How to Store Garlic and Keep It Fresh for Months
Keep your garlic fresh for months at a time with our easy-to-follow guide! Our simple tips will help you keep your garlic in great condition and ready to use when you need it.
Garlic is an allium vegetable used in many different types of recipes for its unique flavor. And it has many health benefits. When stored properly, garlic can be kept fresh for several months.
Whether you like to purchase your garlic whole or peeled, knowing how to store garlic helps ensure that it stays fresh for a long period of time.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the types of garlic and storage tips.
Garlic, a member of the onion family, is available in several varieties. You can purchase it fresh or dry and whole or peeled. When it comes to garlic cloves, they vary in size from one clove to dozens.
You can use it at different stages of growth; the cloves will taste milder when they first begin to grow versus later in the season, but they all have their own distinct flavor profiles.
Types of Garlic
There are two main types of garlic: hard neck and soft neck.
Hard-neck garlic includes porcelain, purple stripe, rocambole, and others. It’s generally considered the best quality for longer storage because it preserves well under a cold temperature.
Soft-neck garlic decays quicker because it contains higher water content than the hard-neck variety. So it’s best to look for this variety when you need to consume garlic within a few days or weeks after purchasing it.
How to Store Garlic: Tips and Tricks
No matter which variety you prefer, there is no one perfect way to store all types of garlic. On the other hand, there are several different methods that work well based on how long you like your cloves to last.
How to Store Garlic Cloves
To store garlic cloves, you can place them in a mesh bag and hang it in a cool, dry place. You can also wrap them in a paper towel and keep them in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard.
If you want to store garlic cloves for an extended period of time, you can freeze them. Just make sure to keep them in an airtight container or freezer bag. You can also follow these steps if you’re wondering how to store fresh garlic.
How to Store Peeled Garlic
One of the best ways to store garlic that is already peeled in an airtight container, such as a jar or plastic bag. If you’ve made a big batch of homemade garlic paste and want to store it for later use, be sure to press out the extra air from plastic bags before sealing them tightly. This helps prevent molding inside the bag.
Furthermore, when preserving garlic that’s been peeled, use common sense: if it starts smelling odd or bad, throw it away immediately. It might not be safe to eat anymore even if you can’t see any bacteria growing on the outside of the cloves.
If you plan to keep your peeled garlic around for at least 3 to 6 months, it’s best to put it in the freezer. This preserves its flavor profile well over time, so you don’t have to worry about changing the taste of your recipes. Keep peeled garlic frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below and use it within 3 to 6 months for best results.
How to Store Roasted Garlic
Storing roasted garlic is easy if you know how to treat it. Make sure the cloves are cool before you place them in an airtight container or bag, and then sprinkle a thin layer of olive oil over top before closing the lid securely.
This preserves the flavor profile so well that your roasted garlic cloves will still be good when you need to use them. Just pop them in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for 2 months maximum.
How to Store Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are the curly part of the garlic plant that grow in early spring. You can use them in your recipes, too. To store them, place the scapes in a mesh bag or paper towel and hang it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
If you prefer to keep your scapes for longer than 2 days, place them in an airtight container or zipper bag with a paper towel inside to absorb any excess moisture. Keep the bag in the fridge for up to 10 days maximum before discarding it.
How to Store Garlic Bulbs
If you’re looking for a longer-term storage option for your garlic bulbs, there are two methods you can try. The first is one that works best for dry-type bulbs. You can use or create a ventilated basket, where the bulb hangs upside down and air circulates around it.
An old pair of pantyhose over a wire coat hanger also makes an excellent homemade garlic keeper. When using this method, make sure not to let any light in to prevent discoloration or sprouting before you’re ready for them.
The other way to keep dry garlic bulbs fresh is by storing them in their original packaging. If this isn’t possible, store them in an airtight container, preferably with ventilation holes.
Be sure to keep your bulbs away from sunlight, heat, and moisture to preserve their flavor until you’re ready to use them. If they start turning green or black inside the wrappers, throw them out immediately.
How Long Does Garlic Last in the Fridge?
If you want to store garlic for up to 2 months, it’s best to keep them in a paper bag inside the refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius).
Keep the bag open to allow airflow and prevent molding on the garlic clove skin. At the same time, make sure to separate garlic from other foods by wrapping them tightly in a sealed plastic bag for freshness. Remove them before cooking or they will spoil your food with their pungent smell.
Keep the Heads at Room Temperature
If you prefer to purchase your garlic whole and intact minus the peel, you can also keep them at room temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
Be sure not to leave the heads wrapped too tightly or place them directly on a shelf or inside of an enclosed cabinet where they may be exposed to sunlight. Place half of the head in a jar filled with some water so that it remains fresh until you’re ready to use it.
