Making Garlic Easy: Peeled, Minced, Stored, Ready!

I had an epiphany the other day.

I was in my local hippie health food store, perusing the refrigerated aisle and getting mad that there wasn’t any cream or organic dairy that wasn’t ultra-high-pasteurized, lamenting over the low-fat kefir, and cringing at the selection of toxic tofu, when I came across this:

Wait, is that garlic? Pre-peeled?!


I was tempted to just buy that little bag at a dollar and eleven cents, but it was really, really little, and so I said to myself, “NO, self! You’re done buying pre-packaged convenience foods when you don’t have to. You’re going to make this yourself, dangit! And you will share with all the Believers on the blog.”

So here we are. Peeling garlic can be SO ANNOYING. Why not get it all done in one fell swoop? Who wants to take precious minutes of their dinner making time to fumble over garlic peeling, or chopping, or crushing, or mincing, or getting sticky, smelly fingers, or any other of the general ridiculousness garlic preparation requires of us? I mean, it’s worth it — garlic is amazing. But it’s a pain in the butt. So let’s deal with it as little as possible, sound good? I’m thinkin’ so!

Preparing and Storing Peeled Garlic Cloves

Once peeled, garlic doesn’t keep nearly as well as it did with all that papery mess all over it. So, I learned that you have a few options:

  • Peel enough for just a few days, or the week. In an air-tight container in the fridge, this should be totally fine.
  • Store the peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. This still needs to stay in the fridge, if not the freezer. It can’t be kept at room temperature. In the freezer, it will keep for a few months.
  • Freeze it! You can just freeze them plain, if you don’t want to worry about how many days they’ve been in the fridge.
  • Mince and freeze. I know for me, 9 times out of 10, if I’m using garlic in a recipe, it’s minced. So to make things even easier on ourselves, we can just mince it all up and stick it in an air-tight container in the freezer. Break off how much your recipe calls for as needed. This is the option that I think works best for me.

Mincing, Freezing, and Storing Your Garlic

First, we peel!

Now, this is the part where I divulge an amazing secret. The EASIEST way to peel garlic — ever. I learned this from my friend Adrienne at Whole New Mom. I’ll let you head over there and learn the secret. (Though you might figure it out from these pics, I guess…you should still read the post! It’s great!)


Chop, chop!

If you have a food processor, or one of those weird things that hyper guy sells, that will probably be easier than mincing by hand with a knife. I don’t currently have any sort of gadget to help me though, so I’ll do it the hard way.



Oh! I forgot — another way you can do this is grate up the garlic with a cheese grater! I guess you could also use a garlic press, if you have one. Keep in mind though that both of these methods make the garlic bits smaller and more juicy, and could be a little more prone to freezer burn. But you could do this with your pre-peeled and stored garlic cloves as you use them, instead, if you’d like!

Bag it up

Or, jar it up. Just needs to go into an air-tight container. A plastic freezer baggie works for me!


Yes, I know that's just a plain sandwich bag. I was out of the freezer kind :)


Did you know that if you suck the air out of it right before you finish closing it, you kind of become a ghetto version of one of those food saver vacuums?



Yeah, sorta.

Break it off

Just reach on in there and break off a piece of that block of minced garlic. Use as needed!


And that’s about it!

Oh, another tip — did you know that stainless steel can take out the garlic stink from your hands? Just try rubbing your hands against your sink, or if you’re like me and don’t have a stainless steel sink — you might want one of these things. Your hands will be absolutely reeking if not!


Have you ever thought to prepare your garlic ahead of time? What do you think works best?


Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

{This post is linked to Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, Simple Lives Thursday, and the Living Well Blog Hop!}

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MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: Your health is between you and your health care practitioner. Nothing in this blog is intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

21 Responses to Making Garlic Easy: Peeled, Minced, Stored, Ready!
  1. Jackie says:

    Here’s another easy way to peel garlic:

    I’ve seen someone do it using the whole bulb (still broken apart, though).

