How to store and use homegrown garlic and onions

Pickled garlic and sweet onions

Store garlic in small jars to share. Pickled onions (in the center) are made by using small to medium red onions.
Store garlic in small jars to share. Pickled onions (in the center) are made by using small to medium red onions. | Source
Candy globe shaped yellow onions can keep for about 3 months. Chopped and frozen, they will keep for a full year.
Candy globe shaped yellow onions can keep for about 3 months. Chopped and frozen, they will keep for a full year. | Source

Why grow garlic or onions?

A head of garlic or a pound of onions aren't exactly budget busters at the grocery story. However, most of the garlic found in grocery stores comes from China. Super sweet onions just don't survive the rigors of travel, and storage.

Variety is the main reason folks choose to grow their own garlic. For example, there are garlic varieties with big, fat, easy-to-peel cloves and some varieties so hot you'd think they just might self ignite.

Onions come in a wide variety of tastes, sizes, sugar content. You will find common red, white and yellow onions at the grocer. Gardeners have more choices. Choose red, spicy torpedo-shaped onions to disk-shaped white onions that grow only two and a half inches wide.

All members of the onion or allium family can be easily preserved. You will always be glad to find extra jars of these onions or garlic in the pantry.

Garlic and onions belong to the Allium family. Shallots, leeks, chives, and scallions are also in the genus. If you stock any of these ingredients in the pantry, a simple supper or dazzling dinner entrée is not far behind.

Never waste another head of garlic. In fact, you just may start buying or growing too much garlic or too many onions on purpose.

Whether saving an abundant garlic harvest or a basket of garlic from the farmers market, try these ways to stretch the harvest. If you have more heads of garlic than can be used fresh, preserve them by pickling, freezing or roasting.

Pickled garlic gloves

Peeled and pickled, these mild garlic cloves can be substituted for fresh garlic cloves in most recipes.
Peeled and pickled, these mild garlic cloves can be substituted for fresh garlic cloves in most recipes. | Source

Pickled garlic

Get Ready

  1. you will need Five 4-ounce canning jars sterilized and lids prepared.
  2. Use 5% vinegar, the usual grocery store plain white vinegar. Choose canning-and-pickling salt to prevent cloudiness.
  3. Use at least 3 three whole peppercorns per jar. I used mixed pink, white, black peppercorns.
  4. Add a hot pepper or small sprig of dill or rosemary to the jar to make this pickled garlic your specialty.
  5. I used a half of the new, milder, but still hot “Suave” Habanero Peppers in each jar. A slice of a jalapeno pepper may be enough.

Ingredients for making pickled garlic

  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar, white
  • 1 tablespoon salt, canning-and-pickling salt
  • ½ packet Truvia stevia, or 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 15 or more peppercorns
  • 2 cups whole peeled garlic cloves
  • Herbs sprigs or few leaves, optional

Pickled Garlic Instructions

  1. Get Ready - Five 4-ounce canning jars sterilized and lids prepared. - Use 5% vinegar, the usual grocery store plain white vinegar. - Choose canning-and-pickling salt to prevent cloudiness. - Use about three whole peppercorns per jar. I used mixed pink, white, black peppercorns. Add a hot pepper or small sprig of dill or rosemary to the jar to make this pickled garlic your specialty. - I used a half of the new, milder, but still hot “Suave” Habanero Peppers. A slice or two of a jalapeno pepper in each jar may be enough.
  2. Prepare lids and rings. Sterilize jars and keep hot.
  3. Bring the vinegar, salt and stevia to a boil in a non- reactive pan. Add garlic cloves and return to a boil.
  4. Add three peppercorns to each jar. With slotted spoon, fill hot jars with garlic. Top with vinegar, leaving 1/4” headspace.
  5. Release air spaces using a knife or chopstick down the inside of the jars. Check vinegar level again, dry jar rim, top with lid and ring.
  6. Process in a water bath. When water returns to a full boil, process for 10 minutes.

What do you think?

5 stars from 3 ratings of Pickled garlic

Homemade & ready anytime

Squeeze roasted garlic bulbs. Mix garlic with butter. Reshape into a stick or log. Refrigerate or freeze.
Squeeze roasted garlic bulbs. Mix garlic with butter. Reshape into a stick or log. Refrigerate or freeze. | Source

Roasted Garlic

Make roasted garlic to freeze or blend with butter. Mild flavored and sweetly caramelized, smear squishy roasted garlic bulbs on fresh Italian bread instead of olive oil or butter. Use the same technique to make herb butters.

Set oven at 375.Bake 40 minutes. Brush loose papery skins off garlic. With a sharp knife, carefully slice off the top third of 3 or 4* whole heads of garlic. Center garlic heads on a square of foil, drizzle with 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil.

