When you get 12 heads of garlic instead of the single one you ordered for grocery delivery, you have a few options.
Wait, can you freeze garlic? Yes! There are a few ways to go about it, but each one will give you flavorful, pungent garlic at your fingertips (but not on your fingertips) whenever you need it.
Here are the 3 best methods for freezing garlic, depending on how you want to use it in the end.
How to freeze garlic: the immediately lazy way
Just separate the cloves, but don’t peel them. Put them in a mason jar or other lidded container and freeze them.
When you’re ready to use the garlic in a recipe, you can peel and chop as many cloves as you need.
Freezing whole garlic cloves changes the texture a bit: they’ll be a little bit spongy once they thaw.
And because they’re already a little softer, the slices or chopped paste will cook faster in the pan than fresh garlic will. Keep a close eye on your garlic if you’re cooking it from frozen to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Also, take heed that larger cloves won’t thaw as quickly as smaller cloves. So if you want to smash them and then mince them, you’re going to have to wait a few minutes before doing so.
Try it in my favorite Caesar dressing.
How to freeze garlic: the delayed gratification way
This method of freezing garlic requires more up-front work, but you’ll be rewarded with an easier prep time when it comes to cooking with the frozen garlic.
You’re essentially making your own minced garlic cubes.
Peel as many garlic cloves as you have or want to use (at least 2 heads’ worth of garlic to make this method worthwhile).
Place them in a mini food processor and add enough olive oil to lightly coat the cloves—not to cover them completely. Use about 1 tablespoon for every head’s worth of cloves.
Pulse to chop the garlic, scraping the bowl down as needed, until the cloves are coarsely minced.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and drop teaspoons of the minced garlic puree onto the sheet. Freeze solid, then transfer the drops to a sealed container or bag.
Each teaspoon is about the equivalent of 1 large garlic clove or 2 small-to-medium cloves.
Use them as you would fresh garlic in any recipe that calls for sauteeing or simmering garlic. Just remember that these, too, cook faster than fresh garlic would in the same recipe.
Try it in one-pot pasta fagioli!
One more way: roast it
If you have so much garlic that you can still freeze whole cloves and make garlic paste blobs and still have a bunch of heads of garlic left over, you can roast them and freeze the puree.
Follow the instructions for roasting garlic, but instead of wrapping one individual head of garlic in foil, wrap a whole bunch.
You can do them individually or just line them up on one big foil square and wrap it up as an oversized package.
If you’re roasting multiple heads in the same piece of foil, it will take longer for the garlic to roast. Carefully peel a corner of foil open to check after 1 hour, and keep checking every 15 minutes until the garlic is golden brown.
Once the garlic is roasted and cool enough to handle, squeeze the puree out of all the heads into a bowl.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and drop tablespoons of roasted garlic puree onto the sheet. Freeze solid, then transfer to a sealed container or bag.
Use these little blobs of rich garlic flavor anywhere you want a little boost.
Or add directly from frozen to broth for an upgraded French onion soup.