Tuesday, June 21, 2011

convenient garlic trick

Garlic.  Love it?  I sure do.  It gets added to almost any savory dish I make.  I love the flavor and even the aroma of garlic...it's the smell of something delicious cooking in the kitchen.  The thing that is the most annoying about cooking with garlic is peeling it and mincing it.  It's time consuming and a pain to do.  

A minced garlic trick I learned from my aunt really helps out this pesky problem.  In your local grocery store they probably sell pre-peeled garlic in a plastic bag or container.  This is a dream for any home cook but there's still the problem of mincing and quantity.  Mincing is easy enough to do with a knife (although I personally don't like the lingering smell left on my fingers) but the bigger problem I think is that usually the pre-peeled garlic containers are very large.  Unless you have a family of 10 I can't imagine how a person could go through the whole container one or two cloves of garlic at a time without the rest of the bunch going bad.  

My aunt's solution was to pre-mince the pre-peeled garlic and freeze the fresh garlic for later.  Brilliant!  You'll need a blender or food processor.  Mince the fresh garlic by pulsing it in the blender/food processor.  

After you've minced the garlic grab your sandwich sized resealable bags.  Prep the bag by folding back the zip closure so none of the garlic gets stuck in it.  Fill the bags with the minced garlic.  Press the air out and seal close the bag.  

Next, press flat the minced garlic.  Make sure it gets in each bag corner and is evenly flattened.

Grab a chopstick (or you can use the back of a butter knife) and press it in the center of the closed plastic bag.  Then subdivide the two halves to make 4 columns.  Repeat on the other axis.  

It'll look like this when you're done!

Keeping the bag laid flat, stack your bags on top of a tray or plate and place in the freezer.  The garlic will freeze and stay fresh.  When you're ready for a bit of minced garlic just open the bag and snap off a small piece of the frozen block.  The lines we pressed onto the bag will help us break off a small piece of garlic.  Your freezer may smell like garlic but a box of baking soda in the freezer will help with the odor.  I used a large container of pre-peeled garlic and I was able to fill 12 plastic baggies.  Whoa!  I won't have to worry about minced garlic for a while!

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