In this article, we will answer the question “How long can I keep garlic?”, and how to keep garlic fresh for longer?
How long can I keep garlic?
The shelf-life of garlic differs based on whether the garlic is chopped, peeled, or intact with the bulb. The following table shows the shelf-life of garlic stored in different forms.
|On the counter||In the fridge|
|Whole garlic||3-6 months|
|Peeled garlic||Not recommended||6-9 days|
|Chopped garlic||Not recommended||1 week|
Garlic is a kitchen staple but it is almost annoying to peel the garlic every time you need it. So, storing the garlic in the peeled or chopped form to preserve its freshness for longer sounds enticing and time-saving.
How to store garlic?
When at the store, always look for fresh, plumpy, and undamaged garlic bulbs. If the garlic has soft or mushy spots or is sprouting, do not buy it as it will not keep for longer. There are some general guidelines to follow to keep garlic for longer.
- Keep the garlic in an airy environment. You can store the bulbs in a mesh bag or basket in your pantry.
- Keep the garlic away from moisture and sunlight or heat.
- Once you have removed the husk of the cloves, try to use them as soon as possible. Because the husk is what keeps the garlic from losing moisture.
At room temperature
Whole garlic i.e garlic with the bulb intact can be stored at room temperature at 60-65°F and at a moderate level humidity. The environment should not be too dry or too humid. A too dry environment will suck the moisture out of the garlic depriving it of its flavor. You can use the dry cloves in vegetable stock.
In the fridge
The refrigeration environment makes the garlic susceptible to mold growth and hence spoilage due to the humid surroundings. Moreover, refrigeration makes the garlic sprout early.
Refrigerating minced garlic kept in oil or vinegar is a good choice. Processed minced/chopped garlic jars have various preservatives added to extend the shelf-life. These jars should be kept in the fridge.
Bury the sprouted garlic in fertile soil and use the garlic greens in your recipes for mild garlicky flavor.
In the freezer
Freezing garlic changes the texture and flavor but it is not a bad choice if you have garlic in bulk or you do not use garlic frequently. There are two ways to freeze store garlic.
- Peel the cloves and toss them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out the air from the bag and keep it in the fridge.
- The second method is to freeze store chopped garlic. You can keep the minced garlic or garlic paste(blended with some water) in the ice cube tray. You can either use these cubes directly or toss them in a freezer bag.
In the dehydrator
Dried garlic lasts longer than fresh garlic. Store dried garlic as is in an air-tight container or blend to make powder. You can dry the garlic cloves in two ways.
- Peel the garlic cloves. Cut the cloves into thin slices. Spread the slices evenly in a food dehydrator. Remove when the cloves are crisp.
- If you do not have a food dehydrator, dry the sliced garlic cloves in the oven maintained at a temperature of 115°F. Keep an eye on the garlic, it should not burn. Remove from the oven when crisp.
Grease a baking tray or a casserole dish with some oil. Spread the whole garlic in the dish and bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes. Remove the peel and store the paste in the freezer for up to a week. Roasted garlic has a mild roasted flavor and is very easy to scoop out due to the added oil.
Store the peeled garlic cloves in vinegar or wine. Add salt and herbs for extra flavor. Herbs like red pepper flakes, oregano, rosemary, or bay leaves can be added. You can use either a dry red or white wine, or white or white wine vinegar.
Adding salt will enhance flavor and perform a preservative action. Pickled garlic has a very mild flavor and it can even be added to salads.
In flavored oil
Dried garlic cloves can be preserved by immersing them in flavored oil like olive oil. Using fresh garlic clove in the oil will increase the chances of botulism.
You can keep the minced or chopped garlic in oil in the fridge. Consume this mixture within weeks. Toss in the bin if mold sign or odd smell appears.
Alternatively, garlic paste in oil can also be frozen to reduce the risk of Botulism.
In this article, we answered the question “How long can I keep garlic?”, and how to keep garlic fresh for longer?