How To Store Garlic
You know what they say – there’s never enough garlic in a recipe. Especially if you’re asking an Italian cook or chef. However, if you want to enjoy the taste and flavor of garlic that everybody loves so much, you have to learn how to store garlic because garlic can easily go bad if you do not store it properly.
Some say storing garlic at room temperature is best. Others prefer to freeze it so they can use it for longer. But what is the best method?
Let’s start exploring all the options together.
The Basics Of Storing Garlic
It is possible to store the beloved seasoning and condiment for months. The trick is to always choose an appropriate storage method. The most important things that you have to remember as you learn how to store garlic are highlighted below.
Keep The Bulb Of Garlic Whole
One of the best ways to store fresh garlic is to leave its head intact. As you store the bulb under appropriate conditions, it can stay fresh for several months.
The life span of garlic starts to go down after the head is broken apart and individual cloves are removed. You can only store broken garlic bulbs for around 10 days. Use it as soon as possible after removing the first clove.
Store It In Dark And Dry Locations
Moisture and light can easily break down garlic cloves. They lead to mold growth. This is why garlic needs to be stored at proper room temperature, in a place that is dark and dry, with enough air circulation. For instance, you can store garlic in an open paper bag inside your pantry.
Now that you know these two important aspects of storing garlic, it is time to ask ourselves what are the best ways to store garlic?
How To Store Garlic That Was Peeled
It is common to chop or peel way too much garlic as you cook something. If this is the case, the surplus can be put inside the fridge. You just need to keep the peeled garlic inside airtight containers. This prevents the strong smell from wafting inside the fridge. Also, try to use the peeled garlic as soon as you can, preferably in under two days. This prevents the loss of flavor and sprouting.
Storing Garlic At Room Temperature
Proper garlic storage starts with buying the right produce. You have to avoid bulbs that look damaged or soft. The same goes for those that are sprouting. Always buy undamaged garlic bulbs if you want them to last for a long period of time.
The best way to store garlic is by placing it in loosely woven baskets or mesh bags. If there are flexible tops present, they can be transformed into braids so you can hang them. However, if the garlic has a central stalk that is stiff, you cannot braid it since it shatters.
The best storing conditions are:
- Moderate humidity
- A temperature of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit
It is difficult to store garlic during winter since with artificial heating homes become dry. In a very dry place, garlic cloves shrivel up after just one month.
Storing Garlic Inside The Fridge
If garlic is stored in an environment that is cold, it sprouts in just a few days. Sprouted garlic can be eaten but it is possible that its taste becomes bitter.
Humidity can be a problem so it is a good idea to keep it inside crisper fridge drawers. Just remember the fact that after garlic is exposed to a cold environment, sprouting is fast. When garlic sprouts, it needs to be consumed as soon as possible.
Chopped garlic or leftover peeled cloves can stay inside the fridge for around 14 days. The best way to store peeled garlic is to place it in a tightly airtight container that is small. Minced garlic bought in jars from the supermarket should not be stored inside the fridge.
Storing Garlic Inside The Freezer
Garlic can be frozen but many chefs believe that frozen garlic is not that great for cooking purposes. A very quick way to get garlic ready for storing inside the freezer is to take peeled cloves and add them to the blender or food processor together with some water. Evenly mince the content and freeze the garlic puree inside ice cube trays. When frozen, keep the garlic cubes in airtight containers in the freezer.
Using The Dehydrator
It is very easy to make dehydrated garlic. You need to take peeled garlic and thinly slice it. Pop the slices inside a food dehydrator. Alternatively, a warm oven that is maintained at the temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit works as long as the door is kept slightly open.
After garlic slices are crisp, you can transfer it to a container for storage. Dried garlic will be stored really well when at room temperature inside a tightly sealed airtight container.
How To Store Garlic in Olive oil
After garlic slices are dried, garlic-flavored oil can be made. All you have to do is add some of the slices inside a jar. Cover the slices with high-quality olive oil. Both the flavored oil and the softened slices can be used to cook or make salad dressing.
