(fresh garlic + raw honey)
Finding giant bags of organic peeled garlic at the grocery store (or at Costco) usually seems like a huge win. It’s not very expensive (yay!) and will save you tons of time peeling garlic when you’re cooking.
Cut to a week later and you realize that even though you’ve been eating more garlic than normal (because you don’t have to peel it, throwing extra garlic into dishes is super easy) you’ve barely made a dent in your giant bag of garlic.
Peeled garlic also doesn’t have as long of a shelf life as unpeeled garlic either, so now you’re thinking that it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to eat all of it before it goes bad.
But don’t worry! Here are two ways of storing extra garlic cloves so that you can use them up when you’re ready to.
1. Freeze The Extra Garlic Gloves
This is super simple to do and you can use up all your garlic cloves in your own time.
1. Pour the extra garlic cloves that you want to freeze into a bowl and set aside. Add a folded paper towel or two to the garlic cloves in the original package that they came in that you want to keep fresh in your fridge (the paper towel will absorb any excess moisture and the garlic will keep fresher for longer). Replace the paper towel every couple of days.
2. Give the excess garlic cloves a good rinse. Transfer them into ziploc freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible, and freeze them flat.
3. When you’re ready to use them, take out as many cloves as you need and run them under warm water for a few seconds to defrost. Chop and use as usual.
They will have a softer texture than fresh garlic cloves, and the flavor might be slightly milder, but you can always add another clove or two to your dish to balance that out.
2. Make Fermented Garlic Honey
I love watching the It’s Alive series on the Bon Appétit YouTube channel. It is hilarious. The editing and the host are fun and you learn a lot about fermentation. Here’s the episode about fermenting garlic in honey.
I’ve made garlic honey a few times now. I’ve made a few other fermented things before (red cabbage kimchi kraut and lacto-fermented garlic cloves) but the fermented garlic honey is by far the easiest thing to make if you’re looking to start preserving food using fermentation.
Garlic honey is delicious drizzled onto gluten-free bread, or homemade tortilla chips. I like to eat a few cloves of this when I have a cold. I’m not sure if it does anything to fight off a cold, but it’s a nice treat to have nonetheless.
I’m not a expert in this, so please watch the video above for more info, especially about adding the splash of apple cider and keeping the pH below 4.6 to be on the safe side.
1. Rinse off your garlic cloves with filtered water (chlorine can prevent or slow fermentation). If you use straight tap water, that’s ok too. Just rinse them off with filtered water. Drain off as much water as possible and place them onto plates lined with paper towels to dry.
The next day replace the paper towels with dry ones, and leave the garlic cloves to dry another day until they are completely dry to the touch.
2. Pick out the cloves the look a little rough and trim off any blemishes or dark spots on the cloves. Put the cloves onto a cutting board and bash them with a knife or cut them in half. Add all the garlic into a clean dry wide mouth mason jar and cover them in raw honey (leaving about 2-3 inches of headroom in the jar).
I didn’t leave enough headroom in my jar, and the honey has leaked a little out of the top of the jar while it’s been fermenting (not a big deal, you can just wash it off). Give everything a good stir so that the garlic and honey are well combined.
3. Put the lid on the mason jar and don’t screw the jar completely tight, leave it a little loose so that any gases produced during the fermentation can escape. Set the jar aside in an area without any direct sunlight where it wont be disturbed. I set my jar on a small plate so that it will catch any honey that might leak out from the top of the jar during fermentation, which makes it easy to rinse the honey off of the plate and the outside of the jar every few days.
Every day for the first few days, screw the lid on tightly and turn the jar upside down so that the honey can cover all the garlic cloves. Turn the jar right side up, loosen the lid, and place it back in it’s spot again.
After the first week, you can just do this every few days or so. After a month, you can just leave it alone with the lid a little loose and it should look after itself. Check the pH periodically to make sure that it stays below 4.6.
I’ve never had a jar of garlic honey go bad on me yet, but if you have any mold growing in the jar or if anything looks funny, when in doubt, throw it out.
This is what the garlic will look like after 6 months. The flavor of the garlic mellows out over time, and the cloves become sweet and chewy. The longer the garlic sits in the honey, the mellower the garlic flavor and the chewier they get. If you have a friend who loves garlic, a jar of this garlic honey makes a great gift.
3 thoughts on “What To Do With Leftover Garlic”
Hi Elaine! I’ve learned something new here. 🙂 I had never heard of fermented garlic honey before, but it looks and sounds delicious!
Thanks Lisa! I hope you give it a try, it’s super fun to make. 🙂