Where would we be without garlic? Garlic is a must-have ingredient for all kitchens. It adds a delicious aroma and deep flavour to so many dishes. Other than its ability to turn recipes from so-so to great, there are more reasons to love this versatile ingredient. That means it’s crucial for you to store it correctly, so it will be in the best condition when it’s time to use it.
Storage-wise, it’s one of the most low-maintenance ingredients you can have in your kitchen. You don’t actually have to take care of it that much. Just give it the air and space it needs, and it will last a long time.
Keep it in a dry, airy, and dark space
The first thing you need to remember about storing garlic is that light and moisture are garlic’s worst enemies because they both cause mold to grow. Instead, store garlic at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has plenty of air circulation, like in a wire-mesh basket or open paper bag in a cupboard or the pantry, which is also a good spot. Also, keep your garlic away from potatoes, as potatoes and onions emit gases that can make your garlic sprout.
“And why keep garlic away from light and moisture?” you may ask. When stored in a cold environment, like the refrigerator, garlic will begin to sprout in no more than a few days. While sprouted garlic is still edible, it can sometimes be a little bitter tasting. It’s these conditions that cause sprouting, which doesn’t really mean the garlic has spoiled.
Keep the whole head
Resist your temptation to take the cloves off your head of garlic. You don’t have to take the cloves off the head until you’re ready to use them. Garlic’s life span begins to decrease once you break apart the head and take out the individual cloves. A broken head will keep for about three to 10 days, so make it a point to use it up first before breaking open a new head. If you keep your garlic together in the right conditions, it will stay fresh for up to several months!
Also, don’t worry too much about what kind of container you keep your garlic in. A ceramic container is great, but so is a paper bag, a wire basket, or even just a simple bowl. Just remember to let dry air circulate around your garlic, which is why a plastic bag is not recommended since it holds in moisture.
How to store peeled garlic
Now, if you’ve peeled more garlic than you need before cooking, the fridge is actually the best place to store them. You can wrap them in a plastic bag, put them in a sealed Ziploc bag or a container for up to a week to prevent raw garlic smells wafting all over the fridge. But if you’ve already chopped them, it wouldn’t last for more than a day in the fridge. Just try to use it up as soon as possible so that it will not sprout and lose its flavour.
What if there’s too much garlic?
If you have too much garlic and are worried it might go bad before you can use it all, there’s another way to preserve it, like roasting. Roasting garlic is easy, and can be refrigerated for up to two weeks, or better yet, frozen for up to three months. You can use roasted garlic with a salad dressing to add flavour, or to a slice of crusty bread.