No additional seasoning is required. Cover and close the packet of foil. Roast for 40 minutes. Allow packets to completely cool before opening. Or wait as long as you can hold back the crowd that the smell as attracted.

TRY IT: I prefer to omit any seasoning before roasting garlic. That allows for more flexibility when using roasted garlic in recipes.

See for yourself. Many roasted garlic recipes call for topping garlic heads with salt and pepper. I don't think I can taste any seasoning in the finished roasted garlic. If you do, add herbs or salt and pepper roasting.

Squish out a clove and smear directly onto baguette or Italian bread slices. Using the garlic instead of butter or olive oil on the bread. If any roasted garlic remains, cover and refrigerate.

Roasted garlic bulbs

In my favorite Italian restaurant, a small bowl of roasted garlic is served with the bread. No butter, no olive oil.
In my favorite Italian restaurant, a small bowl of roasted garlic is served with the bread. No butter, no olive oil. | Source

Saving roasted garlic

Portion out garlic as you will use it in future cooking. Mix with butter, olive oil, or tomato sauce and freeze in plastic ice cube trays. When frozen, remove from tray and store frozen cubes in a heavy zip lock bag.

No need to thaw. Drop roasted garlic cubes into spaghetti sauces, soups or stews while cooking. Works well with roasted meats. Use roasted garlic in any recipe that calls for fresh garlic. Expect a sweeter, mellowed taste.

*Any number of garlic heads may be roasted at one time. Placing a few trimmed heads in several smaller packages will allow garlic to completely cook through and caramelize.

Sampling of garlic varieties

varieties
soft/hard neck
storage
comment
Purple Stripe
hardneck
moderate
purple streaks
Silverskin
softneck
long keeping
good for braiding
Porcelain
hardneck
moderate
thick heavy scapes
Artichoke
softneck
long keeper
mild flavor
My favorite: California Early. Softneck excellent for braiding, not hot. Mild flavored true garlic taste, generous sized bulbs in white skinned wrappers. Keeps for 6 - 9 months. Great choice for roasted garlic.

1 Head of Garlic

1 head of garlic that weighs about 2 ounces contains about 10 -15 cloves of garlic. Equivalents very, a single clove of garlic could be ½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. So, the best answer is “the cooks choice”.

Garlic equivalents

USDA's National Nutrient Database, Agricultural Research Service

One clove of garlic equals about 1 teaspoon, or three cloves equal about 1 tablespoon (9 grams).

1 head of garlic that weighs about 2 ounces contains about 10 -15 cloves of garlic. Equivalents very, a single clove of garlic could be ½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. So, the best answer is “the cooks choice”.

Garlic powder is dried and ground into fine powder. One clove of garlic equals 1/8 teaspoon of powder.

Garlic is loaded with vitamins and minerals, however relatively little garlic is used per serving in any recipe. So, the nutritional value is minuscule.

Mark your calendars: National Garlic Month is April. National Garlic Day is April 16th.

Garlic has it's day.

Mark your calendars: National Garlic Month is April. National Garlic Day is April 16th.

Storing and keeping onions

Pickled onions

Pickle sweet onion slices - Pickled onions are a sandwiches best friend, and are quick and easy to make any time. Red onions make a beautiful jar of spicy pink pickles. Take advantage of super sweet onions from Texas or Georgia in season.

Make extra jars of onion pickles. Sold as pricey gourmet fare in food shops and delis, these homemade pickles are fast and frugal. Just boil a bit of sugar and canning salt in vinegar.

Frozen chopped onions

Freeze chopped onions - No need to blanch fresh onions before freezing. Simply chop and freeze. Remove chopped onions from the freezer and add frozen to soups, sauces, stew or chili. Add to crock pot recipes, baked or roasted meats and in any cooked recipe.

Frozen onions do best in recipes that require cooking. Using thawed chopped onion raw in recipes tends to be disappointing.

Crunchy red onions lightly spiced

These pickled onions are known as "refrigerator pickles", not meant for long tern storage.
These pickled onions are known as "refrigerator pickles", not meant for long tern storage. | Source

Pink pickled onions

Pickled red onions turn the vinegar and the onions pink.

Ingredients

2 red onions, sliced about 1/4 inch thick

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ - 2 cups of white vinegar

herb sprigs (optional)

slice 2 or 3 medium size red onions in 1/4” slices.

Instructions

In a small saucepan, add sugar, salt and vinegar. Heat and stir until sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Add onion slices. Heat through and cook for 1 minute.

Add herb sprigs or leaves to bottom of each container or jar.

Use a slotted spoon to pack onions into pint canning jars or a container with tightly covered lid.

