The Absolute Best Ways To Keep Garlic Fresh

Garlic is a staple for some. Those who can't imagine not having the aromatic cloves on hand likely toss them into many of the dishes they prepare whether the recipe calls for it or not. But if you don't use garlic soon enough and it is not stored properly, it could sprout and spoil. That's why it is important to understand the best ways to keep garlic fresh so you can keep it that way for as long as you need to.

While there are several great ways to store garlic, some methods need to be carefully thought through. For example, canning garlic to preserve it or storing it in oil might sound like good ways to keep garlic, but they can actually cause some pretty serious issues, according to the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Canning garlic requires a complex system that doesn't keep the flavor very well while garlic stored in oil (or other liquid) can quickly turn toxic if it is kept at room temperature. However, if you use one of the following storage options, you can enjoy your garlic for months to come.

Store it in a covered bowl

One of the most common and easiest ways to store garlic without much additional prep is to keep it dry at room temperature. But to prevent the garlic bulbs from sprouting, you do need to keep the bulbs under the right conditions. When it is properly stored, though, garlic can keep on the countertop at room temperature for weeks or even months, according to Clean Green Simple.

Per Good Housekeeping, that means storing garlic in a cool, dark place where the bulbs won't get too much humidity. One easy solution to creating this atmosphere on your counter is to use a garlic keeper. These keep the bulbs out of direct light and regulate the temperature and humidity well, too. You can also use a covered bowl, basket or paper bag to store garlic. Just make sure it is not in direct sunlight and remains dry to keep it from sprouting.

Place leftover garlic in the fridge

If you accidentally chop too much garlic or peel one too many cloves, you can store it in the fridge. But such garlic does not keep for quite so long in the fridge as it does as whole cloves at room temperature. According to Allrecipes, peeled garlic placed in the fridge will last for up to a week, while chopped or minced garlic will keep for a few days. If you do store your garlic in the refrigerator, you will need to store it carefully so as to avoid any garlic aroma or flavor infusing into other items in your fridge like butter.

To store leftover garlic in the fridge, you will need to place it in an airtight container. You might even consider placing chopped or cut garlic inside two airtight containers such as a smaller resealable bag within another resealable bag. You could also use something like cling wrap to help insulate and prevent the aromatics from leaking out of the container, too.

Cooked garlic can be frozen

Garlic that has already been cooked or roasted can be frozen and used at a later time (via Good Housekeeping). But it is very important to know that you must quickly freeze raw garlic that has been sliced, minced, or pressed. If garlic is prepped and then left at room temperature or in the fridge for too long (at most a few days), mold can start to grow and botulism can become a very real problem, according to UC ANR. But when properly prepared, cooked garlic that has been frozen can be stored for months at a time.

One of the best methods for cooking the garlic and storing it in the freezer is to roast it with a little olive oil. Once the garlic is soft and mildly sweet, you can freeze it inside an ice cube tray or small airtight containers. You could also try cooking the garlic in olive oil in a saucepan to make garlic confit with other aromatics like herbs, leeks, or citrus zest. Again, it needs to be frozen as soon as it cools a bit.

Dehydrate cloves of garlic

If you have an abundance of garlic cloves, you can also dehydrate them, as Grow a Good Life explains. Once dried, the garlic can be ground into homemade garlic powder or chopped into dried minced garlic. But regardless of how you plan to use dehydrated garlic, the dried cloves can be stored for quite a long time.

To dehydrate garlic, you will need to cook the pieces or cloves at a very low oven temperature for a long time — up to 12 hours in total. But once the garlic has completely dried out, you can stash it in an airtight container or resealable bag until you know how you'd like to use it.

If you want to preserve your garlic but don't want to leave it in the oven for such a long time, consider fermenting the cloves into black garlic, per Food52. It too will take plenty of time, but you'll get a deliciously mild and sweet take on garlic for a different flavor profile.