So, there you are with garlic galore and everything’s perfect. Your garlic-growing work is done and it’s time to relax, right? Well, not exactly.
It’s time to deal with storage problems.
Store garlic the wrong way and you risk losing a good chunk of your yields.
Unlike other veggies, garlic can last for months. So it’s a pity it goes to waste for all the wrong reasons.
Read on to find all the answers you’re looking for. From where to store your garlic, how to store it, how long it can last, and more.
Cure Your Garlic After Harvesting
To preserve your garlic at its peak quality there’s a step you should take before storing it away. It’s called curing.
Curing makes the garlic plant direct its energy straight to the bulbs. And that’s definitely a plus. But how do you cure?
- Take bunches of 10 garlic plants, lay them on a piece of old newspaper, and tie them by the stalks.
- Hang them up in a storage area with an average temperature of 80°F.
- Choose a room with good air circulation.
- Avoid hanging your strings in areas that allow too much light in.
After about two to three weeks your garlic strings will dry out.
Yet, not all garlic varieties are created equal. You’ll know the curing process is done once the skin is dry as paper.
Prepare Your Bulbs for Clean Storage
The easiest way to extend the storage life of your garlic is to set it aside in mesh bags.
Leaving it to hang on the string is just as effective, but you might want to store it this way if you’re preparing it for sale. Both methods are up to scratch.
Follow the steps below to prepare your stockpile for successful long term storage:
- Damaged cloves will go bad easily, so make sure you separate and discard those.
- Remove the wrapper layers that have accumulated dirt. Be careful not to damage the rest of the wrapping.
- Cut away the tops, making sure not to cut into the protective skins.
- Remove dirt from the roots. After your fresh garlic bulbs have been cured, this shouldn’t be a hassle. Rubbing it with a glove will do it. If you notice the roots are humid, you might have to trim them using snips. Leave 1/2 to 1 inch of roots.
Make Sure to Store Whole Bulbs
Keeping the garlic bulb or head whole is a smart storage method that makes the garlic stay fresh for longer. The bulb won’t keep as long should you crack it apart.
This is a mistake many are unaware of. So, the number one rule is to crack the head open only if you intend to use it up within a few days.
And for those who ask how long does garlic last, we have a straightforward answer. It depends on how you treat it.
- If you store whole bulbs in a cool, dark place, your garlic can last you a staggering 6 to 8 months.
- Once broken up into single cloves, they’ll last you up to 3 weeks as long as you keep them unpeeled.
- Peeled garlic cloves will have a much shorter shelf life and will keep fresh for roughly a week.
- Peeled garlic that’s chopped or sliced won’t keep longer than a day. The best way to store it is in the fridge tucked away in an airtight container.
|Garlic (whole fresh buld)||6 months|
|Garlic (unpeeled clove)||1 month|
|Garlic (peeled clove)||1 week|
|Garlic (slice, minced, or pressed)||1 day|
For those who don’t treat garlic as a staple in their kitchen, here are a few ideas on how to use the leftovers quickly.
- Cover your chopped fresh garlic in oil.
- Throw in whole cloves into cooking.
- Use garlic bulbs to prepare roasted garlic.
Roasted garlic recipes feature whole bulbs, so they’re a great last-minute meal idea.
Choose a Cool, Dark Space for Storage
The smartest storage place you can choose for your garlic is a dark, cool room with good ventilation. Garlic doesn’t tolerate moisture, light, and high temperatures. Keeping it away from those conditions is the least you can do.
- Put away your garlic in an area with a room temperature of 60℉ – 65°F.
- To increase air circulation, hang your garlic heads in mesh bags or on strings. A kitchen drawer might not work well because of poor ventilation.
Should You Store Garlic in the Fridge?
The topic of fridge storage and garlic is sort of controversial. When stored in the refrigerator, garlic tends to deteriorate faster due to moisture. Refrigerating it causes it to sprout within weeks and even go moldy.
While refrigerating it might not be the best way to store garlic long-term, it is a good way to store cloves you’ve already chopped or sliced.
The fridge also comes in handy for storing supermarket-bought garlic. Such garlic is typically cold-stored. Because of this, the garlic that’s supposed to last you several months will lose its former glory in a matter of days.
Storing it at room temperature after you’ve brought it home will only enhance sprouting. So, make sure to keep it in the fridge until it’s ready to use.
Here are the safe ways of storing garlic in the fridge:
- Put garlic away in the crisper drawer. This will take care of the humidity problem and extend the garlic’s storage life.
- Keep the peeled and chopped garlic cloves sealed in an airtight container. This will both keep the moisture out and contain the garlic smell.
- Identify the garlic that’s gone bad. While sprouted garlic can become bitter it’s safe to eat. However, the garlic that’s gone bad can cause a rare condition called botulism. Once garlic cloves grow soft and tender and show discoloration you’ll know they’re no longer safe to eat.
Build On Your Gardening Expertise
Knowing the best ways to store your garlic is how you make sure your fresh garlic stays fresh for a long time.
You know better than anyone how much blood, sweat, and tears went into growing the crop. And once you lose the yields you’ve sweated for there’s no turning back.
Now you know how to store garlic, all you need to do is apply it in practice. It’s a matter of a few simple steps.
Storing garlic these ways will preserve all your crops for up to eight long months. Imagine all you could do with it!
There’s no end to extending your knowledge as a gardener. But each new lesson translates into a more bountiful harvest, a plant disease solution, a seedling sprouting, or much more.
Visit the Gardening Channel and keep exploring the wonderful world of gardening. We offer a long list of articles that aim to satiate your unquenchable appetite for always knowing more.
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