Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mince and Preserve Your Own Garlic

The other day I was making a dish that required garlic.  So as is habit, I reached for the spice cabinet and to my horror I was out of garlic powder and garlic salt.  Nooooo!!!  Well, I guess it's time to figure out what to buy next.  Do I replace it with Walmart Great Value brand?  Nope.  I'm not 100% positive but I would imagine it's not the best quality garlic I could be feeding my family.

A few years ago I started buying minced garlic in olive oil as well.  It's quite tasty.  I was also out of that.  Unfortunately companies must put added ingredients and preservatives in that cute little jar to make sure it stays fresh and safe from production to your fridge.  Surely it can't be hard to make myself right?  It in fact was not difficult at all!  And you can do it too with a few bulbs of garlic and some time.

You will need:

about 4 bulbs of garlic
butcher knife
garlic mincer
olive oil
tsp sea salt
glass jar to store it
a bowl to save your garlic peels for other uses

Start by breaking apart the cloves from the garlic bulbs.  Save the peels in a separate bowl for later use.

Now that you have a pile of cloves ready to be peeled, it's time to move on to step two.  This is where the butcher knife comes in.  The best way to peel a clove of garlic is to smash it first with the edge of a large blade.  All you need is one good whack with the palm of your hand and the peel will come right off.  Remember to save these peels too.

Peel enough cloves to fill the jar you want to store your garlic in.  I used an old glass jar that once held my store bought crushed garlic in olive oil.

Now comes the fun part.  Dump out the cloves and start mincing.  If you have a garlic mincer I would highly recommend using it.  But if you do not have one, not to worry.  You can still make do you just have to use your trusty butcher knife and mince it all yourself.

Place all the minced garlic back in the glass jar and fill with olive oil.  Make sure the olive oil covers the garlic completely.  Add a tsp of sea salt for preservation.  Store in the freezer.  The salt and oil should keep the mixture a little pliable.  It will not get rock hard like ice so you will still be able to spoon it out when needed.

*A note on botulism.  It is quite common for garlic to produce bacteria spores that cause botulism when submerged in olive oil at room temperature or kept for a long period of time.  That is why I am freezing this.  You can keep it in the fridge for a few weeks without it going bad but the problem is there is no outward sign that botulism exists.  It will smell and taste exactly the same as normal.  

Now, what do you do with all of those garlic peels?  Cover them with water and a lid or cling wrap.  Keep it for about a week - but keep it somewhere outside where the smell will not bother anyone!  Then strain it and bottle the water in a spray bottle.  Use it to keep bugs away from your precious plants in your garden!  You can also do this with onion peels.  I spray my garden a couple times a week and I always have FREE, organic, chemical free plant bug spray on hand. 

Stay tuned for more garlic recipes including garlic powder and garlic salt!

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