Kitchen Tip: How To Preserve Garlic

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I recently found myself with a huge harvest of hard neck garlic and no possible way to use it all before it began sprouting. I love garlic and cooking with garlic but even so, I knew I needed figure out how to preserve garlic.

While I’ve canned before, I’d never thought to preserve garlic like that. My brother visited us last week and was kind enough to spend a couple hours showing me how to can it.

Kitchen Tip: How To Preserve Garlic recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

As it turns out, it was almost ridiculously simple. It’s so simple and so effective that I wish I had learned to do it years ago.

I am so excited to have garlic ready to use now in the refrigerator and excited to share my findings with you!

This garlic tastes FRESH. If you’ve ever bought a jar of minced garlic or peeled cloves in oil or vinegar, this doesn’t resemble any of those things. I have used the preserved cloves in a couple of recipes already and the taste is exactly the same as fresh.

How to Store Garlic

Raw, dried garlic can be kept for months in a cool and dark environment. However, here in the very warm southwest, it rarely lasts over a month in my home before it sprouts. Preserving it with this easy pickling method helps keep it fresh for months.

Wondering if this method yields garlic with a pickled, vinegary taste? It doesn’t. The natural oils of the garlic prevent the vinegar from being absorbed into the cloves! Handy, right?

To use your preserved garlic, just take out the number of cloves you need, rinse quickly with water and use as desired. If you want a slight vinegar bite to the garlic, or if you are using it in a recipe that also calls for vinegar, simply use the garlic without rinsing.

I plan to try some dressings and marinades using the garlic infused vinegar once I’ve used the cloves from the jars!

Also called pickling garlic, this method is one of the most common ways to save your garlic harvest. The jars can also be processed in a pressure canner and then stored at room temperature – however, it may lose some of its flavor through the process.

I had enough space in my refrigerator that I decided to simply line a back shelf with my jars. I am so excited to have garden fresh garlic stored in my refrigerator for the winter!

Selecting Garlic

If you don’t grow and harvest your own garlic in a home garden, follow these tips for selecting the best and freshest heads of garlic from your farmer’s market or grocery store to use in your preserved garlic recipe:

First, look for heads of garlic without sprouting. Sprouting is an immediate indicator that the garlic is no longer fresh and not worth your money.

Next, give the garlic a quick “sniff and squeeze.” If it smells mildewy or moldy, give it a pass. That’s an almost sure indicator that the garlic has gone rotten.

Fresh garlic cloves should never be soft or squishy. A fresh head of garlic will be firm to the touch and not yield with a light squeeze.

Kitchen Tip: How To Preserve Garlic recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

How to Peel Garlic

Arguably the most time-consuming part of the process of preserving garlic is peeling it. Of course, you can just use your fingers and peel away but if you’re looking for a faster process or run into a stubborn clove whose skin just won’t peel, here are a few popular tricks.

One well-known way of peeling garlic cloves in a flash is by hitting the clove with the flat side of the knife. For this recipe, we want to preserve whole cloves intact so be careful not to smash your garlic if you try this method.

Many home cooks like to place their garlic cloves in a glass jar with a closed lid then vigorously shake to loosen the garlic skin. This is definitely effective but, again, just be careful you don’t smash your garlic cloves!

Using the microwave to loosen the skin before peeling could also be handy for this recipe, since we’re peeling a LOT of garlic cloves here!

Preparing Garlic

Depending on when your garlic was harvested you might notice some brown spots on the cloves. This is perfectly normal and doesn’t mean your garlic is rotten.

After rinsing once, I used a small paring knife to trim off brown spots on my garlic cloves. After all the brown spots are removed, rinse the garlic bulbs a second time and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Kitchen Tip: How To Preserve Garlic recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

Storing Garlic

If you use the method outlined in the recipe, you’ll need to store your jars of preserved garlic in the refrigerator to make them last. Designate one side of a shelf or a shelf on the inside of a drawer for your garlic jars. They should stay fresh for several months and even up to a year.

Sticking with this basic refrigerator canning method is by far the easiest and more reliable way to preserve garlic.

Following a pressure canning method with sterilized jars and lids should allow you to store your preserved garlic at room temperature for up to a year or more. (Full disclosure: I have not tested this myself!)

While there are multiple sources online that claim pressure canning works, I’ve removed this information, based on a reader review that doing this destroyed her garlic. I stick with my recommendation of preserving garlic in vinegar in the refrigerator. According to the USDA, “Canning of garlic is not recommended. Garlic is a low-acid vegetable that requires a pressure canner to be properly processed. Garlic loses most of its flavor when heated in this way. For this reason, adequate processing times have not been determined for canning garlic.”

How to Use Preserved Garlic

You can use your preserved garlic anywhere you’d use the fresh stuff! And believe me when I tell you it maintains all the same aromatic, flavorful goodness of a freshly harvested garlic bulb.

