How to Store Garlic Properly
Garlic is a kitchen workhorse, a key ingredient in countless savory dishes, from soups and sauces to marinades and hearty meat entrees. But to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible, it's essential to store garlic correctly. In this guide, we'll cover the proper storage methods for whole, peeled, minced, and roasted garlic.
Storing Whole Garlic
The good news is that whole, unpeeled heads of garlic have a lengthy shelf life and are relatively low-maintenance to store. When stored properly, they can remain fresh for up up to six months. Here are the key points to remember:
- Store garlic in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. The ideal temperature range is around 60 to 65°F.
- Avoid refrigeration, as the colder temperature can stimulate growth and alter the garlic's flavor.
- Good airflow is crucial to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to rot. Instead of using a plastic bag or sealed container, opt for a breathable mesh bag, a garlic keeper, or a wire basket.
Individual cloves, once separated from the head, have a shorter lifespan, typically lasting about 2 to 3 weeks. To maximize their freshness, only remove the number of cloves you need at the moment.
Storing Peeled Garlic
Once you've separated the cloves from the head and peeled them, the shelf life decreases. For peeled cloves, it's advisable to store them in a sealed bag or airtight container in the refrigerator. Peeled cloves can last for about a week in the refrigerator.
Storing Minced Garlic
Minced garlic has a relatively short shelf life, so it's best to mince only what you need for your specific recipe. However, if you've minced more than required, you can store it in a sealed bag or airtight container in the refrigerator. Plan to use it within 2 or 3 days.
You can also store minced garlic in a container with a drizzle of olive oil. However, it's essential to immediately refrigerate or freeze it to prevent the risk of botulism, which can occur at room temperature. The USDA recommends keeping garlic in oil for no more than 7 days in the refrigerator.
Storing Roasted Garlic
Roasted garlic offers a rich, nutty flavor and a creamy texture, perfect for enhancing various dishes. If you have leftover roasted garlic, you can store it in the following ways:
- Peeled roasted garlic can be kept in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- For longer storage, consider freezing roasted garlic. Place peeled cloves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about an hour, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag once they're frozen.
Storing Garlic in the Freezer
While garlic is best when fresh, it can last up to a year in the freezer. Here's how to do it:
- Wrap whole heads of garlic in aluminum foil or store individual cloves, peeled or unpeeled, in an airtight bag or freezer-safe container.
- For convenience, freeze minced or pureed garlic in ice cube trays and then transfer the cubes to a bag or container for easy use in the future.
By following these storage guidelines, you can enjoy the robust flavor of garlic in your culinary creations for an extended period.