I hate onions.
Not of course caramelized, delicious onions but the raw kind or when the pieces are so big you can’t help but chomp into them and hear the fibers breaking in your mouth. It’s a texture thing for me and no matter how hard I try to overcome it, I just can’t.
But, garlic? That’s another story.
Garlic and onions are the old married couple. They just go together and make food just taste better. And, I LOVE garlic. After we had been in Morocco about a month we went to the olive souk (market) and I spied a jar on a shelf and asked what was in it. Why, it was crushed garlic packed in olive oil.
Genius! I happily paid the 15 dirhams (about $2) and walked home with my prize in hand. That first sniff after I opened the jar? Pure heaven. I’ve been caught multiple times with my nose in the jar. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
To celebrate National Garlic Day a group of my food blogger friends decided to create recipes centered around garlic. How could I not join in? So if you’re journeys don’t have you visiting Marrakech anytime soon you can create the garlic infused olive oil at home. Or should it be olive oil infused garlic? You decide!
I’m very lucky and the raw ingredients for this are very easily available and inexpensive. I use pure, raw olive oil. My mother in law actually has gallons of it made fresh with every year’s olive harvest. Chances are you don’t have olive trees in your backyard to harvest and press olive oil. That’s ok – just use the best quality you can afford.
Then you need garlic and lots of it. I used about 10 bulbs of garlic to fill a 12oz jar. Yes, you’ll need a clean glass jar with a tight sealing lid. Recycle something you’ve got on hand – mine is an empty mayonaise container! A garlic press is helpful if you want your garlic crushed but you can also leave it whole or chop it into rough pieces.
Get your workspace ready. I suggest a chair and table because this does take some time. Having a good knife on hand to scrape off the crushed garlic and cut off any blemishes will be useful. Begin by removing all of the white outer skin from the garlic bulbs. If you have a large knife lay it horizontally across the bulb and whack the blade with the palm of your hand. This should loosen up the cloves of garlic and separate the skin.
If you’re using a garlic press you won’t have to remove the inner skin directly around the garlic clove however it’s going to take a lot more time if you don’t. In the same way you removed the outer skin, use your knife to smash the cloves and remove the inner skin as well. I found just doing all of the cloves at once was faster.
Make the Garlic Last Longer
There’s been a little controversey around this method of preserving garlic. In Morocco it’s done this way and has been for a long time. But, if you’re worried about botulism then once the garlic is peeled, add it to a boiling pot of water for about 2 minutes and remove. Then continue on with the process.
Likewise it’s always a good idea to boil the containers you’re planning to store in. You’re not canning here but the boiling helps ensure anything that might be living on the walls of your glass are destroyed.
Fill up your garlic press with garlic cloves and give a good squeeze into your jar. Continue doing this until you’ve filled the jar about 3/4 of the way full or you run out of garlic. This isn’t terribly messy but you may end up with some seriously garlicky fingers for a little while.
After each pass with the garlic use a knife to scrape off the exterior of the press and loosen up any of the interior remnants. Once you’ve used up all your garlic, simply pour the olive oil into the jar. Fill it halfway, use a spoon to mix and distribute the garlic, and then fill nearly to the top. As you use the oil and garlic you can add more oil.
How Long Will Preserved Garlic Last?
Once this is made and opened you should refrigerate it. If it’s unopened it can stay in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
Official sources say you should use the garlic up within a week. Unofficially that’s up to you. Personally I have a jar in my fridge at all times and never go through the whole thing in a week – more like a few months. This process has been done across the Mediterranean for centuries and I am certain primitive refrigeration techniques looked nothing like today.