Sauteed garlic is a must-have for countless savory recipes. We use it in everything from Garlicky Ginger Stir-Fry for a quick and easy weeknight meal to Sauteed Zucchini Ribbons.

Preserved garlic (rinsed and patted dry) is also amazing roasted! Use it in Roasted Garlic Quinoa with Mushrooms,  Roasted Garlic and Bacon Guacamole and Roasted Garlic White Bean Dip and be everyone’s new best friend.

I also love garlic as an ingredient in salad dressing, sauces, marinades and savory spreads. It’s just divine in Beer and Garlic Marinade, Mojo Marinade,  and in Homemade Ranch Dressing.  This Chipotle Garlic Sauce served with roasted  fingerling potatoes are a garlic lovers’ dream.

True garlic fanatics NEED to try my Garlic Lover’s Potato Salad. That recipe alone is worth “putting up” a big batch of garlic so you have it on hand anytime a craving strikes.

Give preserving your own garlic a try. I guarantee you won’t be sorry! It’s an easy and money-saving way to ensure you always have garlic on hand anytime you need it.

Why Does Garlic Turn Blue

Updated 9/19/12 to answer multiple questions regarding, Why Did My Garlic Turn Blue? If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat.

This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

Kitchen Tip: I use this pot and these jars when preserving garlic.

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Kitchen Tip: How To Preserve Garlic

4.4 from 33 votes
Preserving garlic, also called pickling garlic, is one of the easiest ways to save your garlic harvest. There’s nothing better than having fresh garlic ready to use all year long.
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins

Ingredients 

  • Garlic heads broken apart and cloves peeled
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Large pot for boiling the vinegar
  • Jars for storing the garlic

Instructions

  • Break apart your heads of garlic and peel the cloves. Place the peeled cloves of garlic in a large mixing bowl and fill with water. Use your fingertips to scrub any dirt off of the cloves. Once the cloves are cleaned, transfer them to a large strainer and rinse well.
  • Depending on when your garlic was harvested, you might have very few brown spots on the cloves. My garlic was harvested late this year, so the ends were quite brown with some spots on the cloves as well. Use a small paring knife to trim the spots and then transfer the cleaned and trimmed cloves back to the strainer. Rinse again.
  • Bring the vinegar to a boil in a large pot. For several hundred cloves of garlic, I used about 8 cups of vinegar. Place the clean garlic cloves into small jars. (I prefer to use small vs large jars to avoid contaminating a huge amount if the jar is open for too long in the refrigerator.) I filled 10 half pint jars with garlic. Once the vinegar has boiled, pour it over the garlic and screw the lids on tight.
  • Let the jars come to room temperature on the counter overnight and then store in the refrigerator. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to a year. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 50kcal · Carbohydrates: 1g · Sodium: 5mg · Vitamin C: 0.9mg · Calcium: 15mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally posted 9/14/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 12/26/18}

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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    • Mary says

      When I was researching this, most people agreed that you can process in a hot water bath. However, the recommendation is to add the garlic to the boiling vinegar on the stove for a minute and then pour both the hot garlic and the vinegar into the jars. I honestly do not know why it is done that way, but many have done it with success. Good luck!

    • Anonymous says

      It is to bring the internal temp of the garlic up so you can can them safely I believe. Of course a lot of things are raw packed with hot liquid poured over them so I'm guessing either one would work but the processing time may be longer? Or take longer to get up to a boil? I pressure can mostly, not waterbath so I'm not as knowledgeable on that part lol. Thanks for an awesome new way to can garlic!

  1. scrumptiousandsumptuous says

    I'm so excited to have found your post! Never knew I could preserve garlic like this and can't wait to try it. I use a ton of garlic in my cooking and find it a pain to always peel the garlic. Can't wait to get a bunch canned and also can't wait to try this method for peeling garlic. My jaw dropped when I watched the video. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Mary says

      The water bath doesn't affect the texture at all. They are in the water less than 5 minutes, or however long it takes me to rub the majority of the dirt off with my fingertips.

    • Anonymous says

      She's not talking about the cleaning, Mary. She's talking about a water bath canner, which shouldn't make it mushy, but wonder how long it needs to stay in canner?

  2. Anonymous says

    So I followed the instructions as written, and for some reason…my garlic turned a greenish blue in some spots?! I have no idea how this happened! Did I just ruin a batch of garlic? :/ Have you encountered this before?

    • Mary says

      Ball Blue Book recommends 10-15 minutes and the USDA recommends 35 minutes. Just to be on the safe side, I'd probably process it for 35 minutes.

    • Anjea says

      The processing is only to seal the lids on the jars, and that only takes about ten minutes. I've been canning for years and have never had a problem with only a 10-minute processing.

    • Anonymous says

      Processing does more than seal the jars. It kills off the bacteria that will make your food spoil. It is very important to process for the full amount of time recommended! You have been lucky so far.

