I love garlic. When a recipe calls for one or two cloves, I use an entire head. I have never eaten a dish that had too much garlic in it. Hide’s a good sport and lets me use as much garlic as I want, except when we have guests.
Recently, it occurred to me that the only reason I wasn’t using more garlic was because I would get tired of peeling them. About one head was all I could do before I was too lazy to continue. That’s when I had the brilliant idea of making garlic paste.
I will say that I don’t know anything about canning or food preservation in general. While olive oil and salt strike me as pretty good preservatives, I honestly don’t know how long this garlic paste can keep (we go through it in a matter of weeks, not months) or whether it’s safe to eat. On the other hand, we haven’t seen any mold and we’re still alive. Still, I’m prepared to throw it out if it looks, smells or tastes funny to me.
Edit: Please see Michele Hays’s comment below about botulism and garlic paste!
Update: Please see Delora’s comment below about freezing garlic!
- Buy peeled garlic. It turns out that they are, unfortunately (but not unexpectedly), more expensive than unpeeled garlic. So this step only makes sense if you are an insane garlic lover, like me.
- Trim the ends, as this will give you a chance to go over each clove individually. Throw out moldy ones and cut off bruised portions.
- Cover the cloves with olive oil. Add salt for seasoning and to increase the preservation potential.
- Beat into a puree with an immersion blender, food processor or blender. We only have an immersion blender, and we love it.
- Pour into a jar for storage (we like to use mason jars). Pour some olive oil on top to keep the garlic paste in an anaerobic environment. You’ll likely have to work in batches to finish the rest of the cloves, depending on how much you buy.
What I like about using garlic paste, compared to using fresh cloves, is that now it’s much easier to use huge amounts of garlic. Rather than standing there peeling and slicing and mincing forever, I just take a great big spoonful (or two … or three …) of garlic paste and dump it in. It also cooks much faster and distributes much more evenly, particularly in liquids like sauces and stews. When I can convince Hide to make pizza again, I think it’ll also make a great pizza sauce.
The taste is not quite the same as larger pieces of garlic (there’s a sweetness to cooked garlic, when the pieces are big enough to taste), but the ‘garlicky’ flavour is there. More importantly, for the first time in my life I can finally put enough garlic into a dish to satisfy me. I still haven’t had a dish with too much garlic, though.