How to Store Garlic:
We all love garlic, but one thing we don’t love about it is how quickly it can go bad once you break the skin or pierce it with a knife. Luckily, there are simple storage methods you can use to keep garlic fresh for much longer than you thought possible, allowing you to make those delicious recipes using garlic time and time again without having to buy more produce at the grocery store every week. Here’s how to store garlic that lasts for 6 months!
1) Harvest your garlic when the head is firm
Garlic is a perishable vegetable, so it’s essential that you harvest your garlic at just the right time. You can check if your garlic is ready by gently bending one of its stalks—if it snaps, it’s not quite ripe yet. If it bends or makes a cracking sound when you bend it, however, that means that it has already begun to harden and will be too tough once you cook with it.
It’s best to wait until your garlic head is firm when bent. Once harvested, wrap up your bulbs in newspaper and store them in a cool dark place with good air circulation. Avoid leaving them out in light or near hot appliances such as ovens or stoves; both of these things can speed up spoiling.
2) Peeling and Cutting
If you buy your garlic whole, peel and slice it before you put it in a storage container. If you bought already-peeled cloves, take a minute to sort through them. Throw away any that are soft or greenish in color—that means they’re past their prime.
Place all of your sliced garlic in a mason jar or other container and top with olive oil (or a combination of extra-virgin olive oil and water). The oil keeps air out and prevents your garlic from drying out over time. It also helps prevent mold growth, which is another enemy of stored garlic. Seal your jar tightly and set it somewhere cool, dark, and dry—like your pantry or kitchen cupboard.
3) Place on paper towel
Wrap garlic in a paper towel, place it in an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place. You can also hang garlic by stringing a length of twine through each clove and placing them on hooks. Both methods will allow you to enjoy garlic at its best without going bad.
The paper towel method is more effective if you’re storing large amounts of garlic—the bottom cloves will lose moisture quicker, making them taste less potent than those near the top of your container. For smaller amounts, like just one or two heads, hanging is actually better; it keeps all cloves moist so they don’t dry out too quickly.
4) Place in a container
A container is an easy way to keep garlic from getting bruised and breaking apart. If your space is limited, you can use a paper bag. Keep in mind that since paper doesn’t breathe, it could cause your garlic to mold faster. In most cases, though, using a glass or plastic container with a lid will work best. If you choose plastic, make sure it’s BPA-free and wash it before filling it with fresh garlic.
If you have room in your refrigerator or freezer, those are also good places to store fresh produce—just make sure they aren’t packed too tightly so air can circulate around them properly (air circulation helps food last longer). One good thing about storing garlic in your refrigerator: It keeps well at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
5) Spices to add some flavor
Garlic is a wonderfully versatile, savory-tasting ingredient that can perk up almost any dish. Whether you’re sautéing chicken, creating an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing or adding it as a finishing touch on top of your favorite pizza (just thinking about garlic makes me hungry), it’s easy to appreciate its savory flavor.
Unfortunately, there are several reasons why your garlic might taste bitter—and one of them could be that you don’t know how to store garlic properly! Follow these steps, however, and you’ll never have issues with storage again
6) Use ASAP or Can them if you like
Storing garlic whole means you have to wait a few weeks before you can use it. You could buy pre-peeled and chopped garlic from the store, but that won’t last very long on your shelf either. However, if you’re planning on using them in meals within about 2 months, storing peeled and chopped garlic in oil is another option.
Oil not only keeps them fresh longer, but also helps preserve their flavor better than vinegar or water would. One of our favorite oils for storing peeled garlic is olive oil as it gives off more of a garlicky aroma once they start softening up and is wonderful when tossed with pasta or drizzled over some crusty bread!