    • Leah says

      proccessing tie is to kill bacteria. time of proccessing depends on the altitude of where you live , where i live in alberta i have to add 10 minutes to it to have things reach the required temperature or pressure than what someone at sea level would.its a physics thing. vinegar will pretty much pickle anything but i am sorry to say it does not garantee a full kill on the bacteria, you really do have to put all high acid foods, including pickles through the hot water bath canning procedure or risk giving someone disentry .

    • Trish says

      If you store your garlic in jars wrap them in foil or brown paper to keep the light out ,store in a cool dark cupboard.

  3. Anonymous says

    Yeah, gotta love the 'peel garlic is less than 10 seconds video,' because I always have 2 huge metal bowls at my disposal!

    • Anonymous says

      Just put the head of garlic in a quart jar, put on the lid and shake vigorously. Peels as well (easier in my opinion) as the two bowl method.

  4. Anonymous says

    On the blue garlic thing–if I use garlic from the supermarket in my pickles, it almost always turns blue. If I use the garlic I get from my CSA, no blue. Do you think the freshness has anything to do with it?

    And, thanks for this post. I never buy enough garlic from my CSA because it will sprout after about six months, no matter how I store it. This year, I'll use your method.

    • Anonymous says

      Blue garlic comes from the soil, it is the metals present that turn your garlic blue if copper and green if ferrous oxide, no problem to eating however…

  5. Velva says

    This is awesome! The 10-second method to peel garlic over the top cool!

    Thanks for sharing it. I shared your post on my facebook page.

    Velva

  6. Kirstyn says

    Figured the blue garlic out today– it's a variety thing! I did this to two different kinds of garlic. No idea what types, but both were organic, and both were aged, not fresh. One turned blue, the other stayed pretty!

  7. Anonymous says

    Do you think this process and recipe can be used successfully with shallots? I have a ton growing in my garden because I simply love them… but I actually never gave a thought to how to store them! LOL #didntplanaheadproperly

    • Mary says

      I don't know how that would work. I imagine that the shallots would absorb more of the vinegar and become more like pickled onions. (The garlic doesn't taste the least bit like vinegar after you rinse it right out of the jar.) It might be worth doing a jar or two of the shallots though, just to see if you like them. If you try it, let me know how it works!

  8. Anonymous says

    Shallots will keep in the fridge if you just place them whole in a glass of water with the roots still on. They keep for a month or longer because they keep growing. I have seen them turn blue like the garlic. Just rinse them off and they are fine..
    I also freeze a lot of garlic. Clean and just put them in freezer bags. Pull out cloves as needed. You can also just preserve them in oil. Garlic is easy to preserve.

  9. Anonymous says

    Too much trouble. Just peel , put in jar and cover with olive oil, Not only do you preserve the garlic you get garlic flavored olive oil- 2 for one!!!

  10. Anonymous says

    My kindle won't let me watch your video and it's taking me hours to peel all of my garlic. Please tell me your secret.

    • Mary says

      Break apart the head of garlic by whacking it with the heel of your hand on the counter. Place the broken apart cloves in a large metal mixing bowl and cover that with a second bowl. Hold them tightly together and shake as hard as you can for about 30 seconds. The skins will fall off and you'll have peeled garlic cloves in the bottom of the bowl. I hope that helps! (I've also done this using a large mason jar, when I didn't have bowls handy.)

    • catherine says

      Just break up the heads leave skin on and put them in a zip lock bag and freeze the whold bag full of garlic . use as need still has the flavor of fresh . Italians have done it this way for years also.

  11. tajerome says

    I used this method today, very easy! Have your garlic cloves ever turned a grey/bluish color on one end when you've canned them? Some of my cloves are discoloring on the ends that i cut. Just wondering if this is them spoiling or if this is normal.

    Thanks!

    • Mary says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I've never actually seen this happen, but apparently it is fairly common. (see the link above for more info.)

  12. sagimoon says

    I peel, slice & dehydrate my garlic. Once dried it's stored in canning jars. When needed I put the slices in a nut/coffee grinder & powder them. Be careful though, it's much more potent than regular garlic powder.

    • Anonymous says

      That's probably because store bought powders have preservatives and fillers in them to avoid caking up. So a tsp. of store powder is not equivalent to a tsp. of homemade.

  13. Anonymous says

    Although peeling over 100 cloves by hand wasn't fun I am so lazy when I am rushing to make dinner that I often sub powder for the real thing. So today my hours of peeling will save me time later. Yay! And since I hate that frozen garlic leads to funky tasting ice water I am hoping nothing else in my fridge will reek of garlic.

    • Mary says

      I've been told that people have done that successfully, however I haven't done it myself. Sorry I can't be of more help with that!

