Way back in the late spring of ’13 I got my hands on a ton of locally grown garlic. Remember that? I pureed a lot of it and mixed it with olive oil and froze it. Then I decided to try something new. I put whole peeled garlic bulbs in olive oil and froze them. The idea is that I could defrost them and add them to pans of vegetables for roasting. I love roasting garlic with sweet potatoes and tofu. My concern was that freezing whole bulbs might result in a mushy bulb that doesn’t roast well. I figured that if it didn’t work I could remove the bulbs from the oil and I’d have a great garlic flavored olive oil to use for sauteing and for dressings. So a month or two ago I removed the first jar of whole bulbs out of the freezer like a scientist meeting his first test-tube baby – full of hopes and dreams for a life of laboratory purpose and circus exhibi-
Letting it defrost in the fridge was my first mistake. Things don’t defrost in my fridge very quickly because I think I keep it too cold. So after a week of waiting for the oil to liquify I set it on the counter. Ah! Hopes and dreams revived, I practically lived in the kitchen watching the oil turn slick and – and – then I saw the bulbs. They were weirdly translucent. Weird enough that I didn’t feel like trying to eat them. If they were translucent then they were probably mushy as well. Stands to reason. A good scientist always goes through to the end of the experiment but I lost my nerve. This may be why I’m a writer instead of a scientist.
I couldn’t bear to throw the jar away but I couldn’t quite convince myself I wouldn’t seriously regret eating them either. They were slightly discolored as well as translucent. Sitting on the counter for over a month did not increase their allure. In the image above you can see how darkened the bulbs became. They look like agates in a pool of viscous piss. (Everyone’s gourmet dream!) I continued to not throw them away because I knew I must photograph them first and share them here.
I finally did it. By now I can’t at all be certain the garlic wasn’t teeming with botulism but there’s no reason I couldn’t satiate my curiosity to see what would happen if I pan roasted these guys. First thing I discovered on taking these bulbs out and handling them is that they didn’t lose textural integrity. Freezing them didn’t turn them mushy. Here’s what happened:
So here’s what I’m going to do: pull out another jar of bulbs to defrost on the counter but as soon as they’re defrosted I will add them to a pan of vegetables and roast them and eat them and report my findings because I refuse to let fear of weirdness prevent you from knowing if freezing garlic bulbs is worth doing. Who knows, this information could prove to be vital in an apocalyptic situation.