Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It has many health benefits, but the most important for me is that it boosts in your immune system to aid in preventing colds and flu, and reduces the length of those illnesses should you get sick. With cold and flu season quickly approaching, I think it is something we all need.
Garlic is a vegetable that belongs to the Allium or Onion family that includes shallots, leeks, chives and of course onions. I don’t think many of us eat it as a vegetable, instead it is most often used as a herb or spice. The garlic plant produces not just a bulb of cloves, it also produces scapes which are the green part of the plant, similar to the green part on green onions and leeks.
Did you know that Scapes are low FODMAP? That means that even if you have gut issues and cannot tolerate eating garlic, you can still enjoy the garlic flavour and immune boosting qualities by using scapes. Scapes are generally harvested in June and can be found in farmers markets at the beginning of the season. I actually found some at a farm stand last week at the beginning of Sept. Scapes like any other vegetables can be frozen enjoyed throughout the year.
Storing this year’s Garlic harvest!
This time of year the garlic crop has been harvested for the winter, and our farmers markets have an abundant supply.
I don’t know about you but I hate it when my garlic buds begin to sprout.
Until this year when I actually had a good conversation with a garlic grower, I thought that my garlic just needed to be stored in a cool, dark place. Little did I know that in addition to that, the space needs to be dry! Humidity encourages the bulb to start sprouting.
WOW, that was a game changer because I don’t think I have a dry spot in my house. Certainly not my kitchen where I was storing my garlic. I don’t know about you but my kitchen is neither cool nor dry - ever! My ‘cold’ room in my basement is cool to cold depending on the time of year, and dark, but again is never ‘dry’ as it is in my basement which even with a dehumidifier running is somewhat humid.
So I asked my garlic grower where? He replied that the best temperature to store your garlic is 33 F or 0 C - just below freezing and the light bulb went on! What about my fridge or freezer?
My fridge is cold but not that cold and it is humid. However he did say it could be stored double bagged in a crisper to slow sprouting, but the best would be to store it in your freezer!
Freezing at the peek of freshness preserves all the goodness of your foods including many fruits and vegetables.
Being the person I am, I needed to confirm this wisdom, so I started to do some research to find out ‘could I really store my garlic in my freezer’.
The good news is YES you can!
The biggest problem in my freezer again is moisture. You know that white frost that builds up on the outside and inside frozen containers.
My garlic farmer had the solution! If you want to store your garlic in your freezer, double bag it. Put some cloves in one bag or container and get as much air as possible out before you seal it. Then put that container or bag inside another bigger one, and again get as much air as possible out. A straw with a ziplock works pretty good if you don’t have one of those fancy machines that removes the air for you before it seals the bag.
Then when you need some, you just remove the small bag of heads and put the sealed larger bag back with excess air removed back in the freezer. So I keep the small bag of garlic heads in my fridge freezer, and the bulk of my garlic is stored double bagged in my big freezer.
When frozen the garlic skin comes off very easily after the tip and root are cut off, then you just chop the frozen cloves as normal and use in your recipe. There is no need to thaw before using.
Oh, and keep the cuttings and skins along with your vegetable scraps in the freezer for when you need to make broth so no goodness is wasted!
An observation I made when cooking with garlic that has been frozen, is that the garlic turns more translucent than fresh, but the flavour and aroma remain unchanged.
So this year I have 5 lb of local organic garlic stored safely in my freezer to be enjoyed throughout the winter and there will be no sprouting happening in my house this year! :)
How will you store your garlic this winter? Put a quick note in the comments to let me know.........
Helping you explore the wonderful world of food.
The Food Sensitivity Coach
I am passionate about exploring the world with a view to food allergies and sensitivities. I look forward to sharing with you what I find, from books, blogs and websites to recipes, hacks, inspirations and opinions, join me in a journey to live your best life.