Garlic can be used in many dishes and stored in a variety of ways, but it can also be useful in the garden to deter pests and in your household. Do not underestimate this formidable little herb!
You can use garlic in roasts, breads, stews and curries. Also learn how to store in pickles, honey, oils, butters and whether to freeze it or not. We look at mosquito repellents, acne treatment and more. Garlic is versatile and well worth growing far too much of!
We love how the flavor changes depending on how you cook it and now we grow it for more than just the dinner table!
What To Do With Garlic
If you can’t use in recipes pretty quickly then you may want to think of ways to store your excess garlic. Room temperature is always best but here are some interesting alternatives to consider.
How To Store Garlic
Storing garlic unprocessed is the best way to keep it fresh for around a year. This gives you time in between harvests to grow more.
To extend the life of your garlic bulbs store them in a cool, dark room with good air circulation. Excess moisture and light can lead to mold. To help the air to circulate around them we plait them and let them hang, or you could store in a wire mesh basket or cardboard box.
There are other ways of storing garlic to explore as well including; pickling, garlic confit, roasted garlic, smoked garlic, frozen, in oil, in butters, or even as garlic powder that you make with a dehydrator.
You will use a vinegar here and that means that it will essentially ‘kill off’ some of your active ingredients, thereby lowering the intensity of the actual garlic flavor, however it will last pickled for several months.
Pickling garlic does give you a chance to add some other great complimentary botanicals as well. This recipe makes the most of some great spices like coriander and cumin seeds as well as bay leaves.
Garlic confit is made by heating fat to a low temperature and cooking the garlic for a long time. Slow and low. You will then infuse the fat and store the cloves in the butter in an airtight container. The recipe allows you to store your whole garlic cloves in the fridge for several weeks.
Roasted garlic will last in the refrigerator for 1 week when peeled and covered in olive oil. Added to salads or thinly sliced in mayonnaise with sandwiches is a nice addition.
We always seem to manage to find space in our cold smoker for a few bulbs of garlic. You need to open the papery outside up a bit and this exposes them to the air and therefore the risk of mold and bacteria. This means that smoking actually reduces the life of garlic compared to air hanging.
Smoked garlic will last in the refrigerator for around 6 – 8 weeks in an airtight sealed container. The smokiness is best enjoyed quite quickly as it softens the flavor of the garlic in such a pleasant way!
This can be quite a convenient and quick method to store your garlic!
There are a few ways to freeze garlic. As whole cloves that are peeled and then popped into a zip lock bag, thinly sliced and placed into ice cube trays with olive oil poured over or as a herb butter. These options retain flavor but the first does not hold the crunch of fresh garlic.
Garlic Infused Oil
There is a lot that can go wrong here and famously homemade garlic infused oil can lead to botulism if handled incorrectly. A nice way to think of it is short term storage or even as a way to use garlic! This recipe uses 8 cloves of garlic but you can increase this if you love the flavor!!
Using compound or herb butters is a great way to preserve garlic and any other fresh herb. It will keep in the freezer for around 6 months and is a better way to freeze than direct as the garlic retains some of it’s crunch.
Top Tip for garlic butter is to make up a batch and then leave in the fridge for the garlic flavor to infuse. This should take around two days and then freeze it in one long log of butter, ready to be chopped into useful discs.
It is possible to make your own garlic powder at home. Peel your cloves and thinly slice. Place them on the dehydrator tray in single layers with it set to 115 and no higher. Low and slow is the key to drying herbs and retaining flavor. The timings will vary depending on how moist the slices are.
You will know they are dry enough when the slices snap rather than bend. I then store them in an airtight container in a dark, cool cupboard. You can then use a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar to grind into a powder.
11 Recipes For Using A Lot Of Garlic & Garlic Cloves
The best way to use up lots of garlic in one go is to use whole bulbs roasted. They become sweet and mellow and will give that earthy warmth that goes so well with lots of different dishes.
- A 40 clove garlic roasted chicken is a perfect excuse for using up excess garlic. Do not worry about counting each clove though as you will be cooking the garlic heads whole and this works out to around three bulbs.
- Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Camembert is the perfect starter for a dinner party. Follow our recipe available here and you are basically putting it in the oven and toasting some bread and that is it. Leaving more time to greet your guests or sort out the drinks. Make sure to cut the top off of your garlic bulb to allow each clove to be open, then drizzle some olive oil over them.
- Garlic Roasted Potatoes are a great side dish and this recipe uses 7-8 cloves of garlic crushed. It is open to variations and you can change it with regards to the herbs you cook with them.
- Garlic, Rosemary & Thyme Focaccia This is a great family favorite recipe and uses 4 cloves of garlic. But you can add more to then give it a bit more of a kick.
- Garlic Salad Use your pickled garlic from above and add to salads. Great with beetroot and feta or goats cheese. Pickled garlic is softer and less acidic than you may think.
- Garlic Bread Where would we be without a recipe for garlic bread? Well not all recipes are created equal and this one from Jamie Oliver is a real crowd pleaser that we make for games nights and sharing is the name of the game. With an entire bulb of garlic it ticks the boxes for strength of flavor as well!
