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Best way to store garlic?

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  • Fida Oct 28, 2011 05:42 PM
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I just lucked into garlic at an unusually good price, and bought much more than I normally would. I'm getting conlicting information on the best was to store it, so I thought I'd ask for your suggestions. On the counter, or in the fridge? Tightly wrapped, or open?

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  1. I usually buy 3 heads at a time...always keep 'em on kitchen counter...but I use it almost every day...so it goes fast. just my 2 cents. ^_^

    1. I always have a couple of heads in the basket in the drawer along with onions and shallots. We use a couple of heads a week.

      1. Not sure that this is the best way, but certainly the most convenient way for me is to buy a few heads and take the time to peel the cloves. They will last for a few weeks in a container refrigerated. Not sure if it loses any of its pungency this way but it saves me a lot of time during the week.

        1. The usual...cool dry and dark. Garages or basements work well. In this day and age it's hard to tell how long it's going to last because you don't really have any idea how long the stuff has already been out of the ground. Even in ideal conditions it might start sprouting sooner than you would like. In that regard it's worth noting that roasted and peeled garlic freezes well, and is good to have on hand for sauces, stews, whatever. If you're worried you have more garlic than you can otherwise use, I'd just roast a few heads.

          5 Replies
          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

            If you're going to use it within the next month, please don't store it in the garage or basement where there can be chemicals (garage) or mildew (basement). Just keep it in a dark place with good air circulation, it is not such delicate stuff.

            1. re: escondido123

              That strikes me as an over-the-top abundance of concern, but to each his or her own.

              1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                i'd be more concerned with the picking up of odors with basement or garage storage. why would you store food where you park your car or keep cans of paint?

                the garlic will do fine in a cupboard or drawer, just like onions, for several weeks at least, or it can be peeled and roasted and frozen.

                i use it pretty liberally too so never worry about going through it. i worry more about running out!

                1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                  Funny, what struck me as odd was the idea of storing garlic in either the garage or basement unless it is quantities so great they couldn't fit in the kitchen..but then my garage has lots of paint and I can't imagine putting "bare" food out there and every cellar I've had was so damp it would put mold on garlic in a fairly short time. But to each his or her own.

                  1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                    Remember, guys, the first thing I recommended was cool, dry, and dark. Garages and basements were just examples of places that work well for many, but obviously won't if they are damp, malodorous, and filled with mildew and mold or bottles of chemicals leaking VOCs.

                    Many unfinished basements are perfectly dry, and many finished or semi-finished ones are unheated or heated far less than the rest of the house. Finished or not, they're often dark. That makes them great for storing excess amounts of things like garlic.

                    When it comes to garages, common sense obviously applies. Many people don't use their garages for a frequently used car. At least half the people on my block (like us) don't use the garage for a car at all, but simply as a storage and work space. Most of the others use it for a rarely driven second car. Worry about a properly closed paint can impacting garlic on the other side of a well-ventilated garage just seems unwarranted to me.

                    Lastly, I personally tend to keep garlic on the kitchen counter because I buy a head at a time and use it up fast (although there is a pound destined for the garden in the garage right now). But the OP was asking what to do about "much more" garlic than s/he usually buys, so I assumed kitchen space concerns and the possibility of storing for more than a month were absolutely in play. Anyhow, we've all found what works for us. Happy chowing!

              2. Store in a cool, dark place. I store my in a kitchen cupboard away from the stove and fridge. I store it open, in a wire basket. It lasts almost a year and this is non treated, organic local garlic. I grow my own garlic, and store it this way without issues. Seriously. Don't put it in the fridge, don't leave it on the counter, don't wrap it. Just put them in a container that is well aerated (hence the wire mesh basket), dark and cool.

                1. jut fyi, pureed roasted garlic freezes well.

                  1. Definitely not tightly wrapped. Garlic seems to like air circulation combined with dark, but the countertop is fine for any amount that you'll use up soon. If it's sprouted within a week or two on your counter, it was probably already destined to sprout soon anyway.

                    Someone gave me a little garlic keeper crock, a lidded earthenware container with a number of 1/2-inch holes drilled into it for air circulation. That actually seems to work well on the countertop, but it doesn't hold the quantity of garlic that I need. So I keep a wicker basket in my pantry that holds garlic, onions and shallots. That's perfect, I think.

                    1. If you truly have a lot of garlic and want to store it all winter long, buy some pantyhose. Slip head no 1 down the hose, then tie a knot that is ample. Then garlic head no 2, etc. The idea is that the knots will keep each of head of garlic totally separate from the next head [i.e. not touching.] Then hang these ropes in a cool and dark place.

                      This assumes that the garlic has been dried properly and that there are no punctures etc. Any head that doesn't pass this test should be eaten in the next several weeks and could be kept in a dark place in the kitchen.

                      When I used to grow all my own garlic, this method of storage allowed me to use my own garlic all winter long.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: smtucker

                        Very intriguing method. I've recently planted my own garlic and shallots for the first time, to be harvested next year. I suppose you could snip off a knot worth of garlic as needed?

                        Conventional male that I am, I haven't ever bought hose, but I've heard that it's also great to use for tying up tomato plants. I'm sold now!

                        1. re: Bada Bing

                          Since you don't have leftover nylons, buy the bulk bags with the really cheap stuff. You don't care about runs, after all. And yes, you cut off one knot at a time. I was taught this storage method by the garlic farmer that I bought my initial seed from. Takes a bit of time to do properly, but the results are worth it when you are still eating garlic from your own garden in April.

                        2. re: smtucker

                          smtucker thanks for this tip, I have over 50 heads of garlic to store through the winter as I refuse to purchase the bland-tasting stuff we import from China during the winter and spring. I'll definitely give this a try!!

                          Fida, thanks to you as well for posting this question!!

                        3. Never had that problem.

                          Just eat more garlic. More frequently.