The Biggest Mistake You're Making When Freezing Garlic

The freezer is good for a lot of things. Maybe you're meal prepping for a family of four and want to whip up a bunch of make-ahead casseroles to save for a busy weeknight. Maybe ground beef, chicken, or even eggs were massively on sale at the grocery store and you don't have time to eat it all before it goes bad. Or maybe you're simply someone who loves to indulge in a frozen pizza or pint of Ben & Jerry's every now and again. Regardless of what you use it for, your freezer is likely a hot (or, rather, cold) storage space in your home.

Along with all of the above, there are also probably a lot of other things you didn't know you could freeze. One of those? Garlic. If you notice a clove that's on its last legs, or if you want to buy your garlic in bulk, you can easily freeze it for later. Here's how to freeze garlic properly.

Mince the garlic before you freeze it

While you can freeze garlic whole, it makes it tricker to defrost and peel when you're ready to use it. Instead, Cook's Illustrated says you should peel and mince the garlic with a garlic press and then mix it with a neutral oil in a bowl. (Feeling a little lazy? The blogger at Thrifty Fun says she purées her oil and garlic together in a food processor.) Once it's combined, place dollops of the mixture onto a baking sheet and freeze them until hardened before putting them in a sealable freezer bag or freezer-safe container.

One word of caution: Don't leave the garlic mixture sitting at room temperature for a long time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) warns that garlic in oil can cause botulism, a foodborne illness, if left at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for a few days.