  2. JanaC2 says:

    This is a wise idea with any cooking. If I am going through the effort to do it once, I may as well cut/chop/peel extra.
    I have been using garlic a lot lately in my Mediterranean cooking and have really gotten my money’s worth out of a fancy garlic press… no peeling necessary!
    Oh, and thanks for the tip for getting rid of the smell… I sure needed that!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Good point, Jana. Yeah I’m really thinking I want to get a good garlic press — but I seem to remember it leaving bits of the paper stuck in there when I tried to press un-peeled cloves. Maybe a stronger, higher quality one doesn’t do that. I also need one of those de-stinking stainless bars because my sink is made of granite!

      • Monique says:

        or you could just rub your stainless steel pots

        • ButterBeliever says:

          Wow, I don’t know why, but that had never even occurred to me. Haha! Thanks, Monique!

        • He He you said rub your pots.. Sorry that cracked me up – yes I’m a dork. :) The idea of lacto-fermented garlic (as mentioned in comments further down) sure sounds interesting. I wonder how that effects the taste?

          And Monique – holy shmoly you eat straight garlic mixed with habaneros? That’s one potent mix – have you ever gotten that in your eyes? I made the mistake of getting fresh habanero juice in an eye while camping years back… then made the double mistake of trying to wash it out in the sink which only got it in both eyes. That was a fun time. :)

  3. Tas'. says:

    I’ve been making my own minced garlic for years. I do a kilogram (about 2 pounds) at a time. Peel it all and then whiz it up in the food processor with a tablespoon or two of sea salt and a little bit of water. It then stores in jars without needing to refrigerate or freeze (though I normally do keep it in the fridge). Depending on the quality of the garlic, it may turn a freaky blue-green colour after a day or two, but that is not a problem and it then changes to a nice buttery yellow after a few more days. I’ve found that my local, organic garlic doesn’t do that, but the cheap Chinese one does.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Whoa, interesting!! That does sound a little scary — yet another reason to buy local I guess! So that would probably just be lacto-fermented garlic then? Good idea!

    • Afshan says:

      how long does ur minced garlic keep???
      i just minced a bunch…was doing it batchwise and took a small break in between…by the time i finished mincing it, it turned green!! :(
      shud i throw it out?? or…is it gonna change bak??

  4. Monique says:

    I have one of those slap choppers, actually 2, one regular size and one much smaller, got them both at a thrift store, you should go, I just peel, pile them up and in thirty seconds or less of happy slapping…voila, finely minced garlic. give it a quick rinse and you are good to go. easy peasy. oh I also use this method for habaneros peppers which I eat raw with the raw garlic almost everyday, I just add the combined mixture to my food. same thing fast and easy peasy, just twist off the stem, cut in half, or not, slap away and…voila, it never lasts me long so I just put it into a small glass container in the fridge.

  5. jill says:

    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

  6. carol says:

    I have done that sucking out air thing too!

  7. Emily,

    Thanks for the kind feature.

    Believe it or not, I have found a few more “easiest ways.” Gotta get moving on my posts. Too much to write and there is still life to live.

    Speaking of which – on to the exercise bike and reading.

    Take care!

    – Adrienne

  8. RKWE says:

    Rather than buying something, here’s an even easier trick:

    Most kitchen knives are stainless steel. Holding the sides of the blade with your fingertips, run it under cold water for 15-30 seconds. Works for onions too.

    The phenomenon for this has to do with the stainless aspect of S. Steel. The odors are caused by free sulfoxides released when you cut onion-family bulbs (the stuff that burns your eyes, of course). The sulfoxides bind to the metals in the steel, which is how they become “stainless” in the first place.

  9. Karen says:

    wonder what it would taste like if you lacto-fermented chopped garlic? then i wonder if it could be stored in the pantry or fridge?

  10. Suzanne says:

    A little late on this post but just found your amazing web site. I think I read this in NT but have lent out my copy for a while. Really need to have 2 or 3 copies for that reason.

    I process 12 heads at a time. Peel, place in jar, cover with whey, sit on counter overnight and then refrigerate. Not only do you have instant garlic, but I use the garlic whey for flavoring salad dressing, quacamole, etc.

  11. bon says:

    Amazing! Frozen garlic, who knew!

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