Freeze Your Chopped Garlic For The Most Efficient Ingredient Prep

Countless dishes start their instructions by asking you to saute some chopped garlic until it's fragrant as a kind of base for the layers of flavor to come. However, there's no denying that it can be frustrating to have to break out your cutting board and knife if garlic is the only ingredient that needs to be chopped, or if you just need a clove or two. Or, perhaps you hate the process of peeling all those cloves. Though there are ways to speed up or streamline the garlic peeling process, you can also increase the efficiency of your ingredient prep by chopping up a big batch of garlic and freezing it for future use. Sure, you can buy a pre-minced version at the grocery store, but many argue you should never use jarred garlic as it simply doesn't pack the same flavor as the fresh stuff does.

You can freeze garlic just about any way you want, from peeled to unpeeled, chopped to whole, but don't make the mistake of being lazy and just tossing some whole cloves in your freezer — your prep won't be any more efficient that way. Instead, ensure you're freezing already peeled and chopped garlic. That way, you're a single step from adding garlic to your dish at any time. If you freeze it in a thin layer, it'll be easiest to snap off a small piece, and it should thaw within moments of hitting your hot pan.

Preserving as much garlic flavor as possible

If you've gone to the trouble of peeling and chopping countless heads of garlic in order to get the amount you want to freeze, you'll want it to continue packing as much flavor as possible. That means avoiding freezer burn, so store your garlic in a freezer bag. To add even more flavor, you might consider freezing it in oil, particularly oils that have a flavor of their own such as olive oil. Or, roast your garlic before popping it in the freezer for a quick and easy way to infuse a serious amount of garlicky goodness into whatever dish you're making. And, though the freezer can preserve your garlic for much longer than your fridge, you should still keep an eye on when you freeze it and label your freezer bag because frozen garlic is best used within three to four months.

Having frozen minced garlic on hand is probably the most versatile way to make your future meal prep more efficient, and you can simply eyeball how much you think equates to the amount your recipe requires. However, if you want to be a bit more precise with your future recipes and freeze garlic in particular increments, such as 1 tablespoon or three-clove batches, you could freeze garlic in an ice cube tray. Another option is freezing it in a puréed form if you want it to blend more seamlessly into the dishes you're making.