I always like to use fresh garlic. I find that the processed pre-chopped garlic that comes in water does not nearly have the punch of flavor as fresh garlic. Even the pre-skinned garlic that comes in a container does not last long, unfortunately.
Sadly, fresh garlic from the clove is sort of messy and a pain to mince and chop, especially if you just need a little bit.
One of my friends recently told me about a cool trick that she does. She buys a Costco container of fresh garlic (from Gilroy California, yay USA garlic!). She then chops the garlic up with a food processor and wraps them into individual sized balls, which she freezes.
What a great idea! It's sort of like my tomato paste balls!
While we were making these together, I suggested making a long, flattish stick of garlic where you could just break off the amount that you wanted.
She tried rolling the garlic up in a sushi-maki bamboo roller.
Success! And it took a lot less time to wrap than the balls.
In the end, she made both. If you have access to a shallow ice cube tray, you can also consider making ice-cube shaped minced "garlic cubes."
In any event, you can save a lot of time and mess on a weeknight if you are sauteing something and you just need a bit of chopped garlic. I think it's great, and I've already used it several times!
Of course, there are always recipes that require nice, fresh garlic. You'll just have to experiment to figure out when you can get away with using the frozen garlic. I bet, for most dishes that require heating, you can just take the garlic straight out of the freezer and use it right away.
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