How to preserve minced garlic?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How to preserve minced garlic?” and will discuss different methods of storing minced garlic.

How to preserve minced garlic?

Garlic is known for its biological properties associated with immune-enhancing function and antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anticancer activity and has been extensively studied for its health benefits. The health benefits of garlic have been attributed to the distinctive organosulfur compound. Garlic, like any other Allium, is characterized by the remarkable sulfur-containing compound present in it, which gives the product its distinctive smell and pungency. The pungent flavor of garlic is caused by a chemical reaction that occurs when the garlic cells are broken. The flavor is most intense shortly after cutting or chopping (1).

To preserve minced garlic, use a clean, airtight container and add your minced garlic (wide-mouth mason jars are an excellent freezer-safe option). Toss in some olive oil (or avocado oil) so the garlic is thoroughly submerged, but leave about an inch of headroom for ventilation. The containers should be sealed and labeled with the date.

It is important to remember, that cutting operations involved with the production of minimally processed vegetables can lead to water loss, elevation in respiration and transpiration rates and thus resulting in the growth of microflora which contributes to their spoilage and shelf life reduction (1).

How to mince garlic?

Garlic cloves, either fresh or pre-peeled, should be used at the beginning of the process. Garlic cloves must be separated from the head and peeled one at a time if you want to use fresh, unpeeled garlic. Peeling garlic is easy if you follow our step-by-step instructions.

Mince the garlic once it has been peeled. To prepare big amounts of garlic, you should use a food processor or a blender. The uniformity you seek for your garlic cloves may be achieved by processing or blending (this could be anywhere from a fine paste to a chunky, minced consistency). Using Method #2, you must prepare your garlic with oil to get the best results (the ratio is two parts oil to one part garlic). Using a knife, a garlic press, or even a Microplane grater, chop garlic as you usually would.

How to Keep Minced Garlic Fresh for a Long Time?

Using Oil to Preserve Garlic in Jars

Minced garlic, whether purchased or produced at home, may be stored in the same way: in oil in a jar. Garlic’s taste and color are preserved because of the oil’s protective effect against the elements.

However, when garlic or herbs are immersed in oil, the low-acid, anaerobic environment that is created is capable of supporting the growth of Clostridium botulinum, which can produce a neurotoxin that can be life threatening. C. botulinum has been commonly isolated from garlic bulbs grown in soil (2).

The USDA, on the other hand, warns that storing garlic in oil for extended periods at room temperature or even in the refrigerator poses a botulism risk: “Researchers at the University of Georgia found that garlic-oil mixtures stored at room temperature are at risk of botulism, according to their findings. To preserve fresh garlic in oil, keep it in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for no more than seven days. For many months, it may be kept in the freezer.”

Commercially prepared shelf-stable garlic or herbs in oil mixtures are prepared by adding microbial inhibitors or acidifying agents that prevent the growth of C. botulinum, as required by the Food and Drug Administration. The preparations must have a pH value below 4.2 (2).

Preservatives are added to store-bought, pre-minced garlic in oil to prevent the growth of dangerous microorganisms. This technique must be used at home, where you must keep note of how long your garlic has been in the refrigerator or freezer before putting it in. A common preservative is the combined addition of 0.1% potassium sorbate and 2% citric acid (dry). The citric acid guarantees the pH to reach a safe value below 4.0 and the potassium sorbate inhibits the browning of the processed garlic, helping maintain the natural light color of the product (3).

You’ll need the following:

·         Finely minced garlic

·         a container made of plastic or glass that is airtight

·         Your preferred kind of vegetable oil (we recommend olive or avocado)

·         A label to put on the container (masking tape and a marker will work)

Instructions:

·         Place the minced garlic in an airtight container and shake to combine (wide-mouth mason jars are an excellent freezer-safe option).

·         Add oil to cover the garlic, allowing 12 inches of headspace between the oil and the garlic (olive oil or avocado oil are good choices).

·         Date-mark the containers once they’ve been sealed and labeled. One week in the fridge or three months in the freezer is OK.

·         Garlic should always be taken out of the jar using a dry, clean spoon. Contamination and the formation of mold are therefore prevented.