Remember that adding undried garlic into oil creates an environment that is perfect for botulism. The fresh oil and garlic mixture needs to be kept inside the fridge and used within three weeks.
Roasting Garlic Inside An Oven
The huge advantage of roasted garlic is that you can store it inside a freezer for as long as you want to. Garlic does not have to be peeled in order to be roasted. And, since, roasted garlic is mellow, you can use it for almost everything that you would normally use some fresh garlic for; it will be great on crusty bread or even on a pizza.
In order to roast some garlic bulbs, you want to take a casserole dish, grease it with some olive oil, and add garlic bulbs. Bake everything at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You know the garlic is ready when bulbs are squishy and soft, which should take around 45 minutes. Remove the tips and squeeze out the flesh. Then, freeze the garlic in airtight containers that are freezer-safe. Due to the really high oil content, the garlic cannot freeze too hard. Clove contents can be scooped whenever needed with a simple spoon.
Roasted garlic can also be stored in the refrigerator. It should last for around seven days if put in an airtight container inside the fridge.
Garlic Pickled In Vinegar
Pickling garlic is a great way to store it. The process of pickling will mellow the garlic so whole cloves become mild enough to be easily added into a salad. Alternatively, the garlic can be served as nibbles with some olives.
Pickling garlic is similar to pickling any other vegetable. You just need to add the peeled garlic cloves to a jar. Then, add vinegar and salt. After the garlic is pickled, put the jar inside the refrigerator and use it as desired.
When To Harvest Garlic?
If you have a garden and you plan to grow your own garlic, you can easily do it. Harvesting garlic is very easy. Experts believe that you should harvest garlic when many of the lower leaves are brown but around five of the top leaves are green. Due to weather variations, the exact month cannot be properly determined for garlic harvesting.
After you harvest the garlic bulb, it is really important that you quickly move it out of exposure to direct sunlight. You want to move everything to a shed, porch or garage and guarantee proper air circulation.
The actual harvesting of garlic is very easy. You just need to make sure that you do not pull bulbs out by the stems that are located above the ground. If you need to do this, you should at least first loosen the soil that is present around the plant. It is always best to store garlic when it is cured, which means its leaves have to be on.
How Do You Know That Garlic Went Bad?
No matter how well you store garlic, it is possible that it goes bad without proper notice. You can figure out that garlic went bad through:
When the garlic cloves have yellow or brown spots, they went bad. Also, if you see mold on the skin, you should not use the garlic cloves. Take a look at the outer layer of the clove. If you notice bruises or dents, you need to remove all such affected cloves as damage will be spread to others.
When the garlic is sprouting, it does not mean that it is bad. It can still be used. You just need to remove the sprout.
As you pick it up, garlic needs to be firm and nice. When the clove feels mushy or soft, it went bad and has to be thrown away.
Whenever you notice that the garlic is mushy or rotten, pungent smell is released. Generally speaking, if you notice unpleasant smells, it is time to throw away the garlic.
How Do You Keep Garlic Fresh Longer?
If you want to have garlic that remains fresh for a longer period of time, it is mandatory that you store it in a cool and dry place. Alternatively, as already mentioned, fridge storage is possible.
Make sure that you avoid exposure to direct sunlight. This accelerates garlic spoiling while heat will lead to very awful smells. You should always make sure that air circulation is proper where you store the garlic and sprouting cloves have to be removed or planted. Also, freezing dry garlic can make it last for a much longer period of time.
Is Fresh Garlic Better Than Dried Garlic?
As long as moisture does not come into contact with dried garlic, it can be stored for a very long time. However, similarly to all the processed and dried foods, garlic powder is not as nutritious as fresh garlic. For some, this is not a problem as calorie content is also lower.
1 ounce of fresh garlic has 27 calories, 1 gram of protein and various essential minerals. Usually, in a recipe, you use ¾ of a teaspoon of dried garlic, which offers 8 calories and just 0.4 grams of protein. Essential mineral content is significantly reduced.