Harvest Monday, April 15, 2013 – Garlic Storage Update

In my 6/8/12 post, I mentioned some gardeners believe the garlic bulbs will store better and longer if the scapes are not removed.

Decided to do an observation. Below is the result when I checked the garlic yesterday.


Left, garlic scape was not removed, instead, left to mature
Right, garlic scape was removed at the bud stage.
The above garlic (variety: music) were harvested on the same day last June and stored under identical conditions

The garlic where the scape was removed at bud stage did not store as well as the garlic where the scape was left to mature. However the differences were not that great so I think I will remove the scape at bud stage and enjoy them (garlic scapes are delicious but only available for a short time). Also the garlic cloves where the scape was removed at bud stage were larger.

Decided to experiment with freezing garlic.

Freezing garlic

Frozen peeled garlic
Left, uncooked. Right, cooked.

I like the frozen cooked garlic a lot, it blended easily into whatever dish I am cooking and I could use it frozen.

Did not care for the flavor of the frozen uncooked garlic (wasn’t bad, just seemed a bit stronger than fresh) and I must remember to thaw ahead of time if I want to slice or mince.

Conclusion: The frozen cooked garlic is convenient to use and I need not worry about spoilage.

I will cook and freeze most of my garlic this year leaving only a small amount for using raw.

Fig tree

Fig tree starting to leaf out

The weather forecast for most of last week was overcast and some rain but no frost. So even though it was a bit too early, decided to wheel my fig tree out of storage and onto the driveway (where it will remain) to harden off.

Because of the extended overcast weather I did not have to wheel the fig tree in and out of the garage while hardening it off, thus saving myself a lot of time and energy. But because there is still chance of frost, I will need to keep an eye on the weather forecast for the next few weeks and cover the tree if frost is in the forecast.

???????dsc05093weblarge-copy.jpgRemember the scilla I posted last Monday?

Deer came through and ate all the flowers, (every single one) for dinner or was it for breakfast?

This is what I found (left photo) when I went to get the newspaper Tuesday morning.

You guessed it, I was not a happy person

The only unprotected spring flowers the deer will leave alone are the daffodils and the helleboros (will post photos at a later date when they bloom).



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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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68 Responses to Harvest Monday, April 15, 2013 – Garlic Storage Update

  1. Hotly Spiced says:

    It looks like you had a great garlic harvest. I have never tried to freeze garlic before. Lovely to see the green of your lawn after all the white of the snow xx

  2. Liz says:

    I hadn’t thought to freeze garlic before. I understood that it tended to go a bit bitter. But if that isn’t an issue after it is cooked then it definitely sounds like something I should try.

  3. Dave says:

    I sure feel your frustrations about the deer! It is maddening when they eat everything right when it’s flowering, or ready to harvest.

  4. Kim says:

    Good Morning Norma :0)
    how did you cook the garlic before freezing it?
    Those darn deer! I have spotted tons of rabbits around our new neighborhood, we’ll see how
    much eating they do, but no deer! Can I just tell you how happy I am not to have dozens of deer
    eating my garden? Very Happy.

    Happy Gardening

  5. pooks says:

    Is your cooked garlic roasted?

  6. kitsapfg says:

    I have never frozen garlic before – I will have to try roasting and then freezing some. I have HUGE amounts of garlic still in storage. I need to cut back on how much I am growing as it is way too much for just the two of us now.

  7. Never thought to freeze garlic before – great idea.
    How lovely to see your fig tree with a few green leaves appearing. Sadly ours is at the stage of going into its winter hibernation with just a few leaves left to fall off.
    Have a happy week.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mandy,
      I believe your fig tree bears fruit over a longer period of time than mine and you got a lot of figs from your tree. Did you freeze any?

      • No, I didn’t even realise you can freeze figs – will have to experiment next season. Have you had success freezing figs?

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Mandy,
        Tried freezing figs for the first time 2011, had my kids tried them thawed and unthawed, they liked both ways. Had a good crop last year (2012) froze a few quarts and enjoyed them over the winter. Kids even asked me to save some for them. Hoping for another good crop this year.
        Easy to freeze: wash, drain, place in freezer bags and put in freezer to enjoy out of season. They are not the same as freshly harvest but we like them.

  8. I wonder if a quick blanching would work as well as thoroughly cooking the cloves. I love your experimental approach to cooking and food preservation.

  9. michelle says:

    I’ve frozen raw garlic before, I chop it and freeze it in olive oil. You’re right, it’s ok, but stronger than fresh. I think I’ll try your method with whole cloves this year and perhaps modify my method by chopping and lightly cooking in olive oil before freezing it. It is handy to have it already chopped – I just slice off a chunk and toss it in the skillet.

    The danged deer, they are so capricious – they eat all the flowers off of my poppies but leave them alone in other gardens around the neighborhood. And they will leave some plants alone some years and other years they devour them. My list of flowers that they never eat is very very short.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Michelle,
      Did not know deer will eat poppies, need to put a fence around mine. This year the deer seem to eat even more variety of plants than previous years.

  10. Great experiment with the garlic scapes Norma. I will remember that for when I can grow garlic! Thanks 🙂

  11. Kristy says:

    I do love deer. I loved having them in our yard at our last house, but they do such damage to gardens. Freezing garlic is such a great idea and has to make meal prep convenient year-round. 🙂

  12. I am going to try your method of storing the garlic. Thanks for sharing, Norma.

  13. Norma, we freeze our garlic broken into cloves and unpeeled. Then it’s just a case of rinsing the cloves under water to defrost them. Your way is probably better, but I’m lazy.. 😉

  14. Thank you for the garlic storage tips, our family always overbuys it 😛

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. GrafixMuse says:

    Oh Norma! How awful the deer ate every single flower on your Scilla! Interesting comparison on the garlic. Garlic scapes are such a treat that I wouldn’t be able to resist harvesting them either way.

