Friday, June 15, 2007

kitchen essentials — a potent paste

one job i really do not like doing is chopping garlic and it seems i do it often. some weeks, it's almost a daily task as i use it in many things. to get around this menial task, i often make up a jar of either finely minced, or [somewhat] completely puréed, garlic from several bulbs and store it in the freezer for quick use.

the freezer? yes. i got tired of my batches of unpredictable "cyanotic-looking" garlic. depending on several factors, garlic may turn light green or blue in a [safe to eat] chemical reaction. this process usually takes place about 1/2 hour after it has been made, so far as i've noted. freezing your batch prevents this from happening though you have to freeze it right after you've made the paste. while nothing will happen to you if you eat this funky coloured garlic, it doesn't sit well with me — garlic should be white, not green or blue.

storing garlic in oil in the fridge, over long periods of time, can also be "iffy" in that it can harbor bacteria which have the potential to colonize over time. storing the garlic paste in oil in the freezer is safer and does not leave you with a block of ice — the finished paste does not freeze completely solid and is quite amenable to being taken from, and used, on the spot.


garlic paste

a staple item for many kitchens, this easy to make paste can be stored for a good while and save you time while cooking.

ingredients:

2 large bulbs garlic, peeled and cleaned up
kosher salt
olive or vegetable oil [extra V oil is too strong; don't use it]

method:

peel and clean up all the cloves of garlic. slice them in half and remove any germ stems that are growing (the green part in the center); if you have young garlic you won't need to do this.

place the garlic in either a food processor or a sharp bladed blender and process until the garlic is broken up. add 1 to 2 tsp of salt to help it from sticking.

add 1/2 c of oil in 2 additions and process the garlic to the point you like it.

place the garlic mixture in a VERY CLEAN (sterilized) glass jar. add more oil to make a runny type paste. stir with an extremely clean spoon or knife.

note that any water introduced to the paste will potentially spoil the paste, so make sure all is very clean and dry.

store in either the fridge, if you don't mind the garlic turning colour (if it happens), or in the freezer.

the paste will be good for a few months.

9 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great tip! I'm also like you. I hate to peel and chop garlic, although I'm addicted to it and eat it on a daily basis...

TopChamp said...

I quite want to try leaving the garlic to go funny colours... just to see how weird it looks.

Princess Jibi said...

I could kiss you for this tip...
You have no idea how it has been bothering me... I never had this problem in Guyana. And I hate how it smells when it turns green. And I hate having to make fresh ones everyday cause that garlic smell stays with my hand all day...

This is one thing am definitely going to try.. And I have been using extra virgin olive oil... k I am going to use the vegetable oil from now on...

burekaboy — said...

rosa - i really wonder how much of it i use per year...LOL. hey, you got an avatar! :)

TC - why, oh why, does this not surprise me? hehe. somewhat dr. seussian, no?

PJ - i'm sure you can use the extra V as you've been doing. i personally find it too strong and don't use extra V for cooking, only for salads, etc.

regular olive oil or vegetable oil is fine for doing this. anyway, give this a try and you won't have the discoloration problem. funny that it never happened in guyana, only here. makes me wonder why...

Princess Jibi said...

I think it must be the climate or air or something. Like I would peel the garlic and have them outside for days in Guyana and the wont have mold, here it only stays outside for a day or two before it gets mold.

burekaboy — said...

hi PJ - you could be right or it may be the type or variety of garlic we use here. it's very odd. oh yeah, try rubbing your hands on something stainless steel like a big metal spoon you use to mix things with. apparently, it transfers the smell of the garlic from your hand to the spoon. it's supposed to work.

burekaboy — said...

hi PJ - you could be right or it may be the type or variety of garlic we use here. it's very odd. oh yeah, try rubbing your hands on something stainless steel like a big metal spoon you use to mix things with. apparently, it transfers the smell of the garlic from your hand to the spoon. it's supposed to work.

Vidya said...

I didn't see this post before making my large batch of garlic paste this weekend. I had got a 3 lb bag from the warehouse store, and it had been lying around for 2 weeks now. I don't use garlic much in my everyday cooking, but I want to incorporate it more for the health benefits. I sat around peeling this mountain of garlic while watching a movie. Then processed it with no water or oil or salt, put it in ice cube trays, in very small quantities and froze them. Now the cubes are in a freezer bag. It took me a couple of batches for that much amount of garlic, since I have only 2 ice cube trays. I'm hoping that the convenience will induce me to use it more, we'll see. I hope it will stay frozen and good for use for at least 6 months, since I don't see it all being used up before then.

burekaboy — said...

hi vidya - holy moly that's A LOT of garlic! garlic has a lot of health benefits according to many. my family always used quite a bit of it in our cooking. i really like it and go through many bulbs over the course of a year. i usually buy 5 or 6 at a time. i make various pastes like this one or garlic-ginger paste for indian and asian recipes. the garlic ginger one doesn't need to be frozen though; seems something in the ginger prevents discolouration (as i mention about garlic in the post).

the garlic pastes they sell in the supermarkets are more than often treated chemically to prevent rancidity, spoilage from bacterial growth, to keep them very white and promote long shelf life. yours should be fine frozen as you did. i'm sure, well wrapped, they'll be good for 6 months. i see lots of pesto in your future, vidya! LOL.