Are You Storing Garlic Properly?


Fresh garlic is what makes many savory dishes pop with flavor. That’s why it’s important to learn how to store garlic properly — because once this allium starts to go bad, it’ll begin to sprout and turn bitter — or worse, shrivel and rot away. Sliced, diced or pressed with a garlic press, garlic is essential in so many recipes: garlic bread, stir-fries, pesto, pasta sauces and much more. When cooking or eating, a subpar clove just won’t do! Learn the best ways to keep garlic fresh so you always have this pantry staple on hand.

How do you keep garlic fresh longer?

First, buy just one or two heads at a time and choose them wisely. Look for whole heads of garlic with tightly packed skins and firm cloves. Avoid anything that feels soft and has started to sprout (bright green shoots growing out the top of each garlic clove).

Purple-tinged garlic is totally fine—it’s just a different variety called hardneck (because of the woody stem). All-white garlic, or softneck, lacks this stem. The two varieties can be used interchangeably.

No matter what type of garlic you pick up, here’s how to store your stash to make it last:

Store a head of garlic at room temperature

        Store whole heads of garlic, or unpeeled garlic cloves, in a cool, dry place in a vessel with good airflow (such as a mesh bag or loosely woven basket). Keep it in your pantry or in a basket on your counter out of the sun.

        Store peeled garlic in the fridge

        While we’re not fans of refrigerating whole heads of garlic (it can trigger sprouting), the fridge is a great place for whole peeled cloves, sliced or minced garlic. Let’s say you sliced a bunch of garlic for a recipe and have extra, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Use it within 2-3 days.

        Store lots of garlic in the freezer

        Got heaps of heads? Here’s an easy way to preserve them: Finely chop, grate or press raw garlic cloves into ice cube trays, cover with oil and freeze. Quick food safety note: According to the CDC, it’s important to freeze this mixture right away to avoid foodborne illness. Do not hold or store it at room temperature.

        Dehydrate garlic

        Fresh, firm garlic cloves without any bruises can be dried to make tasty garlic “chips” that’ll add crunch to everything from rice to chicken dishes. To prepare, peel and cut cloves in half lengthwise, then follow instructions on your dehydrator. To dehydrate garlic in an oven, dry at 140°F for 2 hours, then reduce the heat to 130°F and continue drying until the garlic is crisp, 4-6 hours. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

        But if that bag you bought from the bulk store is about to go bad, we’ve got another idea: Cook it up! Here, a few of our favorite recipes for garlic lovers:

        The bottom line

        Garlic is an essential pantry ingredient. You can store whole heads at room temperature in a dry, dark place, refrigerate peeled or cut cloves in an airtight container or freeze garlic in oil. With a variety of ways to store (and eat!) fresh garlic, you’ll never have to go without.

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        Recipe Editor

        Susan (she/her) is the recipe editor at Good Housekeeping, where she pitches ideas, parses words, and produces food content. In the Test Kitchen, she cooks (and samples!) recipes, working with developers to deliver the best written versions possible. A graduate of Brown University and a collaborator on several cookbooks, her previous experience includes stints at Food & Wine, Food Network, three meal kit companies, a wine shop in Brooklyn, and Chez Panisse, the pioneering restaurant in Berkeley, California. She enjoys playing tennis, natural wines, and reality competition shows.

        Assistant Editor

        Samantha (she/her) is an Assistant Editor in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, where she writes about tasty recipes, must-try food products and top-tested secrets for home cooking success. She has taste-tasted hundreds of products and recipes since joining GH in 2020 (tough job!). A graduate of Fordham University, she considers the kitchen to be her happiest place.

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