Keeping Garlic Fresh

Lucia on Sep 24th

I asked my Mom why she used to buy garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. She said it was convenient. Every time she bought heads of garlic, it dried up before she used it up. When she tried keeping it in the refrigerator, something happened to the taste. So she thought it was just easier to buy powdered garlic from the spice section so she’d have some when she needed it.

She’s right about the refrigerator thing. I enjoyed educating her about the unique aspects of storing garlic. Why? Well, she’s my mom. So it’s a kick to show her I know a thing or two once in a while.

Garlic will sprout and get bitter if you store it in your produce drawer. It’s better to keep it in the cool, dark pantry. You can get special containers, called garlic keepers, for storing your garlic out in the open on your kitchen counter, but a brown paper bag in the pantry works just as well.

If you want fresh garlic, but you know you won’t use it all in a reasonably short time, you can store it by freezing or by drying. You just slice the garlic, and freeze it in a freezer storage bag, or spread the slices in the drying appliance and store when finished. Then drop a slice into your cooking pot when you need it. The liquid reconstitutes it if it’s dried or defrosts it if frozen.

If you dry a lot of it, you could even grind it into a powder which is fresher than what you get in the store because it doesn’t have those anti-caking chemicals or preservatives in it.

Another way to store a lot is to do it the way it’s sold in stores. Peel the fresh garlic and chop or puree it. Store in a freezer bag in the freezer for long-term or the refrigerator if you’ll use it in a week or two.

Just remember if you want to store garlic in olive oil, you must first place the peeled cloves in vinegar in the refrigerator for a day or two. Then you can pour the vinegar off. Save it for salad dressings. Olive oil can then be used to cover the garlic, but always keep it in the fridge. The vinegar acidifies the garlic and prevents botulism.

Mom actually jotted down notes as I talked. Wow! Made me feel weird. But in a good way.

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    One Response to “Keeping Garlic Fresh”

    1. Erin S., Ravena, NY Sep 7th 2008 at 01:57 pm 1

      Thanks so much on the advice for longterm storage of garlic. I have been growing garlic for my family for a number of years but didn’t realize my first year that 6 or 7 bulbs, split into cloves and planted, would YIELD THAT MUCH. Most of it shrivelled and went bad before we could use it…and believe me I tried! Now I know that I can either dehydrate it or soak it in vinegar then transfer whole cloves into oil for long term storage. No more wasted garlic!! Thank you, thank you.
      Erin S. in Upstate NY

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