An abundance of garlic –(with preserved garlic in extra virgin olive oil recipe!)
Back in the summer of 2020, we harvested our first garlic crop. We planted enough for a high number of feast baskets, our own cooking—assuming two heads of garlic per week, and a generous buffer for losses. The garlic was very successful and we had abundant hard neck and soft neck garlic.
While we included garlic in our November and December feast baskets, lots of our other crops didn’t do as well as our garlic—especially the brassicas—which the local wildlife enjoyed, celeriac—which appeared to have not even germinated, and winter squash—which we planted a little late so a lot of the fruits didn’t mature. That meant we created fewer baskets—but still had enough garlic for our original goal. And, in our first full year of production, we just didn’t have the bandwidth to assess and problem solve all the extra garlic.
All of which is to say, we have garlic coming out of our ears!
While usually one preserves produce at the height of freshness, I am doing it now. A little late to be sure, but the garlic is still more flavorful than anything we’d get at the grocery store.
Over the past few weeks I have made aglio e olio multiple times, roasted garlic jelly, preserved garlic in vinegar, French style garlic confit, garlic broth, and plain roasted garlic. There are some benefits to the COVID social restrictions—we don’t have to think about the impacts all this garlic is having on the way we smell!
Shaun, who does most of our household cooking and food prep, has been particularly appreciating the garlic I am preserving in extra virgin olive oil. The oil is already infused with the garlic flavor so it is a bit of a shortcut to adding great garlic flavor to food. It also means the garlic will keep for a few more months.
I found a bunch of different approaches on the internet which informed the approach I am using.
You can do this with as much or as little garlic as you’d like. I recommend either using all the garlic you have or looking at the size of the jar you want to keep it in and peeling enough to fill that to overflowing. The garlic heads are more pliable once you’ve heated them and more will fit into the jar than will raw. I did about 2 pounds of garlic, which was about 10 largish heads the first time and about 15 medium and largish heads of garlic the second time. As with other preservation, remove any brown or soft places.
For every pound of garlic, I used a teaspoon of salt. Some sources suggest not using sea salt because the mineral content can affect flavor and preservation. Since we cook with sea salt and this is a short-term preservation method, I used sea salt.
I am using apple cider vinegar. I haven’t done it with another vinegar yet. We have a lot of apple cider vinegar and that seemed like it might be a nicer flavor to add than distilled white vinegar and the apple cider vinegar infused with garlic is nice for other recipes. I am thinking of experimenting with a white wine vinegar and maybe a sherry vinegar. If I do and can get myself organized, I will share those results here.
Most of the recipes recommend adding herbs. The most common recommendation is “a few sprigs of thyme and some dried bay leaves.” I didn’t use much of either as I wanted the most garlic flavor and flexibility for the other flavors in the oil. I used a lot more in my French style confit. All the herbs I used were O/p Farm grown—if I do this earlier in the year, I will have more fresh herb options.
Garlic preserved in olive oil
2 pounds of garlic (give or take), peeled
2 teaspoons of salt
2 cups of apple cider vinegar (give or take)
1.5 cups of extra virgin olive oil (give or take)
A few sprigs of fresh herb you like with garlic
2-4 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
Put peeled garlic and salt into a medium saucepan and add enough apple cider vinegar to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is just tender but still firm.
Lay the garlic out on a clean cloth. Once the garlic is dry, pack into a sterilized glass jar. Two pounds fits into about a one quart jar. Alternatively, you can use a few smaller jars. Add herbs (or not) and fill up the jar with extra virgin olive oil An abundance of garlic –with preserved garlic in extra virgin olive oil recipe!