Ever see those jars of already chopped garlic in the grocery store? Did you know you can do something similar at home? It’s handy to have already prepped ingredients available, especially if you’re pressed for time in the evenings or you have a weekend cooking session coming up. Plus it makes you feel positively virtuous!
Garlic holds a place of honor in our kitchen. It even has its own container. We normally chop, slice or crush the cloves as needed. But once in awhile I’ll bang a head on the counter with a little too much enthusiasm and spray cloves all over the kitchen. When that happens, I’ll either peel or chop the cloves and store them in the fridge where they’ll last for a couple days.
A word of advice: chopping a year’s supply is a waste of time. The garlic will lose quality after just a few days (you’ll notice a change in appearance) so don’t prep more than you can consume within a couple days, a week tops . Covering the garlic with olive oil in order to extend the storage time can be risky, as seen here on the USDA’s page on botulism. Commercial canners can attain the temperatures necessary to kill the spores and usually contain some type of acidic preservative so rest easy if you decide to make a purchase instead.
Caveats aside, here’s how to prepare a head of garlic for the fridge.
1) Hold the clove in your hand with the root side down and give that sucker a firm, but not devastating, whack on your cutting board.
2) You should now have a collection of individual cloves, hopefully somewhat contained.
3) Separate the cloves from the garlic paper and remove any that are still clinging to the root. Discard the paper.
4) Using a broad knife, rest the flat of the blade on a clove and push down until you hear the clove crack. Repeat for all the other cloves.
5) This is the most tedious step. Remove the peel from all of the cloves. Discard the peels. (Try shaking it in a jar as demonstrated in this video)
6) Using a small paring knife, cut off the stem ends from the cloves and cut out any discolored areas. Cut any cloves with green growth in half and discard the green parts.
7) Your hands are probably a bit sticky by now so go ahead and rinse them.
8) Prep the cloves however you wish. Leave whole, slice or mince. Personally, I use a chopper (affiliate link) for this step because I hate mincing garlic but I love beating on that chopper.
9) Place the whole cloves, slices or chopped bits into a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
What do you think? Would you like to try preparing garlic ahead of time?