Jul 6, 2023
Ever tried to store chopped garlic but ended up having a fridge smelling like 10-day-old socks? We’ll teach you how to freeze dry garlic and have a fresh-tasting aromatic without stinking up your storage.
You can freeze dry fresh garlic from your garden or those you bought from a farmer’s market or grocery store.
Bottled or prepared garlic is also good if you don’t want too much prepping. Just make sure it’s not preserved in oil because oil prevents proper freeze-drying.
If you’re using freshly harvested garlic from your garden, you usually let it cure for 3-4 weeks. But since you’re going to freeze dry, this might not be necessary. But if you want to do this, don’t wash the bulbs. Instead, brush out the dirt and peel the outer skin. Remember not to expose the cloves.
The first thing you need to do is to peel the aromatic and take out the tough end part. Then you can freeze-dry it whole, chopped, sliced, or minced.
If you prefer to freeze dry garlic cloves whole, smash them a bit to partially split it. This will help expose the center to make it easy to freeze dry.
For minced or chopped spice, it’s best to do this by hand. Your food processor will force all that delicious oil out of the aromatic. If you want to keep your bulb as flavorful as possible, chop it by hand if you can.
You can caramelize the garlic if you want a sweeter, milder flavor. You can do this by putting the cloves in a pan with a bit of water. You don’t have to cook it down too much, just enough until it becomes soft and translucent.
You can also roast it in the oven, using water instead of oil, in two ways. One is to peel the individual cloves, and the other is to slice the head crosswise in the middle. Wrap the cloves or the head in aluminum foil, then pour 2-4 tablespoons of water. Seal the aluminum foil to keep water from evaporating too fast, then pop your aromatic pouches in the oven at 400°F (204 °C). Then cook it until it’s soft and tender.
Some say freeze-drying garlic doesn’t smell, while others say it does. So, process it with other food that’s okay to have a garlicky smell or taste like an Asian dish or a steak.
Pre-freezing is an option, but it can help you a lot. It helps shorten your freeze-drying time, keeps the temperature stable, and streamlines your process. You can use freezer-safe bags if you don’t want your freezer to smell like garlic. Remember to freeze the trays, too, so that your aromatic won’t melt when you place them on the tray.
Freeze drying can take between 17-26 hours, depending if you have other food processing.
Freeze-dried garlic is hard. It won’t crumble between your fingers like other food, such as strawberries and watermelon. If any of the clove pieces are soft, moist, and cool when you touch them or break them apart, put the trays back. Add 2-4 hours extra drying time until the aromatic’s fully dry.
Mylar bags are always the best option for storing freeze-dried garlic, especially for long-term storage. Not only do they keep air and moisture from coming in. They also prevent the pungent scent from going outside.
On the other hand, Mason jars are good when you plan to use your cloves within weeks or months. They’re easy to open and close with a manual or electric vacuum sealer.
Keep your bags or jars in a dark, cool, damp-free room. Room temperature should be lower than 72°F (22 °C), and keep the relative humidity at 15% or less. Remember to put one or two 300cc oxygen absorbers to prevent oxidation during storage.
Rehydrating the aromatic is very easy. Just put your seasoning in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes and wait for it to soften up. It may take longer for whole or big garlic cloves.
But if you’re going to use it in marinades or recipes like sauces and soups? No need to rehydrate it. You’ll even toast it faster in its dry state, just be careful to keep it lubricated to prevent burning. No need to adjust the liquid content in your recipe unless you use a ton of the aromatic, like in aioli and salad dressing.
You can use freeze-dried garlic as if you’re using fresh garlic. Litehouse recommends you use 1 tablespoon of freeze-dried garlic for 1 tablespoon of fresh aromatic in the recipe. If you’re not sure, you can use a bit less. It’s easier to add more than dull the strong taste of garlic.
You can also grind the freeze-dried aromatic into powder for your garlic powder. If you love garlic salt, add kosher, sea salt, or Himalayan salt to the food processor. The salt, though, might dull your blades, so you might want to use a mortar and pestle.
Your freeze-dried garlic can last for 25 years or more when stored in ideal storage conditions.
We love freeze-drying our aromatics because it helps us keep the aromatic longer. We don’t have to worry about wasting expensive garlic because it dried out in the pantry or fridge. Moreover, freeze-dried garlic doesn’t smell as strong, so we don’t have to worry about the odor when prepping to cook.
Where did you get your garlic, and how do you usually store it? Let us know in the comment section.
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