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If you’ve recently harvested your garden or scored a great deal on garlic at the grocery store, it’s time to put those cloves to good use. Garlic can easily be transformed into various forms to add an irresistible aroma and taste to your favorite meals. From roasting to fermenting, there are numerous methods to make the most out of your extra garlic.
In this article, we will explore some of the best ways to utilize extra garlic in your kitchen, ensuring that none of those precious cloves go to waste. Whether you’re a garlic aficionado or a casual cook looking for new ideas, these suggestions will inspire you to get creative with your garlic surplus.
Ways to Use Extra Garlic
Roasting and Cooking with Garlic
If you have extra garlic on hand, roasting is a simple and flavorful way to use it. Roasted garlic can be added to your favorite recipes or mashed and spread on crusty bread as a delicious appetizer. To roast garlic, simply drizzle whole garlic bulbs with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake in the oven until tender and golden brown. Another delightful idea is to toss garlic cloves with vegetables like potatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and your choice of spices like rosemary or dill, then roast until aromatic and tender.
Garlic Infused Dishes
For garlic lovers, dishes like garlic soup and garlic chicken are sure to impress. Garlic soup is a warm and comforting dish that’s easy to make with just a few ingredients like fresh garlic, olive oil, and spices. Serve it with a side of crusty bread for dipping. Garlic chicken, on the other hand, is a versatile dish that can be prepared using different techniques such as grilling, stir-fry, or oven-baked. Marinate your chicken with a mixture of minced garlic, olive oil, lemon, and seasonings before cooking to ensure a flavorful and tender result.
Quick Garlic Snacks
For quick and tasty garlic treats, consider making garlic knots or garlic bread. Garlic knots are bite-sized pieces of soft dough tied into knots, baked until golden, and brushed with a mixture of melted garlic butter, olive oil, and fresh parsley. Garlic bread is another crowd-favorite, made by spreading garlic butter or oil on sliced bread, sprinkling with parmesan cheese, and toasting or grilling until crispy. If you’re in the mood for something crunchy, try frying thinly sliced fresh garlic in oil until golden and crispy. Top your salads with these fried garlic chips to add an extra layer of flavor and texture.
Garlic Dips and Sauces
If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate garlic into your meals, creating garlic dips and sauces is the way to go. Some popular options include garlic aioli, garlic mayo, and garlic-infused salad dressings. To make a simple garlic dip, blend together fresh garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, and your choice of creamy bases like mayonnaise, sour cream, or yogurt. Add your favorite herbs and spices, such as parsley, chives, or dill, to enhance the flavor. This dip is perfect for dipping vegetables and chips or drizzled over your favorite grilled dishes. For a more versatile sauce, mix crushed garlic with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to create a delicious marinade for meats and vegetables or a flavorful dressing for salads.
How to Store Garlic
Storing Fresh Garlic
To store fresh garlic, find a cool, dark, and well-ventilated space to keep the bulb’s flavor and freshness. An ideal storage spot is a cupboard or pantry. Keep it away from direct sunlight and heat to avoid unwanted sprouting. For optimal storage, you can use a garlic keeper or a mesh bag that allows air circulation. Do not store garlic in the refrigerator, as this encourages mold growth. Keep in mind that properly stored garlic can last up to 6 months.
If you have excess garlic cloves, consider freezing them for future use. After peeling, you can either puree or finely mince the garlic before freezing it. Mix minced garlic with a little oil to make a paste, which will help retain its texture and flavor.
To freeze, divide the garlic paste into individual portions using ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the garlic cubes into an airtight container or ziplock bag. Remember to label it with the date. Frozen garlic can last up to 9 months, and it’s perfect for incorporating into various recipes, including roasted garlic dishes.
Dehydrating and Making Garlic Powder
Using a dehydrator, you can preserve your garlic by creating garlic powder. Simply peel and thinly slice garlic cloves before placing them in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Set the dehydrator temperature to 125°F and let it run for 8-10 hours. Once the slices are dry and brittle, let them cool down.
After cooling, use a blender or spice grinder to turn the dehydrated garlic slices into a fine powder. Store the garlic powder in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dark place. Homemade garlic powder is a fantastic ingredient to have on hand for cooking and can last up to a year if stored properly.
Pickling is another excellent method for preserving your garlic cloves. Prepare a basic pickling solution with vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Customize your pickled garlic by adding your favorite spices, such as dill, mustard seeds, or red pepper flakes.
Place peeled garlic cloves in a sterilized jar and pour the pickling solution over them until fully covered. Seal with a tight lid and let the jar sit in a cool, dark place for at least a week to allow the flavors to develop. Pickled garlic can last up to 1 year when stored properly and is perfect for enhancing a variety of dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I create garlic-infused oil?
To create garlic-infused oil, peel and crush a few cloves of garlic, then pour your choice of oil (like olive or vegetable oil) into a saucepan. Add the garlic and heat the oil over low heat for around 20 minutes, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Strain the oil to remove the garlic pieces, and store it in a clean bottle or jar. Use the oil within 1-2 weeks and store it in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of bacteria.
What’s the best method to freeze garlic?
Freezing garlic is a fantastic way to preserve its flavor for future use. Peel the cloves and place them in a food processor or blender. Add a small amount of oil (about 1 part oil to 2 parts garlic) and blend into a smooth paste. Transfer the paste to an ice cube tray, and place it in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a resealable plastic bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Is it possible to make homemade minced garlic?
Yes, you can easily make homemade minced garlic. Start by peeling the cloves and then use a sharp knife to slice each clove into thin slivers. Gather the slivers and chop them back and forth, rotating the knife or the cutting board as needed until you achieve the desired texture. Store the minced garlic in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for longer storage.