I am a poor student living with other poor students in the dorms on campus. Like many, we pool our resources and buy basic ingredients in bulk to save some cash. One of the things that we bought was a a ridiculously large container of pre-peeled garlic that happened to be on sale. After about 5 days of having it sit in the fridge, we realized that there was no way we could use all of it before it spoiled. We mulled our options (including a mass-cooking of some sort) and realized that what we really needed was a way to preserve the garlic. Jonah mentioned that he had read online about how freezing your garlic in olive oil prevents it from being damaged. A quick googlehunt revealed that it may or may not be true. We thought about the science behind such a technique and decided that it was worth a try. We prepared an experiment and began by putting 10 garlic cloves in two half-size, zip-top bags and 10 in one of those small and disposable GladWare containers. One bag was frozen as is (the control), the container was filled with olive oil to cover the garlic and the other bag also had the garlic/oil combo.
Three days later (the oil took a big to solidify), we checked on the experiment and found that all three test cases had frozen completely. We began by first moving the control from the freezer to the refrigerator and letting it thaw out slowly. It seemed only natural that the control should go first so we could check for any damage and be able to determine if the oil methods yielded any improvements. The control thawed relatively well though the garlic had obviously undergone a change in consistency as they were now slightly spongy and transluscent. The oil container was next. The thaw yielded garlic cloves which appeared exactly like the control. However, there was one crucial difference which became apparent when we tried to cook them. The ones in the oil did not suffer nearly as much damage to the outer surface as the control and cooked much better! The second bag yielded garlic that was identical to the container which is significant because the bag model requires much less olive oil. The other major perk of having garlic suspended in frozen oil is that you can break off a chunk, throw it in a hot pan or pot and get a perfect amount of olive oil and garlic to start a dish with! Make your own by filling a gallon freezer bag half way with peeled garlic cloves. Then, put in just enough to get them 2/3 covered with oil. Seal the bag and spread the bag out on a flat surface. Determine how well covered the cloves are as you might need to add more oil. Throw the whole bag into the freezer but make sure it freezes on a flat surface! It’ll be much easier to store that way. Once frozen, it should look something like this:
Notice how the olive oil has turned completely opaque. This is a great way to preserve garlic and a wonderful trick to help start your cooking.