Garlic osa

Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Food Safety/Microbiology Specialist, Department of Food Science and Technology WHAT IS GARLIC?
G a r l i c ( A l l i u m s a t i v u m ) i s a m e m b e r o f t h e S e l e c t g a r l i c h e a d s t h a t a r e f i r m a n d t i g h t - Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae), which also i n c l u d e s l e e k s , o n i o n s , a n d s h a l l o t s . I t i s a HARVESTING GARLIC
perennial with an underground bulb (head)composed of pungent bulblets commonly called If you grow your own garlic, it is important to let it mature after harvest. Spread the harvested gar- Approximately 90 percent of the garlic grown lic heads or bulbs on newspapers or wire racks in the United States is grown in California.
out of direct sunlight in a well-ventilated place to California Early and California Late are the two cure for 2 to 3 weeks or until skins are papery.
major commercial varieties. California Early has STORING GARLIC
white skins and is planted in November for har-vest in June. California Late has light purple Commercially, garlic is stored near 32°F (0°C).
skins and is planted in December for harvest in However, most home refrigerators are too warm July and August. The largest garlic variety, for ideal long-term storage of garlic. Instead, Elephant Garlic, has a very mild-flavored clove store it in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place in and is a close relative of the leek.
well-ventilated containers such as mesh bags.
The pungent flavor of garlic is caused by a S t o r a g e l i f e i s 3 t o 5 m o n t h s u n d e r c o o l chemical reaction that occurs when the garlic (60°F/16°C), dry, dark conditions.
cells are broken. The flavor is most intense PEELING GARLIC CLOVES
shortly after cutting or chopping. This chemicalreaction cannot occur after garlic is cooked, Peeling whole cloves requires that the papery which is why roasted garlic is sweet rather than skin be removed without cutting into the clove. If the garlic is going to be chopped or sliced, the BOTULISM WARNING
skin can be removed by pressing the clove withthe flat side of a knife until the clove and skin Regardless of its flavor potency, garlic is a low- crack. The skin can then be easily removed.
acid vegetable. The pH of a clove of garlic typi- ROASTING GARLIC
cally ranges from 5.3 to 6.3. As with all low-acidvegetables, garlic will support the growth and Roasted garlic, which has become popular in subsequent toxin production of the bacterium recent years, is sweet to the taste and is delicious Clostridium botulinum when given the right con- on bread or crackers as an appetizer or served as ditions. These conditions include improper
a vegetable side dish. To prepare roasted garlic, home canning and improper preparation and leave the head whole and cut off the tip of the storage of fresh herb and garlic-in-oil mixtures.
head, exposing the cloves. Allow one-half to one Moisture, room temperature, lack of oxygen, head per person. Put the head (or heads) in a and low-acid conditions all favor the growth of baking dish or wrap them in aluminum foil, Clostridium botulinum. When growing, this bac- sprinkle with olive oil or pat with butter, and terium produces an extremely potent toxin that season with a little salt and pepper and some causes the illness botulism. If untreated, death fresh or dried thyme if desired. Bake at 350°F can result within a few days of consuming the (176°C) until very soft and tender (about 45 min- toxic food. It is important to follow the direc- utes to 1 hour). The roasted garlic cloves can be tions in this publication carefully to make sure easily squeezed from their skins and spread with 2 • Garlic: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
November 1997
the wine or vinegar. The garlic-flavored liquidand the garlic cloves may be used to flavor dish- Garlic can be frozen in a number of ways.
es. Do not store the garlic/liquid mixture at room 1. Chop the garlic, wrap it tightly in a plastic temperature because it will rapidly develop mold freezer bag or in plastic wrap, and freeze. To use, grate or break off the amount needed.
Extreme care must be taken when preparing fla- 3. Peel the cloves and puree them with oil in a vored oils with garlic or when storing garlic in blender or food processor using 2 parts oil to 1 oil. Peeled garlic cloves may be submerged in oil part garlic. The puree will stay soft enough in the and stored in the freezer for several months. Do
freezer to scrape out parts to use in sautéing.
not store garlic in oil at room temperature.
Freeze this mixture immediately—do not store it
Garlic-in-oil mixtures stored at room temperature at room temperature. The combination of the
provide perfect conditions for producing botu- low-acid garlic, the exclusion of air (by mixing lism toxin (low acidity, no free oxygen in the oil, with oil), and room-temperature storage can sup- and warm temperatures). The same hazard exists port the growth of Clostridium botulinum.
for roasted garlic stored in oil. At least three out- DRYING GARLIC
breaks of botulism associated with garlic-in-oilmixtures have been reported in North America.
Dry only fresh, firm garlic cloves with no bruises.
By law, commercially prepared garlic in oil To prepare, separate and peel the cloves. Cut in has been prepared using strict guidelines and half lengthwise. No additional predrying treat- must contain citric or phosphoric acid to increase ment is necessary. Dry at 140˚F (60˚C) for 2 the acidity. Unfortunately, there is no easy or hours, then reduce heat to 130˚F (54˚C) until com- reliable method to acidify garlic in the home.
Acidifying garlic in vinegar is a lengthy and If desired, garlic salt may be made from dried highly variable process; a whole clove of garlic garlic. Powder dried garlic by processing in a covered with vinegar can take from 3 days to blender or food processor until fine. Add 4 parts more than 1 week to sufficiently acidify. As an salt to 1 part garlic powder and blend 1 to 2 sec- alternative, properly prepared dried garlic cloves onds. If blended longer, the salt will become too CANNING GARLIC
Question: Why did my garlic turn blue?
Canning of garlic is not recommended. Garlic is a Answer: Garlic contains anthocyanins, water-sol-
low-acid vegetable that requires a pressure can- uble pigments that can turn blue or purple under ner to be properly processed. Garlic loses most of acidic conditions. This is a variable phenomenon its flavor when heated in this way. For this rea- that is more pronounced for immature garlic but son, adequate processing times have not been can differ among cloves within a single head of garlic. If you grow your own garlic, be sure tomature it at room temperature for a couple of STORING GARLIC IN WINE OR VINEGAR
Peeled cloves may be submerged in wine or vine-gar and stored in the refrigerator. A dry white or Note: Research on food preservation is ongo-
red wine is suggested; white or wine vinegars ing—recommendations may change. Make sure also work well. The garlic/liquid mixture should your food preservation information is always keep for about 4 months in the refrigerator.
current. Always follow up-to-date, tested guide- Discard both the cloves and the liquid if there are lines and recipes from reliable sources.
signs of mold or yeast growth on the surface of Special thanks to Lora Tanumihardja for her assistance in collecting materials. The Department of Food Science Home Page can be found at Portions of this publication were adapted from Food Safety Advisor 1995 Volunteer Handbook by Virginia Hiller (Pullman: Washington State University, 1995). The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. Inquiries regarding the University’s nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the Affirmative Action Director, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 300 Lakeside Drive, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612-3560 (510) 987-0096.


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