Why You Should Freeze Your Peeled Garlic Cloves

updated Aug 25, 2020
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Every night, dinner preparation basically starts the same way: I wrangle with peeling the paper off my hands and my cutting board from a few cloves of garlic before slicing or mincing them. Then I have garlicky fingers to contend with for the rest of the evening, despite trying all the tricks to get rid of the stink.

Yet, I endure both of these things because nothing beats the glorious flavor that comes from the well-loved allium. Leave it to my colleague, Lauren, who comes from a proudly Italian-American family, to provide the solution to all my troubles: Freeze the cloves.

Freeze Your Garlic Cloves to Make Light Work of Dinner Prep

Lauren learned this ingenious trick from her mom. When she takes a head of garlic home from the grocery store, she immediately peels the cloves, puts them in a plastic container, and tosses the container in the freezer. Then she’ll take out as many as she needs for a recipe and slices, chops, or minces them straight from the freezer — no need to thaw. This meal prep trick helps cut down a tiny bit of nightly prep and, the best part, cutting them from frozen magically results in no stinky hands!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

While, yes, you do still have to contend with the mess that comes with peeling the cloves, peeling the entire head at once rather than peeling cloves as you need them does save you the nightly headache. Get it out of the way when you get home from the grocery store and you’re looking at much easier dinner prep.

And while whole heads of garlic can last up to six months when stored properly, garlic’s life span begins to decrease quickly once you break apart the head and take out the individual cloves. Not only is it nice having peeled cloves ready for all your dinner needs waiting for you in the freezer, but freezing also extends the lifespan of peeled garlic. Freezing can tame of the flavor of the garlic slightly, but we think it’s worth the trade off.

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