    • Mary says

      As long as they seal tight enough not to leak, they should work fine. This is refrigerator canning, not pantry storage, so I can't think of a reason why they would have to be canning jars.

    • JP Colter says

      I use those Glad plastic storage containers – the ones with screwtop lids and they make a nice tight seal. I use them for preserving lemons as well for several months at a time.

  14. Mia says

    This is a fantastic idea. I'm glad I found this info. I am tired of feeling guilty for throwing bulbs of garlic that went bad. Will do this tonight as I just bought fresh garlic. Thank you~

    • Mary says

      Sorry about that, Connie! I've fixed the link to the video and added it with the recipe instructions. I hope that helps!

  15. Dani says

    I love this post! I just bought a large bag of peeled garlic cloves from Sam's, and I've been worried they'd go bad before I had a chance to use them all. This is the perfect solution!

  16. Anonymous says

    I preserve my garlic in the freezer. I researched it and I chop the garlic in a food processor and then put it into a gallon freezer bag. Then I pour in olive oil. Lay it flat to freeze. When I am ready to use it, I use a knife and shave it off like butter into whatever I am cooking. I have never had a batch last too long, because we use it regularly.

  17. Anonymous says

    try freezing it in ice cube trays, then popping them into freezer bags. Works great. Esp when you're not allowed to play with sharp objects like me. Too many trips to the ER. (and i have to post as Anonymous too since it keeps telling me I don't own my wordpress identity. Um, ok)

  18. Anonymous says

    Hi there – pretty new to preserves , had a question about the canning process
    ok so when you pour the hot vinegar over the garlic and screw the lid on tight is that it? or do i still have to use a hot water bath or pressure canner?

    • Mary says

      This is not a canning process as written. The jars are simply closed with their lids and then stored in the refrigerator. I've never canned the garlic with a hot water bath or pressure canner.

  19. Cecette says

    Hi! Just to check in to see how everyone's garlic held up. Was the texture still good over months? How about flavour? Did any take on the vinegar flavour even after rinsing?
    I plan on trying these out 🙂
    Thanks!

    • Mary says

      You'll use however much vinegar you need in order to cover the garlic in the jars. I used about 8 cups of vinegar for several hundred cloves of garlic.

    • Mary says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I've never actually seen this happen, but apparently it is fairly common.

    • Mary says

      If you use a canning process to seal them, then yes, they will seal. I choose to simply store them in the refrigerator and that eliminates the need to process and seal them.

  20. Anonymous says

    Hi I would like to try the water-bath method and would like to know do you cover the jars with water or bring it up to say.. the necks of the jar??? Also what temperature is recommended when using this method – Thanks.

  21. Anonymous says

    Is there any reason not to use this method with the big refrigerated plastic bottles of peeled garlic cloves from Costco? (they aren't chopped or mashed, just plain peeled cloves). I've purchased it before, but it doesn't keep very long.

    • Mary says

      I have no idea if the peeled garlic from the store is treated differently or if it would work the same way. It might be worth trying a jar of it though, just to find out.

  22. sarie says

    Lots and lots of garlic. Fruit is coming next and i have to bottle them otherwise its a loss. Thank u for the fantastic recipies and knowledge

  23. E. Oulashin says

    Safety question: We had a power fail this weekend and I am wondering if my garlic will be safe.

    I sterilized glass jars in the microwave and boiled the lids for 10 minutes. I then filled the jars with peeled cloves (Costco), and then poured in boiling vinegar to the top and tightly sealed the caps. I did NOT process the jars however, I just put them in the fridge after they cooled.

    Power was off for 52 hours. I just now checked as the fridge has fully recovered and I measured 34 degrees as a “starting point”. And assuming the temperature rise would be roughly linear, I estimate that the garlic would have been at 40 degrees or more for between 25 and 32 hours before the power was restored.

    Do you have any idea if this will be safe to eat or should I just toss it?

  24. Holly O says

    Quick question I have about 100 heads to do . Do I have to refrigerate all the jars or can I store them in a cabinet ?
    Thank you

  25. Marlene says

    I did my garlic the same way you did. I processed it in a hot bath. Question I have is why did my garlic turn blue and the water became cloudy. Don’t think I will be using it. Garbage now.

    • Mary says

      It’s okay to use if it turns blue! I addressed that in the article. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen several times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  26. Kathy says

    I am glad to hear about caning the garlic because I have a lot and didn’t know what to do with it so thank you!!!!!!5 stars

    • Mary says

      It has not in my experience. It isn’t really in contact with the metal lid though, except for possibly as the jars are moved to the refrigerator.

  27. Gini says

    How long do you water bath process for if you dont wznt to store in the fridge and just want to store in a cold room?

