There’s no doubt about garlic’s popularity all over the world. People know and love garlic for its punchy flavor. A tiny ingredient that can instantly amp up almost any dinner. But, what happens when it’s not stored properly? It loses its flavor, and then it starts to rot.
And, if you don’t notice your garlic going bad, you might just have a moldy surprise one day. No one wants moldy garlic! It’s not just gross, but it’s also a health hazard.
Sure, you can get garlic powder and not have to worry about storing garlic. However, there really is no substitute for fresh garlic. In fact, sometimes you need both fresh garlic and powdered garlic in a recipe, so it’s always good to have both in your kitchen! So, how do you store garlic properly, in order for it to last longer? Keep reading to find out!
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How You Can Properly Store Garlic
There are plenty of ways to store garlic in your kitchen. It’s actually quite easy. But, before we get into how, it’s always good to know why you’re doing it. If you know what to avoid, you’ll have way better results when storing garlic.
Garlic needs to be stored out of the sun, but somewhere with lots of airflow. It’s always best to store garlic in a darker place that doesn’t get affected by moisture. This is why you should never put it in the fridge.
Store It In A Dark and Dry Corner of Your Kitchen
The easiest way to store garlic that will last is to keep it in a cool, dark corner of your kitchen. The preferred temperature for storing garlic is room temperature. This could be on the counter or in a pantry. As long as the area is cool but dry.
When choosing a bowl, you might want to check out a mesh basket or wire fruit bowl. This will allow the air to properly circulate around the head of garlic. This way, you can store garlic and keep it for up to 3 months without losing quality.
Storing Minced Garlic
When you’ve peeled garlic and chopped or minced it, you can put it in the fridge. Make sure to use a Rubbermaid container to cut off any extra airflow, and to prevent your fridge from wreaking of garlic.
You will need to use it within a few months. While garlic can act as its own preservative, it will start to lose flavor after a couple of days if you don’t preserve them properly. This does not include the jars of garlic you buy at the store, as they usually have a preservative in them.
If you grow your own garlic, and you’re stuck with some extra bulbs, you can preserve them to keep them going for even longer than ordinary methods.
For this method, you will need a pressure canner and some distilled vinegar. You’ll also need a little patience, as this method has quite a few steps and will take a while to go through.
- Peel all of the cloves. Make sure you only use the big cloves when preserving.
- Prepare the vinegar by pouring a full gallon of vinegar into a soup or stockpot.
- Cover with a lid and let the vinegar boil.
- Fill jars with cloves ¾ full of garlic cloves
- Pour the vinegar into jars, leaving a half-inch of room for the vinegar and air to seal the jar.
- Seal lids as tight as you can with your hands. The air and vinegar will do the rest.
- Let cool overnight on your counter.
- When they’re cool, you can place them in your fridge.
Make sure that you label your preserve jars, so you’ll know if they’ve also expired. That is, if you don’t eat it all first!
How Long Does Garlic Last?
Minced garlic won’t last for very long, so you should use it up ASAP. But, when you leave it in an airy, dry corner of the kitchen, it can last you for months. It needs to be out of direct sunlight since that’s what causes sprouting and rotting. And, it needs a lot of airflow to keep moisture from causing mold.
When you preserve it, it can last up to a year. All it takes is a little vinegar and some airtight jars. That way, you can store garlic in the fridge and get some counter space back. It’s all about the method and how well you follow the guidelines for how to properly store garlic. After you know what it does, it’s a breeze!
How Can I Tell If My Garlic Is Going Bad?
You can’t really tell if a clove of garlic has gone bad until it’s been picked. However, if you notice green sprouts coming out of the top, it may be starting to go past its shelf life. Here are some signs that your garlic is going bad:
- Cloves have a rubbery, soft structure.
- Peeled cloves having brown spots.
- Peeled cloves are a yellow color, instead of white.
- Green roots are growing out of the top of the cloves.
- The cloves have a spicier taste.
- The bulb has tiny sprouting bulbs on the inside.
There is, of course, a silver lining to the last sign of garlic that is past its prime. When you crack the bulb open, you will find tiny bulbs. If you want more garlic, you can actually plant these bulbs in shallow ground and grow all new bulbs!
Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Garlic
Garlic isn’t exactly finicky to keep fresh. However, you should know what to avoid, especially when you’re looking to store garlic to have a longer shelf life.
Here are some mistakes to avoid when storing garlic:
- Storing garlic in the refrigerator without an airtight container.
- Putting garlic in direct sunlight.
- Freezing garlic; raw, peeled, or minced. Just don’t do it.
- Using a tall bowl with no airflow to store garlic.
Storing your garlic in a Ziploc or plastic bag.