- Garlic Roasted Mushroom keep the mushrooms moist and the garlic is not over cooked. It is possible to add more than the recipes stated two cloves of garlic as there is lemon juice used and it reduces the potency of the garlic.
- Having a simple Garlic Curry recipe up your sleeve is always useful and this one uses about 3 bulbs or heads of garlic. You will be frying off the garlic cloves for ten minutes before adding tomatoes and frying for a further ten, this gives the ability to soften your garlicky flavor and intensity.
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes are a nice creamy twist on your weeknight mash. 1 bulb of garlic roasted will work with around 2 pounds of yellow, waxy potatoes. Roast your garlic by drizzling olive oil on top of the bulb that has had the top cut off to expose each clove. Then roast at 400F for 30-40 minutes. You will need to pop the soft garlic flesh out and add to you boiled potatoes and any milk or butter ready for mashing.
- Garlic And Rosemary Roast Shoulder Of Lamb is a complete classic and we adapt this recipe to insert as many garlic cloves as we can fit in. You are promised a moist joint of lamb though and it will permeate the meat very well.
- Garlic Lover’s Beef Stew Using 12 cloves of garlic that have been mashed will give a real kick, but cooking them slowly will mellow the intensity considerably.
Using Garlic In Your Home & Garden
These are some of the more unusual ways you may want to use garlic. Perfect for those of us who grow too much of the stuff to possibly use in our own home cooking!
Garlic Spray For Slugs
The pungency of garlic is not always welcome by pests and bugs in your garden.
Using garlic spray to drench your plants makes them taste unpleasant to slugs. You are using the garlics natural defense of allicin to deter predators from other plants. Boil up a liter of water with a bulb of crushed garlic. Allow it to cool and strain the garlic. Use the water to coat vulnerable plants.
Plants like your hosta or evergreens that you want to keep looking intact will benefit from a regular soaking. This should be done in conjunction with other measures like copper collar or beer traps.
Garlic Mosquito Spray
This is great to spray in the evening and even spray the table you are eating at or to spritz the air.
To make mosquito spray crush 4 cloves of garlic in a small cup and cover with a layer of olive oil. Leave 24 hours then top up with 500ml water and the juice from a lemon. Strain and put in a spray bottle. Then spritz where you will be sitting and eating as well as the air.
Don’t spray at anyone’s eyes would be the one big tip though as it is astringent!
Garlic Toothache Remedy
No doubt this should be used in conjunction with an appointment with your dentist, but it certainly relieves pain effectively.
You can either make up a mash of the garlic from cloves and then apply the oils released to the painful spot in your mouth. Or you can slice the cloves in half and apply them to the effected area. It works for a limited time and then you can get to your dentist hopefully.
There have been studies into the pain relieving properties of garlic when taken as a supplement so this may fit in with the results found there too.
To Aid Weight Loss
Garlic will act as an appetite suppressant and help you to feel full for longer. If I’m being honest this may not be enough on it’s own to help me, but it is worth noting that a lot of those recipes I have included earlier on are healthy and will be real family pleasers, that may help you to lose weight as a bonus!
Garlic & Honey Flu Relief
This is a great relief when you have a cold, but actually is super tasty and honey garlic works very well in salads!
Use a smaller kilner jar, cleaned thoroughly. One bulb of garlic with the cloves peeled, add to the jar and then pour over honey until all cloves are covered. Two days later you can eat the cloves and use the honey as a cough syrup. Keep in the Refrigerator for no more than two weeks.
Two words of warning around health here. Firstly it is not advised to give this to children below the age of 18 months. Secondly honey will not preserve the garlic forever and the risk of botulism is real and you should not keep the garlic for more than two weeks to be safe.
Top Tip use local honey from a reliable source as some supermarket type of honey is mixed with sugar water.
I was hesitant when I fist heard this old wives tale, however Carp.com have some great tips and tricks to using garlic in fish bait! Well worth a try!
Garlic cloves when cut in half and rubbed on an acne affected area can help to reduce redness and swelling. The allicin is known as an antibacterial and will help to clear pores as well. This will help to reduce the appearance of spots.
Treatment For Athlete’s Foot
This is a straight forward way to apply your garlic lotion. Simply mix one crushed clove of garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and leave to steep for a few hours. Use a cotton bud to apply to the affected area. Reapply until well after the athlete’s foot has cleared up.
To Treat Ear Ache
Go carefully with this one as you do not want to put anything inside your ear canal. Halve a garlic clove and squeeze the juice into your ear and then rinse out in the shower after about ten minutes. This should reduce inflammation and swelling. Visit your GP to get to the bottom of the root cause of this issue though.
Treatment For A Cold Sore
This will sting a fair bit, but so will most over the counter treatments for cold sores. Cut your garlic clove in half and apply the cut side to the affected area. The antibacterial and microbial affects will work fast and you should see an immediate reduction in redness, but a few more days and the cold sore will have reduced significantly as well.
I hope you have seen that garlic can be more than just a flavor enhancer and there are some real health benefits as well. Thinking outside of the box will allow you to use up and excess of garlic in next to no time at all.
- How To Save A Recipe From Too Much Garlic It is possible to have such a thing as too much of a good thing.
- How to Grow, Store, Cure and Smoke Garlic! This is how you get too much garlic in the first place!