Garlic is an indispensable ingredient that adds depth of flavor to almost any dish, but improper storage could result in rapid spoilage.
Under ideal storage conditions, garlic can last an entire year or more! But how do you extend its shelf life beyond just weeks or months?
Garlic is an essential savory ingredient, adding depth of flavor to many different dishes. While garlic has an indefinite shelf life, if stored improperly it could quickly spoil. By following these simple storage tips you can extend its freshness for months or even years!
Refrigeration is the primary way to store garlic. Unpeeled heads of garlic may last up to four months in the fridge, while peeled cloves will only keep for around one week.
When storing whole heads of garlic in the fridge, be sure to do it in an area with sufficient airflow. Plastic bags or sealed containers restricting airflow will hasten their demise, leading to faster rotting rates than breathable containers such as terra cotta garlic keepers or mesh bags.
If you are storing individual cloves of unpeeled garlic in the fridge, be sure to do it in an airtight container. Storing these at room temperature could promote Clostridium botulinum growth which causes botulism-a potentially lethal form of food poisoning.
Soaking garlic in oil is an unorthodox but equally effective way to preserve garlic, as this will allow it to stay fresh for three weeks in the fridge; just be sure that after soaking you store it immediately in the fridge as leaving it out at room temperature will encourage bacteria that produce neurotoxins which could prove fatal in large doses.
Freezing garlic is another effective way of preserving it and can be done with whole heads, individual cloves, minced or roasted varieties. Before freezing garlic you should dry it before placing it into an airtight freezer-safe bag; this will reduce risk of freezer burn and ensure your garlic will be ready to use without needing to be thawed prior to use.
Make your own garlic salt easily by mixing dry, pre-peeled cloves with salt in a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 to create fine, powdered garlic that you can sprinkle onto dishes easily.
Garlic is an easily stored ingredient, and freezing whole or minced cloves, minced, roasted or pureed garlic or even roasted and pureed versions is one way of doing so. Storing garlic this way requires no special equipment and won’t alter its flavor – although you might miss some crunchy texture from fresh or even refrigerator stored varieties, this shouldn’t affect dishes such as soups and stir-frys that place emphasis on flavor over texture.
Refrigerating raw garlic bulbs is the optimal way to store them; this will slow the rotting and sprouting, while helping it go bad faster. Unpeeled cloves can also be stored in an airtight container or bag in the fridge; but once peeled or cut apart they rot much quicker – for this reason the best place for peeled garlic storage would be your freezer.
Common practice when it comes to storing chopped or peeled garlic involves placing it in oil before freezing it, however this method should be avoided due to low acid foods being mixed with oxygen-free environments like oil. Doing this may allow Clostridium botulinum bacteria to grow which could result in severe or fatal food poisoning. When keeping garlic frozen this way for storage purposes it should never be defrosted before use!
Freezing pureed garlic in oil can be an easy and quick solution when it comes to creating dinner, when time is of the essence. While initial preparation might require some work, once you know how it’s easy and can be stored away until needed – just fill an ice cube tray with chopped or pureed garlic then cover it with olive oil – when the time comes just pop a couple “garlic ice cubes” in a pan to stir or saute as necessary!
Store it in a cool, dark area with ample ventilation; mesh bags, woven baskets or old terra cotta pots make great storage solutions for whole heads of garlic. I’ve even heard stories of people keeping garlic stored inside old pantyhose by leaving knots between each bulb that they cut off with scissors later! Of course these days who has pantyhose lying around?!
Refrigeration isn’t recommended for whole heads of unpeeled garlic as it will start sprouting quickly after being chilled, but can still keep individual cloves or chopped and minced garlic fresh and crunchy for up to two weeks; though you will lose some pungency along the way.
Be mindful that while colder temperatures may slow the growth of garlic, they also leave it vulnerable to moisture and mold growth. Garlic prefers cooler climates with lower humidity and increased air circulation than warmer ones; so extra care will need to be taken if growing it in areas that receive lots of sunlight.
Refrigerating garlic cloves or minced pieces is an effective way to preserve their freshness if stored without being sealed in an airtight container – as this would hasten its decay. Instead, opt for something with loose lid or mesh or paper bags in order to reduce air exposure as much as possible.
When purchasing pre-sliced or minced garlic in stores, it should be refrigerated and used within three weeks as it has already been acidified and thus less vulnerable to Clostridium botulinum contamination. These jars also make cooking simpler for busy chefs who don’t need to maintain an ideal storage location for raw, fresh garlic.
Preserved garlic cloves make an excellent culinary addition, providing flavor to soups, sauces and salad dressings alike. This traditional food preservation technique also serves to pack store-bought minced garlic for storage – it is safe and suitable for preserving whole unpeeled garlic as well.
If you are preserving fresh garlic with oil, be sure to use only top quality cold pressed virgin olive oil of superior quality for best taste and health benefits. It will have an immense influence on the end product in terms of both taste and nutrition.
Step one involves carefully peeling garlic cloves without cutting or smashing them, before placing the peeled cloves into a glass container such as a mason jar filled with oil until all of the cloves have been submerged, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Cover this jar with its lid and store it in your fridge; when ready to use the garlic, remove as many cloves for cooking as necessary before returning it back into its jar – the oil will keep its soft texture while in storage!
When purchasing minced garlic in oil from your grocery store, a preservative such as citric acid will likely have been added to increase acidity and prevent Clostridium botulinum growth. As this would not be feasible at home, freezing this combination is often best to ensure its safety from potential food-borne illnesses.
Garlic in olive oil can last in your freezer for up to one year without losing texture or flavor, though its texture will gradually degrade over time. An alternative way of freezing this ingredient is finely chopping it before placing in an ice cube tray covered with olive oil – then just pop out a cube when needed for cooking or garnishing!
Noticeable changes to garlic in oil may include blue or green tinting similar to what occurs when pickles go bad, which is an unavoidable natural process with no negative impacts on either safety or flavor. It simply signifies that enzymes have disintegrated and no longer work effectively for processing garlic into oil.