My kitchen is never without garlic. Practically every dish we make has a clove or two chopped up and thrown in. In fact, my fiancé and I are such garlic lovers that we almost always have a backup head tucked away in the pantry in case we run out. That means it's crucial we store it right so it will be in peak condition when it's time to use it.
How to Store a Whole Head of Garlic
Garlic can actually keep well for months; the key is to store it the right way. There are three important things to keep in mind when it comes to proper storage.
1. Keep the head whole.
Leaving the entire head (aka the bulb) of garlic whole and not breaking it apart is the best way to store fresh garlic. If kept this way, under the right conditions, the head will stay fresh for a few months.
Garlic's life span begins to decrease once you break apart the head and take out the individual cloves. A broken head will keep for about three to 10 days, so make it a point to use it up first before breaking open a new head.
2. Think dry and dark.
Light and moisture are garlic's worst enemies, as they both cause mold to grow. Instead, store garlic at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has plenty of air circulation, like in a wire-mesh basket or open paper bag in a cupboard or pantry.
3. Avoid the fridge.
When stored in a cold environment, like the refrigerator, garlic will begin to sprout in no more than a few days. While sprouted garlic is still edible, it can sometimes be a little bitter-tasting.
How to Store Peeled Garlic
If you've peeled or chopped too much garlic for a recipe, it's OK to stick it in the fridge. Keep it sealed in an airtight container to prevent raw garlic smells wafting through the fridge, and try to use it up as soon as possible, within a day or so, to prevent sprouting and loss of flavor.
How to Handle a Surplus of Garlic
If you're completely overrun with garlic and are worried it might go bad before you can get through it all, look to other means of preservation. Roasted garlic is extremely easy to make and keeps well refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for up to three months. Roasted garlic makes just about anything better, from hummus to salad dressing to a thick slice of crusty bread.
Or there's garlic confit, which is garlic cloves that have been preserved in oil. The confit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, and both the cloves and the infused oil can be used in pasta dishes, sandwiches, sauces, soups, and much more.
Get the Recipe: Garlic Confit Is the Magic Secret to Loving Any Vegetable