  16. Shawn Ann says:

    I would love to have a fig tree sometime soon! My daughter and I really enjoy dried figs regularly! I had my own critter experience this week so I totally feel your frustration!

  17. Eha says:

    Oh sugar, I am thrilled ’cause i had a lot of garlic ‘go off’ this summer just passed and never thought freezing would work!! Now i have your coooked way and Celia’s way and I’ll be sure to try them both! Thanks to both of you 🙂 ! [Love deer, but sure would hate to come out in the morning to find out my beds had been their restaurant choice!!].

  18. That’s a great tip to cook the garlic first before freezing Norma. My attempt to grow garlic failed last year, so I’m hoping for better luck this year. Has it been as cold there has it has been here?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Barb,
      Hope your garlic grow better this year. Oh yes, it has been way below normal temp where I am. Quite behind with my garden chores and was hoping to get caught up this week, unfortunately am down with a nasty cold and must stay indoor.

  19. ChgoJohn says:

    You, Norma, are becoming the George Washington Carver of WordPress! I never thought to freeze garlic but, then again, I do not have room to grow garlic so I would rarely, if ever, have so much that I would need to freeze some. Still, if ever I do, I know where to come for the info. Thanks!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      You are just too funny. Garlic do not require a great deal of garden space. I plant mine in a single row along the garden bed. Did you know that garlic is a good companion plant for rose, beet and cabbage family?

  20. This is a good tip to freez a garlic. I have to try it.

  21. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Excellent garlic experiment Norma! I freeze everything but have never frozen garlic before – will definitely do so now. I love freezing fresh grated ginger in tablespoon-sized portions for dropping straight into a stir-fry. I guess the cooked frozen garlic would work similarly well, after a light smash with the back of a knife. Thank goodness the deer at least left your beautiful daffodils alone. Our possums are pests in the garden, but at least they’re small so their trail of destruction is manageable.

  22. Daphne says:

    I’d never even thought to freeze garlic. Mine tends to last almost until the next season’s is ready in early July. I do dry it though. I like powdered garlic for some things.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      My garlic varieties got mixed up and not all store well. Freezing solved the problem of spoilage. Powdered garlic, that’s an interesting idea, must give it some thought, thanks for the idea.

  23. Thanks for sharing your experiment results!

  24. Purely.. Kay says:

    That garlic looks amazing. I’ve never thought to freeze fresh garlic before but I think that’s an amazing idea. I love this Norma

  25. Garlic envy!…I’m interested but Q. How much maintenance do you have to do with them? I am not consistent with it and my gardener is a bit un-reliable. I’m in SoCal which might not be the best but better than NY only draw back is I’m in Manhattan Beach and the soil is salty (or what I’ve been told).

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello HHG,
      Garlic is very easy to grow and requires no maintenance. I believe soft neck garlic is grown in California. Check with your local co-operative extension or garden center for planting time and varieties. In New York, I plant around October, the only thing I did since planting was fertilizing a couple weeks ago. I should start harvesting garlic greens this week, garlic scape end of May early June and heads of garlic around end of June.

  26. one of mama’s favorite dishes are stir fried garlic scapes…interesting to know about the storage though, Norma…I can always count on you to be a garden-pro! =)

  27. Juliana says:

    Great idea to freeze cooked garlic…I must give this a try as I always get garlic from Costco and end up throwing half of it out…
    Beautiful post Norma…as always.
    Enjoy your week 🙂

  28. Hello Norma, you had the word garlic in the title of your post so of course I had to read all about it. It is a great idea to cook and freeze it. I usually only chop up lots of it fresh each week so that it is easy to use. I must admit I go through quite a bit of it. (You know it is one of the Chinese trios for cooking :garlic, ginger and chilies..) Happy gardening and wishing you a super day! BAM

  29. I’ve never even thought to freeze garlic:) you are great experimentalist!!! Your flowers are awesome!

  30. How disappointing!! My mom has the same problem with deer at the lake, they destroy everything. I think she tried the sound box but it annoyed the teenager next door, lol. I will remember to try storing garlic this way, I seem to throw a lot of garlic out..

  31. Eva Taylor says:

    We’ve been swamped at work lately and I’ve just been too tired to even look at a computer when I get home, so I’m very sorry to have missed the posts this week Norma. You’re garlic looks great; I’m quite worried about mine (the one’s I planted last fall) as they haven’t even sprouted yet, nothing green coming up and we’re heading into a cold snap tonight.
    As I’ve mentioned before I keep my ginger in the freezer and use it frozen on my micro plane, I’m sure you could do the same with your garlic and not have to defrost it to use it. Your fig tree looks amazing, I can’t believe such a nice canopy can exist with such a small root ball. I’d love to try it but our garage is barely large enough for our VW Jetta!
    Bad deer.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      Please do not apologize, we all have lives outside of the blogging world, I have missed blogs due to many reasons, due to real life.
      I have to water and fertilize the fig tree frequently and may need to do so even more frequently this year as I never got around to repotting it last fall, will aim for repotting this coming fall.
      Still battling the nasty spring cold.

  32. I never thought about freezing garlic. Will have to consider that the next time I buy them in bulk. I do freeze my ginger though. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Anne,
      I did try freezing ginger, did not work out well for me, prefer instead to peel and slice, submerge the slices in pale dry sherry and keep refrigerated

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