How to Buy and Store Fresh Garlic

Here's the trick to finding the best bulb in the bunch

From mozzarella-stuffed garlic bombs to Mom's homemade tomato sauce, garlic is a wonderfully versatile ingredient used in all types of year-round recipes. This kitchen staple always adds loads of flavor, so you'll never regret having a few bulbs on hand. But how can you tell if what you're buying is actually fresh? Here's what you need to know.

How to Buy Garlic

It may come as a surprise to learn that fresh garlic shouldn't actually smell, well, garlicky. If a bulb has a noticeably strong odor, that means the inside is likely moldy, wet or smushed, so it's not the ideal choice. The best way to tell if garlic is fresh is by touching it. Give the bulb a gentle squeeze, and if it feels full and firm, you're good to go.

How to Store Garlic

Just like its fellow allium, the onion, garlic is best stored in a cool and dry place. Avoid keeping it in a tightly sealed container or inside the refrigerator, as this can cause moisture and mold to develop inside the bulb. To ensure your garlic lasts as long as possible, it's best to keep the individual cloves intact instead of breaking them apart. This beloved ingredient can last up to a couple of months if stored properly and kept whole, and about 10 to 12 days once it's been broken down.