    • Mary says

      I honestly do not know if that would be safe. I’m not a canning expert and I am not comfortable guessing. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

    • Mary says

      I’ve boiled the vinegar for years simply because I was told to do that. I recently tried it without boiling and it worked fine. This isn’t going in the cupboard, it’s going in the refrigerator, so it shouldn’t be an issue as long as everything is covered. I honestly couldn’t find a good reason to boil it if you aren’t brining in a flavored solution. (Boiling would help blend the flavors in that case.) I hope that helps!

  28. isabel says

    I put the garlic buds in a jar then I put the vinager and some honey , without boiling it, will it spoil? Can I take the vinager now and boil it ? Please help me, I never preserved garlic before. Thank you.

    • Mary says

      There is no honey in this recipe. I have no idea how adding that will affect things. If you’re storing this in the refrigerator it should be fine as is. I wouldn’t remove the vinegar now to boil it though.5 stars

  29. John says

    Used this method many times. Garlic does not have a vinegar taste. I do purchase peeled garlic in a three pound bag from Costco. Saves a lot of time.5 stars

  30. Ralph Odierna says

    tried boiling the vinegar and poured it over the peeled garlic cloves waited till it got to room temp
    then put it into the frig. woke up the next morning and a jar full of blue garlic.dumped it all simple
    i dont think so

    • Mary says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.5 stars

    • Mary says

      As noted above, if your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.5 stars

  31. richard carabillo says

    We prepared the garlic as directed EXCEPT we did not boil the vinegar (white). Packed a few pint jars of peeled garlic and stored in fridge. At first the garlic was good as fresh BUT as time went on the entire lot tasted like vinegar and had a strong smell of vinegar. Unfortunately we had to discard the entire lot which left a strong smell of vinegar in the kitchen for a couple of days along with the kitchen sink drain. An expensive experience to say the least. Where did I go wrong?5 stars

    • Mary says

      I use the garlic straight from the jar for cooking and I’ve never had a vinegar taste to the garlic. However, some people have noticed it with their own garlic, so I have been told that rinsing the garlic before using it helps. For myself, I’ve used the jarred garlic for at least a year without any issues.

  32. Lenora says

    I have several questions. What percentage vinegar was used? If you read vinegar labels at the store there is 4%, 5% and also a higher percentages for canning. (pickles). Is that why the garlic turned blue? Was the canning method used?

    • Mary says

      I just use plain white vinegar and I’ve never watched the percentages. Garlic can turn blue when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  33. Reveca Sandoval says

    I’m doing as I saw a lady on You-tube , she cleans her garlic cloves then puts in a jar with water & puts in the refrigerator, she showed a jar that she’d put in there about 1 month ago & they look fresh ! Another method is break up in pieces put in ice tray pour extra virgin olive oil and set in freezer, she takes out as many of the frozen cubes as needed , she put in pan to show what it looks like after frozen , seeing is believing !

  34. Deborah says

    Do you think this would work with the bag of peeled garlic you get at costco? : – ( . I live in the city no garden

    • Mary says

      I honestly don’t know why it wouldn’t. If you decide to try it, let me know how it works out, Deborah.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Yes, garlic can turn blue / or green when preserved. I linked to an article and described what happens to cause that earlier in the post. It’s 100% safe to eat.

  35. Cristina says

    Hello my question is.. pouring the boiled vinegar will not cook up the garlic, or should it be letting the vinegar cool down. Please advice.

  36. John Cooper says

    Question:
    A friend tried to pickle fresh garlic in “Organic” vinegar and the cloves turned GREEN!
    She’s concerned whether they would be safe to use or eat.4 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m guessing the garlic actually turned a shade of blue – as noted above. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  37. Gayle says

    We were able to grow garlic this year. We love the taste of fresh garlic better than the dried garlic. Will this recipe work well with fresh garlic?

  38. Clarice says

    I love garlic, and found that it has many medicinal purposed. So….I purchased a large bag at the store pre=peeled. But, can’t seem to find enough ways to use them in large quantities. So…. I came across your receipe. How wonderful for me, I am going to try it today. I will let you know how it went. Thanks so much.. I didn’t want my garlic to ruin.

  39. Karen Merullo Shiebler says

    Really looking forward to preserving the garlic from my farmer’s market! Thanks for this easy guide. Also, this Italian grandmother has never tried the microwave peeling method! Very cool!5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Kay, to make that easier to understand on a smaller scale, you’ll need to make sure that however much garlic is in the jar, it will be fully submerged in vinegar. I hope that helps!

    • Mary Younkin says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat, Barb. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  40. Gavin Keogh says

    A tip for peeling garlic is to blanch the garlic in boiling water. That is to say place the cloves in boiling water for a couple of minutes then cool in cold water immediately. The skin will then slide straight off. I have also preserved garlic in brine and this works well.
    Garlic turning green or blue in vinegar is common and the garlic I’d still fine to eat!

    • Jean says

      Hi Mary… Well I pickled 12 garlic bulbs following your instruction and when I got up this morning the garlic cloves had turned blue.. What did I do wrong and are these still good to use??

