Garlic is harvested from June to August.
That is when you can get the best farm-fresh garlic.
But if stored properly, you can find at the markets through the winter months.
The question is, why trust the markets, when you can buy garlic in bulks during the summer/fall season, and learn how to store garlic at home?
Being that garlic is a fantastic way to add flavor to your dish at the price of just 5 calories per clove, it is definitely a vegetable you want consuming through the year.
Not to mention, garlic is one of the healthiest vegetables, with an abundance of benefits for your health.
There is a reason why it is called a superfood.
With that in mind, no matter whether you buy garlic from the store or you bring it fresh from your garden, you definitely want to make the most of it.
Storing garlic is easy, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
With that in mind, let’s talk about how to store garlic the easy way.
How to pick up fresh garlic?
The fresher your garlic is, the longer it will last.
If you are growing garlic at home, you probably know when it is fresh.
But when you are purchasing from the market, you need to identify the fresh garlic.
Here are some points:
- The garlic bulb should be firm
- The bulb should have papery dry skin and no sprouting
- If the bulb is soft, the garlic is over-ripe and will not store for a long time
- Avoid shriveled garlic bulbs or those stored in the refrigerated section in the grocery store
If you break the bulb of the garlic, use the garlic quickly.
The shelf life is shortened significantly once the bulb is broken and the cloves are removed.
With that in mind, here are a couple of methods you can try for storing your garlic.
At room temperature
The easiest way to store garlic is at room temperature.
But you have to keep it in mesh bags or loosely woven baskets.
You can make braids of garlic with flexible tops and hang them.
However, if your garlic has a stiff central stalk, which is commonly known as hard neck garlic, do not try to braid it.
If you store at room temperature, you need to ensure the temperature is between 60 and 65 degrees F and in moderate humidity.
One of the challenges of storing garlic during the winter is heating of the home.
Heated homes tend to be very dry, and your garlic can go bad within a month or two.
In the fridge
If you want to avoid the humidity problem, store garlic in your fridge.
But put the garlic in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
What you need to understand is that due to the cold temperature, the garlic will start sprouting within days after being brought to room temperature.
If you store garlic in the fridge, do not remove it until you are ready to use it.
Even leftover peeled cloves or chopped garlic can survive in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
You need to put them in a small and tightly covered container.
Of course, this is not an option for long-term storing.
In the dehydrator
You can make your own dehydrated garlic.
It is a very easy process, and it will take you just a couple of minutes.
Here is how to do it:
- Thinly slice peeled garlic, or use a food processor if you have one
- Pop the slices into a food dehydrator. If you do not have one, barely warm the oven with the door slightly open, maintaining a temperature of 115 degrees
- Wait until the slices are crisp, and then store them in an airtight container. You can also chop them in a blender beforehand
- You can store the dried garlic at room temperature for many months as long as the container is tightly sealed
In the freezer
Some people will tell you that frozen garlic isn’t quite as good as fresh.
And that is true.
But freezing is a great option if you do not use garlic frequently.
Or if you have leftovers that you do not want to go to waste.
Just remember, freezing can change the texture and flavor of garlic.
If you want to freeze whole and unpeeled garlic cloves, just wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or pop them in a freezer bag, and then place them in the freezer.
Remove individual cloves as needed.
Store in flavored oil
There is a bit of controversy regarding storing garlic in oil.
Some say that this process can lead to the growth of bacteria that can cause illnesses.
However, if you store the oil in the freezer, the risk of developing the bacteria is removed.
How to safely store garlic in oil?
Peel individual garlic cloves and submerge them in oil in a glass jar or plastic container.
Seal the container with a lid, and then place it into the freezer.
Scoop garlic when needed with a spoon.
Another option is to make garlic puree.
Mix one part peeled garlic cloves and two parts of olive oil in a blender.
Blend until smooth, and then put the puree to a freezer-safe container.
Cooking with garlic in oil is better than frozen garlic, as the oil prevents the puree from freezing.
This way, you can just scoop it out and place it directly on a pan.
Store garlic in wine or vinegar
You can also store peeled garlic cloves in wine or vinegar.
This way, they can last up to four months in the refrigerator.
Your options include dry red or dry white wine, or white wine vinegar.
Just fill a glass with peeled garlic cloves, and then pour wine or vinegar to fill up the pace.
Seal it tightly, and place in the refrigerator.
You can add extra flavor with a teaspoon of salt per cup of liquid, or any dried herbs (oregano, red pepper flakes, or rosemary).
Shake well to mix the contents.
Words of warning: if you see any signs of mold forming on the surface of the liquid, throw away the pickled garlic.
How to easily peel garlic?
As you can see, most of the recipes for how to store garlic require peeled garlic.
Now, this is a challenging process for many, as it is known to cause crying.
With that in mind, here is how to easily peel off garlic.
- Slice off each end of a clove
- Turn the broad chef’s knife sideways. This way, the flat side s parallel to your cutting board
- Place the knife on top of the clove, and give the blade a quick pop with the heel of your hand
- This will lightly crush the garlic clove, and the papery skin rubs off easily. Just be careful not to mash the clove