Garlic is an essential ingredient, bringing zesty flavor to meals with just one dash. Used in multiple forms and stored properly to maintain freshness.
Whole heads of garlic stored correctly can last up to six months when properly stored. Here are a few tried-and-tested methods of keeping garlic fresh for long term storage:.
Choose the Right Garlic
Garlic is an indispensable culinary ingredient, adding complex yet subtle flavor to soups, sauces, marinades, stir-fries and hearty meat entrees alike. Easy to grow in any garden and stored properly for months at a time when stored properly – however it does need to be stored carefully to stay fresh for over half a year (and even beyond!). However it can become moldy over time without proper care so taking steps to preserve this culinary powerhouse could extend its shelf life and bring you the delicious taste of fresh garlic for longer than half a year (if necessary!).
Before storing, be sure that all bulbs have been cured, which helps harden their skins and ensure optimal storage without early sprouting. A sure sign your garlic has been properly cured is when its skin turns dark in color and outer leaves have turned brown; another way is when crushing cloves causes an pungent and slightly sour smell that lingers in your nose for a few seconds after crushing.
Storage in a cool, dark cabinet with adequate ventilation is ideal for keeping whole, unpeeled garlic fresh for up to six months. Avoid placing it in the refrigerator as this could cause it to sprout; also opt for mesh bags or garlic keepers which provide sufficient air circulation around their contents.
Refrigerating is the ideal place for peeled garlic before it starts wilting; for maximum effectiveness use a mason jar fitted with an air vent and lid as this will keep its temperature safe while also providing for air circulation.
Stored this way, peeled garlic will start to soften after two or three weeks in the fridge; however, it should still be edible and will last significantly longer than freshly-peeled cloves stored at room temperature. Oil-based storage methods should be avoided due to increasing chances of botulism growth.
Keep It Cool
Garlic can keep at room temperature for weeks or months when stored properly; just ensure they remain cool and dry to prevent sprouting. It is best to store them away from other produce and store in an environment without excess moisture or odor.
A pantry or closet are great places to keep harvested garlic cool, since they tend to be cooler than refrigerators. Avoid the basement and garage where extreme temperatures and humidity could accelerate spoilage of bulbs. Also avoid keeping garlic with onions, leeks, or root vegetables that absorb odors – as this could hasten their spoilage rate.
Storing garlic in a mesh bag or other airtight container such as an old terracotta pot, cardboard beer/soda cases or brown paper bags is ideal. I’ve even heard of people storing their garlic by tying a knot between each bulb before cutting off its tied part when needed! To maintain good air circulation for mold and mildew prevention.
Refrigerating garlic requires placing it in an airtight container or zipper lock bag so no condensation forms, which should last about one week before becoming soft or degrading. As the refrigerator can change the flavor and texture of garlic, its use as soon as possible is optimal.
If you want to preserve garlic for cooking purposes, oil or vinegar are the ideal solutions; otherwise, store it in the fridge until needed. Keep an eye out though as any solidified oil could eventually have to come back out to room temperature before being heated again or heated on the stove top before being used again; preserved garlic may even be microwave-reheated before adding it into dishes!
Temperature and darkness are critical elements for keeping garlic fresh and pungent, while air circulation must also be ensured properly to avoid moisture buildup – which could otherwise lead to mold growth and eventually lead to its spoilage. Avoid airtight containers by opting for mesh bags or perforated plastic produce bags that provide good ventilation instead.
Before using garlic, allow it to cure for at least four to six weeks before refrigerating it. Curing allows it to shed some of its water content and ensures longevity; you will know it has properly aged when its green leaves turn brown and become dry and crisp while its cloves have hardened into firm shapes.
Once your garlic has been properly cured, you can store it either in the pantry or fridge, with caution. Whole heads of unpeeled garlic tend to outlive peeled bulbs or individual cloves; you may also extend its lifespan further by placing it in a terra cotta container lined with paper toweling.
For maximum freshness, place garlic in the vegetable drawer of your fridge as this will minimize its loss of pungent flavour at room temperature. For optimal freshness, store in its own separate bag so it is unlikely to come into contact with other produce.
If you plan on using your garlic within one month, try freezing it. This works well for whole bulbs as well as peeled garlic; just be wary not to leave it too long in there, otherwise it could thaw out and spoil. Label your frozen garlic with the date when placing it into your freezer; alternatively you could freeze individual pieces of paste using an ice cube tray before moving them directly into a freezer-safe bag for later.
If you have excess garlic that won’t be used immediately, freezing is the ideal way to prolong its shelf life and preserve its flavor and texture. Whole heads, minced or even roasted garlic paste can all be frozen safely in airtight freezer bags or containers for later use. To do so, place them into an airtight freezer bag or container.
Before placing garlic in the freezer, it is recommended that its outer layers are removed to help prevent freezer burn. Also make sure there is enough room in its container or bag for expansion when frozen; this will allow it to unfreeze more evenly when defrosted and easier use in recipes.
Refrigerators may be preferred over room temperatures for storing garlic as the colder temperatures kill bacteria present on it, though the cold may lead to cracking of its skin which then leads to mold growth and reduced flavor. Unfortunately, though, storing your garlic in the fridge won’t do as it will expose it to mold growth that reduces taste as quickly.
Option 2 is using a food storage basket. These breathable baskets come in various materials like wire, wood and wicker; designed to allow garlic to breathe when stored; they come in many styles and are easily found online or at specialty kitchen stores.
Many people use the freezer to store their garlic. To do this, they peel and separate all of the cloves from a head of garlic before placing it into a freezer bag with all of its air removed and tightly sealing it – labelling and placing in their freezer as soon as they labeled with date and labelling each bag with date of storage. This method of garlic storage is convenient and economical.