How to Store Garlic

If you are looking for an efficient way on How to Store Garlic, I hope to have a few ideas to help you out. Growing food we can enjoy year-round is one of the benefits of learning how to start a backyard garden, and storing that food is the healthiest way is our goal today.

HOW TO STORE GARLIC

You’ve grown plenty of garlic in your garden to keep your family well-stocked, but how should you store it so that it stays fresh? And how can you ensure you are keeping it in a way that ensures that freshness lasts?

When it comes to storing garlic from your garden, there are several great options that work well. But first, you need to make sure you’re storing the bulbs of the best quality. Poor-quality bulbs won’t store well and can cause problems for the bulbs that are being stored near them.

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How to Store Garlic

Before storing your garlic, be sure to remove any bulbs that are soft, have signs of sprouting, or look to be damaged or have damaged cloves. You will also want to be sure they’re not damaged by pests or disease; as this runs the risk of spreading to your other bulbs.

What garlic bulbs are best for storing?

When storing garlic, look for bulbs that are firm. Using your hands gently, feel the entire bulb checking each clove. Another sign of healthy garlic is a dry, papery skin. Do not remove the skin as this will help to protect it.

Remember, the best bulbs will store the best.

Curing

Once you’ve selected the best bulbs, you’ll need to cure them before storing. The curing process will send all remaining energy to the bulbs instead of the root system. After harvesting, gently brush away any loose soil from the roots. Be careful not to bruise or damage your bulbs; leave the roots and leaves intact.

Tie the garlic together in 3-6 plant bunches with a string. Hang by the string in an area with plenty of air circulation and a temp of around 80°F. Leave the garlic to hang for about two weeks. When the skin is dry and papery, similar to the garlic you’d buy in the store, the curing process is done.

Tying a rope Around a Freshly Picked Garlic Bouquet ready to Dry

Cleaning

Once the garlic is cured, you’ll need to clean it a bit before storing. The tops should now be dry and brittle to the touch.

Start by removing the roots and any soil that remain. Brush your hands along the roots. If you find there are still roots left, you can trim them away using scissors.

hands trimming away roots from a head of garlic with scissors

Next, trim the tops but be careful not to trim too close to the bulb, you don’t want the cloves exposed to air.

Finally, remove only the really dirty outer layer of skin. This should be very papery once cured. Leave the rest of the skin intact, as this will help your garlic stay fresh.

While you are cleaning your heads or garlic, If you see any damaged cloves, remove them from the bulbs. If you find that some of your bulbs are soft after curing, use them in your kitchen instead of storing them, they won’t stay fresh for long, but they are still good to eat.

Storing

The easiest and best way to store fresh garlic is in a mesh produce bag. There are several options available online, and many are reusable. These bags will provide plenty of air circulation that will help maintain the freshness of your garlic.

Store the garlic in an area where the temperature can be maintained at 50-60°F with moderate humidity and plenty of air circulation. If the temperature drops too low, the garlic bulbs will start to sprout once the temperature rises again, so it’s important to maintain a steady temperature. If the humidity in the storage area is too low, the garlic will dry out and shrivel up. Proper air circulation will keep your garlic from rotting.

When stored properly, fresh garlic can be maintained for at least six months, sometimes up to a year.

a purple mesh bag of garlic with some lying next to it

Other Storage Options

If you want other options for storing your garlic, there are a few we can talk about briefly. Just know that they may not keep the garlic lasting as long or keep the flavor and texture intact. It is still a good idea to be familiar with them, so you have a second option if the need ever arises.

Refrigerator

This is a popular method but not recommended for long storage. The cold temperature can make them susceptible to food-borne illnesses, causing food poisoning. If you plan to store your cloves in the refrigerator, make sure you use them within a week.

There is a way to ensure garlic lasts longer while refrigerated, and we will talk about that in a bit.

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Freezing

Freezing garlic is a great option for future use.

One way is to freeze them whole. To help them freeze better, do not peel them. Select the cloves you want to freeze and place them directly in the freezer after harvesting. When ready to use, just thaw and use as normal.

Another way to freeze garlic is chopped. After peeling away the skin, chop each clove as desired. Next, use your hands to form it into a block, or you can place it in an ice tray to form blocks that way. After frozen, place the blocks in a plastic freezer bag or wrap them in plastic wrap. When you need garlic for a recipe, just break off a piece or use a whole block, depending on the amount you need.

close up on hands chopping up a clove or fresh garlic

Drying

When drying garlic cloves, be sure they’re fresh and not bruised or soft. Peel the cloves and cut each one of them in half, then dry them out on a cookie sheet in the oven or a food dehydrator at about 140°F for about two hours. After 2 hours, reduce the temperature to 130°F and leave them in until they are fully dry.

Once your garlic is done, you can keep it whole, or grind it to make garlic powder.

Wine or Vinegar

Yes, you can store your garlic in wine or vinegar, which will give them a little extra flavor when you’re ready to use them. Place the cloves in a jar with either white vinegar or a dry white wine, seal the jar, and place it in the refrigerator.

They will keep for 8-12 months in the refrigerator with this storage method. Do keep an eye on the jars though, and look for any unusual growth on the surface of the container. This can be mold or yeast that forms due to the garlic being kept at an unacceptable temperature. Make sure you’re keeping your refrigerator plenty cold.

garlic cloves in small mason jars of vinegar

Once you harvest the garlic from your garden, prepare it for storage as quickly as possible. This will help to ensure freshness for months to come. If you have a large harvest, try a few different storage methods to see which works best for you. Since some of these options will allow you to keep your garlic fresh for longer than others, you’ll be able to have fresh garlic available for months to come with a combination of storage methods.

Use your freshly stored garlic in a variety of recipes or even to make garlic oil and garlic salt for yourself or to give as gifts. There are so many options for using garlic in your kitchen you’ll never run out of new ideas.

Freshly grown garlic has so much more flavor than what you’ll find in the store, and you’ll be able to preserve it immediately upon harvesting so that it will last longer. Which storage method will be your favorite?

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