    • Mary Younkin says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat, Jean. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  41. Scott Dennis says

    If pickling the garlic with a brine, what weight percent salt solution should be used and what are the instructions for the hot water bath canning. I don’t have extra refrigerator space and would like to try canning with brine as well as vinegar to see the difference. thx

  42. Sue H says

    I followed the instructions but I did get some blue garlics. The jars have been in the refrigerator since the end of October but I noticed the vinegar is slightly orange colored. Is the garlic still okay?? This is the first time I have tried to preserve my garlic for longer use. Not a promising try!

    • Mary Younkin says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat, Sue. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

    • Sue H says

      Just checking – yes I have some blue garlic but the vinegar has changed from clear to slightly orange. Is that okay?

  43. malou says

    Please read the advice against canning garlic in this link:
    http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/files/251548.pdf “Botulism Warning”
    CAUTION: Canning garlic is not recommended. Garlic is a low-acid vegetable that requires a pressure canner to be properly processed. Garlic loses most of its flavor when heated in this way. For this reason, adequate processing times have not been determined for canning garlic.
    As with all low acid vegetables, garlic will support the growth and subsequent toxin production of the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum under the right conditions. These conditions include home canning and improper preparation and storage of garlic-in-oil mixtures….
    and so it goes…

    • Mary Younkin says

      If you read the full PDF for the link that you shared here, on page 3 of that document, it specifically says that storing garlic in the refrigerator in vinegar or wine is safe and recommended for storage. “Adding wine or vinegar to garlic provides an acidic environment (less than pH 4.6) so that Clostridium botulinum cannot grow.”

  44. Jan says

    I made this and then tried to seal the jars using standard ( not high pressure) canning since I planned to leave in the refrigerator. The boiling combined with the vinegar and the lids turned the garlic a metallic green. It didn’t happen with the matched jars that it did not boil.

    • Mary Younkin says

      If your garlic does turn blue or green, it is still safe to eat, Jan. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  45. Jono Incledon says

    Wow am stuck in South Africa’s lock down like so many others but great to see how to store garlic and clearly spelt out for one.many thanks will try your recipe.5 stars

  46. Jess says

    How long does the garlic stay fresh after opening the jar? Appreciate this recipe, looking forward to trying it.5 stars

  47. Dre says

    Hi! It’s been about a week an a half to two weeks that I followed your receipe. The vinegar in the jars have turned a pretty green color??? Is this normal??

    • Mary Younkin says

      If your garlic turns green or blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  48. Annmarie says

    If I didn’t boil the vinegar and poured it over garlic bulbs in mason jars in fridge , will they keep ? Or did I have to boil the vinegar?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Didi, I was initially taught to boil the vinegar, however, as I’ve mentioned in multiple comments now, I’ve done this without any issues at all simply covering the garlic in vinegar and then refrigerating it.

    • Mary Younkin says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  49. Diana says

    Hi I seen where you said it was ok if the garlic turned blue, thank goodness because I woke this morning and found some that had blue spots haha. My question is though are the lids supposed to seal? Mine didn’t so I was wondering.5 stars

    • Sandra says

      Will wild cleaned garlic stay firm and fresh if preserved in a solution of half cold water and half cold vinegar. Keeping jars in the fridge. How long will they keep fresh and eatable.

  50. Nargis says

    Hi,

    Do you put the hot boiled vinegar in the jars instantly and put the lid on the jars over night till it becomes room temperature before storing in the fridge? Or do you boil the vinegar then wait for it to cool down a little before putting it in the jars with garlic?

    Thank you

    • Mary Younkin says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  51. JEANNETTE BARHOUM BARHOUM says

    Hi Mary…… do you add water to the vinegar to boil or just plain vinegar? And pouring boiling on the garlic will it not cook the garlic??

    Thank you

    • Mary Younkin says

      You do not add water to the vinegar, Jeanette. And I’ve since learned you can use hot or cold vinegar and it will preserve the garlic nicely either way. (Hot vinegar does not “cook” the garlic, it still works beautifully.)

  52. Sharon says

    My grandkids peeled a huge amount of garlic today and read that the jar should be filled with boiling water. Was this incorrect? If so, is it safe to remove water and add vinegar?

    Thank you!

  53. Kathleen Wiberg says

    why do you boil the vinegar since it’s been distilled already? I’m thinking it might work to just pour the vinegar in the jars directy…..?? what do you think?
    thank you,
    Kathleen
    ps: If I get the nerve to try it and chance wasting all that peeled garlic, I’ll let you know next year if it preserved well. (that’s assuming that I have preserved enough memory synapses to remember!)

    • Mary Younkin says

      YES! I’ve since learned that you can just pour vinegar over the garlic. I start using it right away and just work through the jars in the refrigerator.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’ve since learned that you can just pour vinegar over the garlic. Either way works fine. Some people are just more comfortable boiling the vinegar first, Linda.

