Garlic is easy to grow or buy at your local store, making it an essential ingredient in many recipes.
Maintaining fresh garlic at its optimal condition is simple with proper air circulation and dark storage conditions. Refrigerated storage causes its quality to rapidly diminish, often leading to green sprouts on its surfaces.
Place in a Paper Bag
Garlic is an indispensable kitchen ingredient, used to enhance all sorts of recipes ranging from soups and sauces to salad dressings and hearty meat entrees. Pungent raw, this pantry staple mellows out when cooked, adding zesty flavor to every bite you take. Although garlic may be pricey, stockpiling it for future recipes makes sure that there will always be enough on hand – though proper storage must be maintained or else it could quickly deteriorate over time!
Fresh garlic should be stored at room temperature, away from extremes in heat and humidity. A cool dark place with proper air circulation is best. Plastic bags suffocate fresh garlic quickly; instead, use mesh or paper wrappers that allow it to breathe properly.
Whole heads of garlic should be stored in either a paper or cloth bag to prevent it from suffocation and moisture build-up. If none is available, fabric cloth allows airflow while still protecting its contents.
Paper bags should be placed in an environment that is cool, dark and dry – such as the refrigerator crisper drawer – to maintain optimal conditions for storage of unpeeled garlic cloves which tend to sprout faster.
If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, keep whole bulbs of garlic in a dark cupboard with good airflow for long-term storage; bulbs will typically last three to five months in this environment. Alternately, freezing may alter its texture; to do this safely it’s advisable to spread out the head onto a baking sheet first so individual cloves freeze solid before storing them into any bag or other container; this extra step ensures your cloves won’t stick together when frozen and makes for easier thawing later on!
Place in the Refrigerator
Garlic is an essential element in any kitchen, adding flavor and depth to soups, sauces, marinades, stir-fries and hearty meat entrees. Proper storage of garlic bulbs (or individual cloves) is essential so as to prevent spoilage or unpleasant odors escaping – with general guidelines suggesting storing whole unpeeled bulbs for up to six months in dark, cool storage and up to three weeks at room temperature for unpeeled cloves without skin peeling; once peeled their shelf life significantly diminishes!
Refrigerating garlic heads and individual cloves for up to one week should keep them crisp until their fresh texture starts deteriorating, providing further reasons to leave the skin on for even longer storage life.
Unpeeled bulbs should last until they begin to sprout and then they should no longer be consumed safely. Separate cloves will begin degrading within several days of being broken off from their heads, at which point they should either be used or disposed of appropriately.
When storing unpeeled garlic, an airtight food storage container will keep it fresher for longer in the fridge. A sealed jar with whole cloves should last approximately seven days while chopped varieties should stay fresh up to three days after being chopped into smaller pieces.
Garlic can be frozen if its texture will not matter when used in food applications. When freezing peeled garlic cloves for freezing storage purposes, however, acidification should be performed first to prevent Clostridium botulinum growth and its potential botulism-inducing toxin formation – for this purpose most minced garlic in oil found at stores is preservative-treated to do this job effectively.
To freeze garlic, simply store it in an airtight freezer-safe bag or jar labeled with its date. For even distribution of your frozen garlic, consider spreading out on a baking sheet before placing it in the freezer to prevent clumping together.
Place in Vinegar or Wine
Garlic is a natural preservative, and submersion in vinegar solution will extend its shelf life considerably. Not only does this add an irresistibly fresh aroma and unique flavor, but this method will also keep its anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing benefits intact.
This method works well for either whole bulbs or chopped and seasoned cloves. Simply layer peeled garlic in a glass jar with enough red wine vinegar to fully submerge each clove; optionally, a pinch of salt may also be added before sealing and storing in the refrigerator – typically this method of garlic preservation lasts three months.
Fraser suggests the best place to store fresh garlic is a cool and dark space away from frequent use. He often sees people store garlic in their basements thinking the cool temperature will protect it, but this is often a bad idea as the jarring and agitation caused by cold, dry conditions can cause the bulbs to sprout or disintegrate quickly. A pantry or kitchen cupboard may be better; just be careful to avoid proximity with potatoes due to emissions released by garlic, onion and chives which hasten sprouting of potato shoots).
Freezing garlic can also be an effective method for keeping it fresh, but to prevent freezer burn, which can turn the garlic tough and tasteless. To do this properly, separate bulbs or cloves from their papery skin before freezing. Once frozen, simply thaw and use as usual!
Some individuals have attempted canning their garlic, but this practice should not be undertaken when purchasing store-bought bulbs. If stored improperly during canning, garlic could quickly rot and produce Clostridium botulinum spores which are potentially dangerous to consume.
Place in the Freezer
Garlic is an indispensable ingredient for many recipes. Both its pungent raw form and its milder cooked versions add depth of savory flavor. Plus, freezing garlic makes storage quick and efficient; whether whole cloves of garlic, minced mince or purees or pastes are in need of preservation over the winter season, freezing them is a quick solution that won’t compromise their fresh flavor!
If you plan on keeping whole heads of unpeeled garlic for later consumption, ensure its skins are smooth and dry, with firm and free from soft spots cloves – otherwise it will quickly begin to rot and smell bad!
To freeze whole bulbs, simply place them in an airtight freezer bag or container – either regular zipper freezer bags, small plastic freezer containers or mason jars are suitable options – to ensure their smell doesn’t permeate through into other items in your freezer.
Flash freezing whole heads of garlic can also be done. Simply spread out on a baking sheet before placing into the freezer overnight; this will result in more compacted texture when defrosted while still maintaining flavor.
When purchasing whole heads of unpeeled garlic from the freezer section at your local grocery store, they likely contain preservatives to protect it against Clostridium botulinum growth. These chemicals increase acidity levels to counteract food poisoning spores; home preservation efforts without these additives would likely extend life for only days or so at most.
Refrigerating garlic for just a few weeks is often best; for longer-term storage needs, however, freezing it may be ideal; depending on which method you select, garlic stored this way could last up to one year in the freezer – though be sure to consume it promptly after freezing as its texture will change and flavor may become milder over time.