Alternatively, garlic can be acidified. A study showed that acidifying the garlic-oil mixture with 3% citric acid in a ratio of 1 part garlic to 3 parts citric acid could decrease the pH values to 2.8 – 3.4, well below the target of pH 4.2. Thus, the procedure of soaking garlic at a ratio of 1 part chopped garlic to 3 parts 3% citric acid (by weight) for 24 h was adequate to produce an acidified and safe product (2).

Freeze the garlic cloves

Garlic may be stored in individual amounts using this approach if you need it for your recipes at any given time.

You’ll need the following:

·         1 part whole, peeled garlic cloves

·         2 parts oil (we recommend olive or avocado)

·         Food processor or blender

·         Measuring teaspoon

·         Baking sheet or ice cube tray

·         Freezer-safe bag

·         Marker (to label bag with the date)

Instructions:

·         Process or mix peeled garlic cloves and oil in a food processor or blender until smooth.

·         Add the garlic and oil mixture on a baking sheet or an ice cube tray one teaspoon at a time.

·         A baking sheet or ice cube tray may be used to “flash freeze” garlic by putting it in the freezer for several hours.

·         In a freezer-safe storage bag, identify the date and put the garlic pieces in. They may be stored for up to three months.

Just add the garlic directly from the freezer to your recipes when you’re ready to use it.

Alternatively, pelled (not minced) cloves can be freezed. In this case, it is necessary to blanch the garlic. Blanching is a crucial processing step in the industrial production of frozen vegetables; this treatment inactivates the enzymes responsible for color and texture deterioration and reduces microbial load. A study showed that blanching conditions of 100 °C for 45 to 80 s are optimal. Under these conditions, peroxidase was inactivated, but organosulfur compounds were retained (4).

When Is the Best Time to Eat a Fresh Bulb of Garlic?

Fresh and raw garlic, like many other vegetables, does not have a best-before or expiry date. Garlic’s shelf life may range from a few days to a year, depending on how it is stored.

A complete bulb of garlic may be preserved in the cupboard for up to three to five months. You may anticipate the quality of your garlic to decline immediately after the bulb has been broken. In the cupboard, you may store unpeeled garlic cloves for up to ten days. However, according to the USDA foodkeeper data online, unbroken garlic cloves can be stored for 1 month in the pantry, while whole individual cloves can be stored for 3 to 14 days in the refrigerator and for 1 month in the freezer. 

Processed garlic has a shelf life of how long?

Peeled and chopped garlic may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, while frozen cooked garlic can be stored in the freezer for up to a year. For example, if you buy frozen garlic cloves or dried or powdered garlic on the market and they have an expiry date on the label you know they’re safe to eat. It’s essential to stick to these best-by dates wherever possible. Garlic minced or chopped in a prepared container may keep for three months in the refrigerator.

According to the USDA foodkeeper data online, unbroken garlic cloves can be stored for 1 month in the pantry, while whole individual cloves can be stored for 3 to 14 days in the refrigerator and for 1 month in the freezer. 

Commercially prepared garlic, on the other hand, is often preserved with citric acid and other preservatives. That’s why we encourage you to try making your own minced garlic at home and soak it in extra virgin olive oil, which can last for 2-3 weeks in your fridge. 

Other FAQs about Garlic that you may be interested in.

Can you eat garlic with a green center?

What’s a clove of garlic?

How to preserve garlic in oil?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How to preserve minced garlic?” and discussed different methods of storing minced garlic.

References

  1. Sharma, Pallavi, et al. Variation in quality and acceptability of minimally processed garlic in response to γ-irradiation and packaging during refrigerated storage. Rad Phys Chem, 2021, 180, 109193.
  2. Abo, Barbara, et al. Acidification of garlic and herbs for consumer preparation of infused oils. Food Protect Trends, 2014, 34, 247-257.
  3. Prati, Patricia, et al. Evaluation of allicin stability in processed garlic of different cultivars. Food Sci Technol, 2014, 34, 623-628.
  4. Zhang, Bin, et al. Effect of blanching and freezing on the physical properties, bioactive compounds, and microstructure of garlic (Allium sativum L.). J Food Sci, 2021, 86, 31-39.