  54. Sonya says

    Okay the reason you would boil the vinegar and get it nice and hot it’s because it actually will seal the jars if you do not boil the vinegar and use cold vinegar you’re going to have to use the garlic right away that’s why you boil the vinegar .

    • Mary Younkin says

      While yes, the heat might seal the lids on the jars, Sonya, it isn’t guaranteed. Because of that, I don’t recommend storing the garlic at room temperature. If you want to process in a hot water bath or pressure canner, they can be stored that way. I refrigerate the jars to keep it simple for myself.

    • Dana says

      Do you mean cure It as in letting it sit and dry after you harvest it? If so, I’d like to know that too. Just harvested garlic and trying to figure out the best way to store it longer term…

  55. NordyBagLady says

    Some of my garlic cloves have turned bluish-green. Not sure why. Can I just pick out those cloves, reprocess, or throw it out?

  56. NordyBagLady says

    I just submitted a comment regarding garlic turning bluish-green; please disregard. I missed your detail that is normal. Sorry! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Mary Younkin says

      If your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat.

      This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  57. Dana says

    Hi! Just wondering how to tell if the garlic has gone bad after you’ve preserved it and opened the jar and it has sat open. Like if you didn’t use them all right away and now you’re wondering if the rest are still OK to use.

    • Mary Younkin says

      That’s a good question, Dana. I’d probably base it on smell. That said, I’ve had jars of garlic in my fridge for up to a year without any issues at all.

  58. Susan Lauder says

    ~ I will try this tonite when it cools down.. My 1st time preserving garlic. My sister got me 3 bags! from Costco lol.. I hope it all turns out..Thank you for your help on this site.

  59. JanNoel says

    I just tried this. Soooooo easy compared to most other recipes that call for all sorts of fresh herbs and stuff. I’l update soon.5 stars

  60. Nancy C. says

    I used the recipe for preserving garlic with distilled vinegar, followed it to a T and it is turning blue…can you tell me anything about this??? And thank you.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Nancy, if your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  61. Dinah says

    Thank you so much for this method. Just put 3 jars homegrown garlic in the fridge. Do you have an opinion as to how long the garlic will be good in the fridge once I’ve opened the jar to start using? Thank you!5 stars

  62. Diane says

    Thanks for this recipe. I have only a small jar of small cloves. Also some jumbo cloves from a separate planting. I decided to preserve the small ones. This should be great.

  63. Vickie says

    Well, I followed your instructions to a tee, I am not a beginner at canning.
    After all that peeling I followed exactly after pouring in the vinegar most cloves began turning green.

    • Mary Younkin says

      As I mention in the post above the directions – if your garlic does turn blue, it is still safe to eat. This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common. I hope that helps, Vickie.

  64. Vickie Bouldin says

    I have done much research now on the problem of the blue green garlic.
    I see it is normal thanks for your response.5 stars

  65. Jennifer says

    AFTER the jar is opened in the fridge, how long does it typically last? I understand they will last canned in the fridge for a year. But I’m wondering about once the jar is opened.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Jennifer, the garlic isn’t actually canned and preserved in a traditional way. You can open and close the jar as much as you need to for cooking purposes. The vinegar is preserving it in this method. I’ve used jars in my own fridge for up to a year.

  66. Cathy Hanson says

    Sadly, this ruined all of my beautiful garlic. The whole crop. The vinegar permeated all of it within about three weeks and they started turning blue and/or translucent. I tried salvaging by rinsing them out but the vinegar had penetrated too much. A crop takes nearly a year where I live and this was my best crop ever.

    I did see that many others noticed a blue color too, but mine also turned translucent and the vinegar permeated it completely, changing the taste of the garlic. I tried to roast some and the burning and watering of eyes due to the vinegar in the air was like cutting onions and it really did ryin the taste of the garlic. ☹️

    1 star

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Cathy, I am so sorry to hear about your garlic! I have been trying to figure out what could have happened and my best guess is that you pressure canned the garlic. I don’t know for how long you might have done that, since I do not provide instructions for that here. And while I’ve never tried that myself, other readers have commented in the past that it works for them. That’s the only reason I can possibly imagine for the garlic turning translucent. (like it had been cooked through?) I imagine this dramatically changed the taste and texture of the garlic.

      All of that said, I’ve done some research and I’ve removed the line in the above post that stated pressure canning can be an option. The only method I’ve ever used myself is to pour vinegar over the garlic in a jar and then store it in the fridge. This is what I recommend throughout this post. I’ve been storing garlic this way for over ten years now.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m at a loss then, Cathy. I can certainly appreciate your frustration though. Storing the garlic in vinegar shouldn’t have changed a thing. I’ve been using this method for years, as have countless others and the garlic has never turned out like that. If you followed the instructions as written, without being in your kitchen with you, I can’t even guess what might have happened.

