Whether you grow your own or purchase garlic from the grocery store, knowing how to store garlic properly will enable you to keep them for months and have them on hand whenever you need. Check to make sure the garlic you are planning to store is quality garlic; soft, spongy garlic or garlic that is beginning to sprout needs to be tossed. Quality garlic will be firm and covered with several layers of dry, protective skin.
- Garlic bulbs
- Paper bag, mesh bag, or wire basket
- Cool, dry, well-ventilated area
- Prepare freshly harvested garlic prior to storing. Wash the bulb and roots of the garlic bulb to remove soil and debris. Place the garlic bulb in a dry area free of sunlight and moisture and allow it to dry for a couple of weeks. The long stems may be left on top of the garlic where you can tie a garden string around them and hang them to dry. The drying process cultivates the flavor within so allow garlic to dry thoroughly.
- Trim the roots and stems of the dried garlic. After the garlic bulbs have dried, trim away any dangling roots and stems before storing it. Trimming the roots and stems will not change the flavor of the garlic bulbs; it simply keeps the storage area tidy.
- Store garlic bulbs in a dry, dark place that is well-ventilated. Good options for storing garlic include: a wire basket, a brown paper bag, a mesh bag or a cardboard egg carton. It doesn’t really matter as long as the garlic is kept in a dry, dark place and preferably at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Garlic that is stored in these conditions may keep from three to five months.
- Some methods of storing garlic should be avoided. Avoid storing garlic in any type of sealed container or plastic bag; this is an invitation for mold. Storing garlic in the refrigerator reduces storage time and exposes garlic bulbs to moisture, which also invites mold. Freezing garlic is not recommended as it changes the texture as well as the taste of the garlic. While attempting to create flavored oil by storing garlic in olive oil or another type of oil sounds tempting, the combination could render the toxic results of botulism.