Saturday, January 20, 2007

how to keep peeled garlic fresh

Do you ever buy fresh peeled garlic? I've seen it at BJ's in huge plastic jars like this. Our local food cooperative buys it in bulk and packages it in plastic clamshell containers. I love using fresh garlic; the pre-pressed jarred kind is pretty awful. But I don't like peeling the stuff.

(Sometimes I feel like such a spoiled American when I express such sentiments. We can get our garlic pressed and jarred, in whole heads, or in peeled cloves. How pampered is that? Very.)

But anyway, because there are only two of us (OK, three with Simba, but he doesn't beg for garlic much), even the smallest clamshells held too much peeled garlic for me to use up without some of it going moldy. Until I figured out The Solution: a paper towel.

No kidding, folks, this really works. The mold is caused by moisture. So now, when I bring home the clamshells, I take all the garlic out, put an unfolded paper towel in the bottom with the excess hanging over the edges, pour the garlic cloves back in, fold the paper towel over them, and close the clamshell. The paper towel seems to wick the moisture away from the garlic. Whenever I open the clamshell to take out some garlic, the paper towel is always just slightly damp. I take it out, drape it over something for a few minutes to let it dry out while I go about my cooking, and later put it all back in.

It really, really works. I have garlic in my refrigerator, right this very minute, that I bought in November. Scout's honor.

By the way, my favorite way to peel garlic, when I need to, is using a silicone sleeve like this one (not meaning to endorse this specific one, although the picture is a link to the product if you're interested). You just put a few cloves in it and roll the sleeve around on your counter. Tip it vertical, and the papery skins and the cloves tumble right out. It works amazingly well, keeps your fingers from smelling like garlic, and can do several cloves at once.

And did you know that rubbing your garlicky smelling fingers on stainless steel will neutralize the smell? That's so, like, woo-EE-ooo!

Speaking of garlic, don't forget to go check out Weekend Herb Blogging over at Real Epicurean tomorrow night. You'll be sure to find a recipe or two that tempts your taste buds. And you still have time to submit an entry. 3pm Sunday is the deadline!


Eva said...

What are a couple of your favorite recipes to use peeled garlic in? I always mash mine with my Pampered Chef garlic press, and I don't peel it first. I don't like peeling garlic either. Kinda sticky and smelly.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

I have one of those garlic sleeves too and just love it.
We never seem to have a problem with too much garlic. We can go through 2-3 heads of it a week. I've been tempted to buy the peeled stuff but prefer them in their natural state since I usually roast at least on head a week. One of Jim's best pizza's uses a head of roasted garlic in place of the tomato sauce. It's sooooo good.

By the way, how's Simba?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I get bulbs of garlic from my father who grows a special variety in his back yard. I get them from him in the Fall and I am still using some now, and it is September again! Sometimes some individual cloves in the head go bad. But not the ones beside them. I don't know what causes this, but I will try your paper towel trick!

For peeling them, my favourite method is to use a wooden mallet! You smash the garlic once or twice, and the skin can be peeled right off. It also has the effect of smushing the garlic together and mixing up those juices with the enzymes that are good for you, whatever those are. It's also good for getting your frustration out!! :)

bunch o' questions: Can you keep garlic in vinegar? Someone said they'll stay in olive oil in the fridge. Why aren't you supposed to keep garlic in the fridge? Can you eat the sprouts? Someone said you can't but I do all the time. Is that bad for you?

Thanks! Rachel