REACHING INTO THE NET BAG of onions in my cellar this morning, I got a little wakeup call—from a few onions that were themselves waking up. Uh-oh. A quick check of the garlic revealed a couple of restless heads as well. An extra-warm winter has meant an extra-warm storage space, so it’s time to intervene before all is lost. I’m peeling and freezing whole garlic cloves and chopped onions today to get me the rest of the way into the next harvest. It’s simple:
I slice or chop onions and put them in freezer bags or—to avoid plastic—freezer jars. Freezing the amount you typically use for a recipe in one container rather than a giant portion is easier when it comes time to use the produce.
With the onion pieces and with whole, peeled cloves of garlic, I toss them lightly in a very small amount of olive oil first, hoping to reduce any freezer burn. By freezing about half my cloves each year I never buy garlic but have my own all 12 months. My popular post on how to grow and store a year of garlic is here.)
Freezing a portion of your harvest can be done at the time the crops are picked, of course—and they’ll be firmer and fresher then (though garlic can be harder to peel when it’s at its peak concentration of oils). But if some of what you have on hand right now isn’t keeping well, hurry and try to rescue it by freezing—or making a big batch of stock or soup or something else.
One more thing: Be sure to check on other foodstuffs—potatoes, winter squash and such–and ornamental plants in the garage, basement, coldframe or elsewhere as well right about now. Substantially longer days (and in my location unseasonably warm weather) may mean some stored tropicals or not-quite-hardy trees and shrubs like my Japanese maples want a bit of water or other care to make it the rest of the way till freedom time.