You can store garlic for 3 to 6 months this way, but check the outside of the bulbs every now and then to make sure they haven’t sprouted or become soft. This usually indicates that your garlic is no longer safe to eat because bacteria has already started growing on its surface.
If any signs of discoloration show up, throw away the bulb immediately and wrap the other ones tightly in plastic bags before returning them back to the jar filled with water.
Can You Freeze Garlic?
Yes, it’s possible to freeze garlic if you plan on storing it for longer than 2 months. Just set your freezer’s temperature at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) or below; you will be able to preserve freezing garlic for up to 1 year this way. Check out our guide on freezing garlic.
Additional Tips for Storing Garlic
- Garlic will last longest if it has been peeled and is kept dry and cold at 33 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius).
- Don’t leave unpeeled garlic clove halves out on the counter; they’ll start to sprout after a few days.
- If you’re peeling several cloves, peel them all first before washing because water speeds up decomposition. Then store as desired, depending on how long you want your cloves to last.
- Don’t store garlic cloves near foods that easily absorb strong flavors like onions or potatoes.
- Don’t place garlic cloves next to each other unless you are planning on using them within a few days; this can cause them to rot faster than usual.
- If you want to preserve the color of your organic garlic for as long as possible, make sure not to break open any of the papery wrappings before storage time. Store garlic in a dark, dry place to prevent discoloration.
Learn more information about garlic:
Does garlic go bad?
Yes. If you’re wondering how to tell if garlic is bad, look for any signs of mold, mildew, or rot on the outside. Garlic won’t necessarily smell bad, so it’s best to check for any visible signs before you store it in your kitchen.
How long is garlic good for when prepared in a dish?
Once you’ve cooked your garlic, it will usually last for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Don’t leave it at room temperature or you risk the chance of food poisoning.
How to cut garlic?
You can use a garlic press, a sharp knife, or a teaspoon to cut garlic. The best way to split the cloves is by pressing down on the garlic using the bottom of your hand.
How many cloves are in a head of garlic?
When you purchase a head of garlic, there are usually around 10 to 20 cloves packed inside.
How many calories are in a garlic clove?
An average garlic clove only contains 4 calories.
What’s the difference between a garlic clove and bulb?
Most people use the terms garlic clove and bulb interchangeably, but they refer to different parts of the garlic plant.
The head of garlic that you purchase at the grocery store is made up of several cloves that are tightly packed together, which are then surrounded by a thin layer of papery skin.
A garlic clove is a single, separate part of the garlic head. It’s usually very small and easy to peel apart.
How to cure garlic?
Garlic can’t be cured, but if you want to preserve it for a long period of time, chop or press the cloves first before storing them in some sort of oil or fat. Keep refrigerated.
How to dry garlic?
Separate the cloves from the head of garlic and discard any damaged parts. Rinse the garlic cloves with water and pat them dry with a paper towel or clean dishcloth. Drying garlic at home is a great way to preserve it for up to 3 months.
How long does minced garlic last?
If you’re wondering how long does minced garlic last, the answer is only 1 week. Because it’s already been chopped up and has a higher risk of bacterial growth, it doesn’t last as long as whole cloves.
Can you eat sprouted garlic?
No, you should always avoid eating sprouted garlic. It contains a compound called allicin that’s only formed when the clove is crushed, so it will be missing if you eat a sprouted clove.
Can you eat too much garlic?
Yes. Eating too much garlic can lead to gas, bloating, heartburn, and upset stomachs. It also may increase your risk for bleeding, if you’re taking blood thinners.
How to make garlic water?
To make garlic water, finely chop 1 cup of clean garlic cloves and place them in a large saucepan filled with 1 gallon of distilled water. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, remove from heat, and allow it to cool.
How to store onions and garlic?
Don’t place garlic cloves next to each other unless you are planning on using them within a few days; this can cause them to rot faster than usual.
Why is my garlic purple?
Garlic can turn purple when it is exposed to direct sunlight for too long. Other factors that may cause the garlic to change color are age and low temperatures.
Can dogs eat garlic?
Garlic isn’t poisonous to dogs, but it can lead to digestive issues and cause stomachaches. Always wait several hours before feeding your dog any garlic or garlic-based products.
How to remove the smell of garlic from hands?
Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds.
Final Thoughts on Storing Garlic
Storing garlic is a great way to maximize your food budget, but only if you do it right! Be sure to check out these storage tips that work well for specific types of garlic as well as what slows down the process of decay as much as possible.
With this information up your sleeve, you can rest assured that your cloves will be fresher and smell stronger for longer periods of time, no matter how long you store them in a fridge or freezer.
What are your favorite tips for storing garlic? Let us know in the comment section below!