Pour vinegar over onions to completely cover the onions. Close the jars or containers and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Keeps up to three weeks in refrigerator.

Onions are easy to grow

Candy onions and scapes grown in Southeast Missouri, USA
Candy onions and scapes grown in Southeast Missouri, USA | Source

More by this Author


Comments 20 comments

Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 22 months ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

peachpurple I never though about the amount of vinegar, because it is the cheapest ingredient. Vinegar in jars is a small amount because the jar is packed with onion or garlic. I do buy vinegar by the gallon because I use it for cleaning and in the garden. The onions only requires 2 cups for example. Plus that pickle jar vinegar is great for making salad dressing, marinade and in recipes.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 22 months ago from Home Sweet Home

Wow you need a lot of vinegar for the canning?


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Hello, teaches12345. When you roast garlic, your kitchen smells like a gourmet restaurant. Growing your own garlic is easy and takes very little space or care. You cam even grow it in containers. Thank you I appreciate your comments an thoughtful comments.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I love using garlic and onions in recipes. They add a great flavor to almost any dish. Thanks for sharing valuable information.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Well, phdast7, you made my day.Thank you kindly. You live in a state that grows some great onions. Consider this, buy a couple extra pounds of onions to cook low and slow. Once caramelized, divide and store recipe portions in zip lock freezer bags. Keep a generous portion in the fridge. Once you have these caramelized onions handily available, you will find loads of good reasons to use them. I appreciate you reading my hubs and sharing.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Garlic and onions are so wonderful. :) What a marvelous and useful HUB. Thank you. :)


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

B Lucy, Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it. Today, I am planting a few garlic bulbs that will be ready for harvest next July. When you grow your own garlic, you will use more garlic. If it is handy and available, it's easy to be creative in the kitchen. When people say they are going to try something that I have written, it makes my day. Let me know if you have any questions, any time.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

AudreyHowitt, My garlic is called Early California which is mild with large white cloves. Many garlic bulbs are purple, pink, brown. They range in taste from mild to spicy and much, much too hot no matter what. Thank you for reading my hub. Please feel free to share and if you have any garden related questions, please ask.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Just excellent! I did not know that there were garlic varietals--but it makes perfect sense!


B Lucy profile image

B Lucy 2 years ago from Podunk, Virginia

Wonderful hub . . . am definitely going to try this!! Thanks for sharing!


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Thank you for reading my Hubs. I really am a gardener. But once you have some moderate success, what to do with all that produce? Garlic and onions can be grown in containers. And they inspire great meals. Please ask if you have any garden questions. Enjoy!


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Jackie Lynnley, I am always grateful when I see you have read my posts. It makes my day. And, because you are so busy, here is a great tip.

Friends and family will never be late for dinner again. Buy a head of garlic. Wrap in foil and throw it in the oven. The family will start drifting to your kitchen, possibly even the neighbors will come. Roasted garlic is like a dinner bell. Women from the Beautiful South need to know.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 2 years ago

Very information and I love your pictures. Got to try these for myself. Thanks for sharing.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I am so sorry I missed this for so long. So busy lately my mail is piling up on me and all I do is apologize anymore!

This is great and I am copying it off to use as soon as possible. The only pickled onion I have eaten is the same day put in water vinegar and sugar for a few hours ahead of dinner time. I love that so know I will love this. I just don't know a thing about planting garlic and I want to; guess I better look that up. I keep plenty but not to use as much as I would like too.

This is so good; will share it around everywhere I can!


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Roasting garlic is like ringing the dinner bell. Expect folks to show up when this heavenly scent begins to waft out the kitchen door. I appreciate you! Thanks for reading and sharing my hubs.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Something else I can do, Patsybell (I didn't say when)! Thank you for these instructions. The roasted garlic interests me more. Thank you.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Hey Phyllis Doyle, Thank you for your kind comments. I grew enough garlic for a year, but that type will only keep for 6 to 9 months. So while it is in premium condition, I roasted and froze about a third of the garlic. This winter, that mellow roasted garlic will be the magic touch in my famous chicken noodle soup.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Hi Patsy. Garlic and onions always get my attention and this hub is perfect for making these favorites last longer - and get better use out of them. Thanks for writing this hub and sharing your tips.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Faith Reaper, It is always a pleasure to hear from you. There were a few days that my house smelled like an Italian restaurant while roasting garlic and caramelizing onions. I appreciate your kind words. It makes all the difference when fellow writers support each other by voting Up +++ tweeting, pinning and sharing.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, I love garlic and onions and you have certainly produced a wonderful hub here full of insight and oh so useful!

Thank you for sharing your wealth of information here to bless many who are interested.

Up +++ tweeting, pinning and sharing

Blessings

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