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I have a lot of garlic that is still fresh. How can I preserve it easily so that it can be used for a variety of uses later?

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I edited your question to ask specifically about preserving. Asking generally "how can I use a lot of garlic" is definitely not a good question for this site; that type of question is too broad and tends to solicit opinion, polling, and extended discussion. –  Jefromi Mar 11 '12 at 23:30
    
I find that just leaving the garlic alone makes it sprout. Which makes the texture rubbery and changes the flavour a bit. –  Daniel Mar 15 '12 at 16:10
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4 Answers

Peel the garlic bulbs and mince (or food-proccessorize) them. Then portion the minced garlic into usable units and freeze those on a cookie sheet. Once they're frozen, keep the lumps-o-garlic in a convenient vessel in the freezer. You can then pull one lump at a time out of the freezer and use it.

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I've always heard that mincing or chopping herbs/spices lowers their shelf-life. Unfortunately I don't have any sources for this idea: Do you know anything that proves or disproves this? –  Gary Mar 12 '12 at 4:42
    
Nice advise. Convenient vessel should be airtight. Vacuum if possible. –  BaffledCook Mar 12 '12 at 12:23
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@Fantabulum mincing/chopping herbs/spices would lower their shelf-life(you are essentially penetrating the plant's natural layer of protection against bacterias) but since the garlic is immediately frozen, that shouldn't be an issue. –  Jay Mar 12 '12 at 13:01
    
mincing the bulbs makes them unusable for recipes which require them whole, though. –  loscuropresagio Mar 12 '12 at 17:49
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Generally, it's Braided and then hung to dry, but I'm not sure if you mean that it's as fresh as that.

It will keep several months in a cool, dry, dark place if you keep the bulbs whole, though. If you don't have a cellar, a seldom used interior closet would work well.

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You could easily put it into the freezer, where it can stay for a long time.

Anyhow, if you are looking for a recipe to use it when it's still fresh, take a look at this. It's an italian recipe.

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@Daniel "Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic" is also a pretty good dish with easily googleable recipes. –  Gregor Mar 12 '12 at 0:12
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Let's try not to get into the game of listing dishes that use large amounts of garlic. If people are interested in that, pop into chat during the day and I'm sure you'll get lots of recipe suggestions. –  Jefromi Mar 12 '12 at 5:13
    
I've found that putting stuff straight into freezer changes the texture. When stuff thaws, the cells brake and stuff becomes spongy. For some vegetables blanching helps, not sure if that would apply to garlic tough. –  Daniel Mar 15 '12 at 16:14
    
@Daniel: Does that actually matter for garlic, though? I find it hard to think of uses of garlic in which you notice the texture to begin with. Roasted, perhaps? But that turns it so soft that I doubt some damage from freezing would matter. Most other things it's chopped/minced, and likely cooked, and you'd never know, as long as the flavor is intact. –  Jefromi Mar 15 '12 at 16:40
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Put a layer of salt in a jar, then a layer of peeled cloves, then a layer of salt again and continue until the jar is full. Then close the lid and keep in the fridge. The preserved garlic can last up to several years.

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what about submerging it in salt water? –  Daniel Mar 15 '12 at 16:10
    
Never tried that. However, crushing the garlic and mixing the paste with a reasonable amount of salt works nice as well. It will obviously be quite salty and the range of possible uses will be limited. –  JohnEye Mar 21 '12 at 17:02
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