The best thing to do if you choose this method is to finely mince the garlic and add a little water, and then freeze the mixture in the ice cube container. When completely frozen, transfer the cubes into a well-sealed container; otherwise you will wonder why the strawberry cake previously stored in the freezer will taste like garlic too.
This method is very simple. Chop the cloves into thin slices and dry them in the oven at 50-60 degrees. Leave the oven door open. When the slices turn crisp, remove them and crush them into powder. Garlic powder can be preserved for several months if stored in a tightly closed jar.
If your garlic slices are done drying, you might want to try out garlic flavored oil as well. Throw some browned garlic slices at the bottom of a bottle and fill the bottle up with olive oil. A few weeks later, you will have a very tasty oil for cooking or for salads.