  67. Alex G says

    I’ve used a very similar recipe to preserve garlic scapes (the tender stem of an immature garlic plant).
    Definitely use it to preserve garlic or scapes, or small onion bulbs, etc. and store in the refrigerator.
    However, this is a PICKLING recipe without a doubt. The acidity is needed to prevent botulism poisoning (caused by toxin created by botulinum bacteria). Garlic prepared in this manner can be eaten straight from the jar. However, it will have a pickled taste (which I like).

    The pickled taste disappears if the garlic is used in cooked foods that require sauteed crushed garlic (eg in sauces, stews, etc). 4 stars

  68. Michelle says

    You are a saint. I just filled 1 half-pint jar and I feel like I’ll be covered in garlic stank for the rest of my life. The whole time I was peeling my 6 bulbs of garlic I was wondering to myself “is this really even worth it?” Garlic is so sticky and the skins are so thin! Your spouse and/or children (if you have them- sorry, I’m not familiar with your blog I found this through Google) should cherish the hell out of you because if you can peel 10 jars worth of garlic you must be the most patient person on planet earth. And I commend you for that.

    Anyways, this recipe was very straightforward and kept me from having my garlic go bad! I bought probably a dozen bulbs at the public market this summer for about $2 and have been using it a little too slowly. Next time I’ll probably just push it all through a garlic press though and preserve it minced, just because I kinda hate peeling garlic.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m glad it worked out for you, Michelle. However, for future reference, I always use the shake method, either in a jar or between two metal mixing bowls (the bowls form a round container that I hold closed and shake like mad) to peel multiple cloves of garlic. You win major points for actually peeling those sticky cloves!

  69. Sophie Shoults says

    Will this work with dried garlic heads? I have quite a few from a badly planned christmas shop and unsure how to keep them from going mouldy.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Katherine! I’ve boiled the vinegar for years simply because I was told to do that. I recently tried it without boiling and it worked fine. This isn’t going in the cupboard, it’s going in the refrigerator, so it shouldn’t be an issue as long as everything is covered. I honestly couldn’t find a good reason to boil it if you aren’t brining in a flavored solution. (Boiling would help blend the flavors in that case.) I hope that helps!

  70. JoAnn says

    I followed your instructions exactly as you posted and after just a few days, several garlic cloves in each jar have green on them. What went wrong?

    • Mary Younkin says

      As mentioned in the post, if your garlic does turn blue or green, it is still safe to eat.

      This can happen when enzymes and amino acids present in garlic react with the sulfur compounds responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. I’ve seen this happen a few times now and apparently, it is fairly common.

  71. Linda Rodriguez says

    If you want to water bath the garlic after putting the boiling vinegar over the garlic buds, would it seal the jars so they can be set on shelves and not have to keep in the refrigerator? My refrigerator is small….about how long should I water bath it? Thanks for your help!5 stars

  72. Becky says

    I have a question about your canning method.

    Can you Store them on the shelf or do they have to go in the fridge? I am looking for long term shelf life in case we loose power.

    Thank you for your response.

  73. Amanda says

    Hello thanks for the information did you have to sterilise the jars before putting the garlic in?

  74. Anita says

    I did not sterilize the jars, but saw in a comment that you said they need to be. I didn’t see that in the directions, so not sure what I should do now. The jars were brand new, might they be okay?

  75. Shannon says

    I have a question – are these hung to dry right out of the ground and then you do this jarred method? Can’t wait to try it.5 stars

  76. Lee Thurston says

    Great tip on preserving garlic.I do disagree with reader who said pressure canning destroyed garlic.I get 25 lbs.of garlic from a friend who grows it commercially and pressure canned most of it. Absolutely delicious in garlic butter,soups,stews,casseroles,etc.My stepson claims best garlic butter he ever had.Thank you for new way to preserve garlic for a little variety.5 stars

  77. Mary Reichertz says

    Very easy. Very fast – except for peeling my garlic harvest :). Used some yesterday and it was great. We’ll see how it is as time goes on.5 stars

  78. Ann says

    I tried this with two beautiful, purple heads of garlic. I found that I could definitely taste the vinegar and the oil did not prevent it from seeping through. It was evident just by looking at them that the vinegar had seeped through and no amount of rinsing took it away; especially any cloves that had a spot removed allowing the vinegar to easily get in.
    Also, I found the blue color they turned very off putting. I was browning garlic cloves for a meal, I had some that were in the vinegar and some that were frozen and stored in a Food Saver air tight bag. The frozen ones turned a beautiful golden brown, while the other was a very unappetizing blue.
    In my opinion this is not the best way to preserve extra garlic, giving the taste, color, time to make and use, and the space needed in the refrigerator.
    Freezing whole cloves is by far easier, less space and time, and no unslightly blue color.2 stars