There’s this little gap in the year where for a few months before fresh garlic comes on the market in late spring/early summer, it’s damn near impossible to buy locally grown garlic and the only other choice is that hideous chemical cocktail also-known-as cheap imported Chinese garlic. For a good few years, once the last clove of locally or homegrown garlic had been eaten, we’d simply go without garlic during this time. But last year I got smart and planned ahead, buying up as much locally grown garlic as I could during autumn/winter and preserving it using a couple of different methods.
The first and most simplest way to preserve garlic is to simply peel cloves and freeze them in zip-lock bags. You can grate them from frozen or slightly defrost and chop finely. The results are a tad on the water-logged side, but still a much better alternative to that icky white crap that I refuse to buy. If you’re wondering why I’m so anti this stuff, read this post that I wrote a few years back. Now is also the time to plant your own garlic if you have lovely soil and room in your garden (we’ve tried at our current rental, but the soil’s just no good), it’s one of the most rewarding things to grow and if you haven’t already got yours in the ground, read how to in that post I linked to above.
Lastly, I’ve got a few little bits and pieces to share before I go:
* Here’s a interview I did on Radio NZ recently, if ya missed it.
* Great article in the Waikato Times last weekend. Read online here.
* I shared my favourite sushi recipe over on Food52 the other day! Whoop!
* Here’s a lovely book review, including a few recipes from my cookbook.
Preserved garlic in extra virgin olive oil
Because I like to keep the cloves whole, it does take awhile to peel them! Apparently there’s little gadgets out there that take the hassle out of peeling garlic, but I don’t own one yet! There’s also this little trick that you could try, although I’m not sure it will work for all types of garlic? I may be wrong though.
Makes a enough to fill a 1 litre glass jar.
450g locally grown garlic (bonus points for organic or homegrown), peeled
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon unrefined raw sugar
apple cider vinegar to cover, approx. 500ml
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1-2 fresh or dried bay leaves
Extra virgin olive oil to cover, approx. 200ml
Place peeled garlic, salt and sugar into a medium saucepan and pour over just enough apple cider vinegar to cover. Bring up to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic is just tender but still firm. Drain well (reserve the vinegar, cool it and use it in dressings etc), and pat the garlic dry on paper towels. Pack into a large sterilised glass jar (or a few smaller ones), add herbs and top up with extra virgin olive oil to cover completely. Seal and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 months. Use the leftover garlic-infused olive oil for dressings.
NOTE: The reason I cook the garlic in vinegar first is to acidify it, hence minimising any chance of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum from forming (which can cause botulism). If however you are still concerned, simply place the cooked garlic and oil into zip-lock bags and then freeze until needed instead of storing in a glass jar in the fridge or just freeze your garlic cloves whole.
* To sterilise jars, clean them in hot soapy water, rinse and place into 120 C/248 F oven for 30 minutes. Stand lids in boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilise.