Monday, February 2, 2009

Losing my head over garlic

"You can, but you shouldn't" is a proverb I hadn't heard until I started researching whether or not you can freeze fresh garlic with no adverse effects.

First, the back story:
An inattentive/apathetic cashier at Wal*mart shoved a produce bag of four heads of garlic into a bag with some frozen foods. I'll admit I was a little negligent, too. Putting away groceries late at night after a 5-year-old was carsick all over herself, I wasn't careful to take everything out of the bags. I shoved what appeared to be a shopping bag of frozen fish and vegetables into the deep freeze. Two nights later when I was looking for the garlic I bought, it dawned on me to check the bag in the freezer. There was the garlic.

A few frantic Googles and an angry call to a Wal*mart manager later, I had a decision to make. I could keep the garlic -- in the freezer, wrapped in plastic and inside a tightly sealed container -- and use it a clove at a time, risking lost flavor and funky texture.

OR I could return the garlic to Wal*mart for a replacement and risk them putting the perfect-looking heads I chose back in the produce bin for me or some other shopper to take home unknowingly. I wouldn't put it past them.

So far the garlic is still in my freezer. I used four cloves of it and the texture of the thawing cloves is somewhat like that of lettuce that has been frozen -- the beginnings of mushy. Chopping it is like cutting through a frozen grape or a melon ball or maybe a creamsicle. It's not right. It's not crisp. But it doesn't seem to taste so bad. I think as long as I put it IN something -- saute it, melt it in sauce or mix it into a burger -- it shouldn't be so bad.

That's right. I am leaning toward keeping it. Part of what I found in my research said freezing garlic isn't such a bad thing as long as you double-wrap it like I described above and use it up fast. But first, I think I might call Lynne Rosetto Kasper on "The Splendid Table" and see what she thinks. I'll let you know if I get through.

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