Home>Articles>How To Store Garlic After Harvest

How To Store Garlic After Harvest How To Store Garlic After Harvest


How To Store Garlic After Harvest

Written by: Henry Campbell

Learn how to store garlic after harvest with these helpful articles. Find out the best methods and tips to keep your garlic fresh and flavorful for months.

(Many of the links in this article redirect to a specific reviewed product. Your purchase of these products through affiliate links helps to generate commission for Storables.com, at no extra cost. Learn more)


Growing your own garlic is a rewarding experience. From planting the cloves to watching the bulbs grow, it’s a gratifying journey. But what do you do with all that fresh garlic once you’ve harvested it? Proper storage is key to preserving the flavor and quality of your garlic.

In this article, we will explore the importance of storing garlic after harvest. We’ll discuss the benefits of proper storage, the process of harvesting garlic, and the steps to prepare it for storage. We’ll also delve into the best storage conditions for garlic and explore various methods of storing it.

Additionally, we’ll touch on the culinary uses of garlic scapes, common mistakes to avoid in garlic storage, and how to check for spoilage in stored garlic. Finally, we’ll provide tips for long-term garlic storage to help you enjoy the flavors of your harvest throughout the year.

Whether you’re a seasoned garlic grower or just starting out, this article will equip you with the knowledge and techniques necessary to store your garlic properly and savor its goodness for months to come.

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper garlic storage is crucial for preserving its flavor, quality, and nutritional value. By following the right harvesting techniques, preparing the garlic properly, and providing the optimal storage conditions, you can enjoy the deliciousness of garlic for months to come.
  • From harvesting to storage, mastering the art of garlic preservation ensures prolonged freshness and flavor. Embrace the versatility of garlic scapes and avoid common storage mistakes to savor the homegrown goodness of your harvest year-round.

Benefits of Proper Garlic Storage

Properly storing garlic after harvest offers several benefits that can enhance your culinary experiences and ensure the longevity of your garlic supply. Let’s explore some of the advantages:

  1. Prolongs Shelf Life: Garlic is known for its pungent aroma and intense flavor, but improper storage can lead to the deterioration of these qualities. By storing garlic correctly, you can extend its shelf life and enjoy its fresh taste for a longer duration.
  2. Maintains Flavor and Aroma: Garlic contains sulfur compounds that give it its distinct taste and fragrance. When stored properly, these compounds are preserved, ensuring that your garlic retains its robust flavor and delightful aroma.
  3. Retains Nutritional Value: Garlic is not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients like vitamins C and B6, manganese, and selenium. By storing garlic correctly, you can help preserve the nutritional value of the bulbs, ensuring you reap the health benefits when consuming them.
  4. Reduces Waste: When garlic isn’t stored properly, it can lose its freshness, become soft or moldy, and ultimately go to waste. By implementing the appropriate storage techniques, you can minimize waste and make the most of your garlic harvest.
  5. Convenience and Accessibility: Properly stored garlic remains in good condition, allowing you to have a ready supply whenever you need it. This convenience eliminates the need to run to the grocery store for garlic and ensures you always have this versatile ingredient on hand for cooking or medicinal purposes.

With these benefits in mind, it’s clear that proper garlic storage is crucial for preserving its quality, flavor, and nutritional value. In the following sections, we’ll dive into the details of how to harvest and prepare garlic for storage, as well as the best storage conditions and methods to ensure long-lasting freshness.

Harvesting Garlic

Harvesting garlic is a rewarding moment for any gardener. The timing of the harvest is crucial, as it greatly impacts the quality and flavor of your garlic bulbs. Here are the steps to follow when it’s time to harvest your garlic:

  1. Observe the Leaves: Garlic bulbs take several months to mature, so it’s important to keep an eye on the leaves. As the bulbs near maturity, the lower leaves will start to turn yellow and dry out. This is a good indication that it’s time to harvest.
  2. Check the Bulbs: Before harvesting, gently dig up a few bulbs to assess their size and development. Mature garlic bulbs should be full-sized, with individual cloves forming distinctly within the bulb. If they still seem small or underdeveloped, give them more time to grow.
  3. Choose the Right Time: Ideally, garlic should be harvested when about 1/3 to 1/2 of the lower leaves have turned brown. Harvesting too early can result in small bulbs, while waiting too long may lead to bulbs splitting or cloves popping out of the skin.
  4. Loosen the Soil: Before pulling the garlic plants out of the ground, use a garden fork or shovel to loosen the soil around them. Be careful not to damage the bulbs with the tool. Gently lift the bulbs out of the ground, allowing the excess soil to fall off.
  5. Cure the Garlic: After harvesting, it’s important to cure the garlic to promote proper drying and prevent potential rot. To do this, hang the garlic in bunches or lay it in a single layer on a well-ventilated surface, such as a wire rack or a wooden pallet. Keep them in a warm, dry, and shaded area for about 2-3 weeks until the outer skins dry and become papery.

Harvesting garlic at the right time and properly curing it are crucial steps in preparing it for storage. Once your garlic bulbs are fully cured, you can move on to the next phase of the storage process: preparing the garlic for long-term preservation.

Preparing Garlic for Storage

Properly preparing garlic for storage is essential to maintain its quality and prevent premature spoilage. Here are the steps to follow when preparing garlic for long-term storage:

  1. Trim the Roots: Start by trimming the roots attached to the bottom of the garlic bulbs. Use scissors or a sharp knife to remove any excess roots, but be careful not to damage the cloves or remove too much of the root plate.
  2. Remove the Stems: Next, trim the stems of the garlic bulbs. Cut them about an inch above the top of the bulb, ensuring you leave enough stem attached for easy handling.
  3. Remove Loose Outer Layers: Gently peel off any loose outer layers of skin from the garlic bulbs. However, be careful not to remove too many layers, as the outer skin helps protect the garlic from moisture loss and potential spoilage.
  4. Do Not Wash: It’s crucial to avoid washing the garlic bulbs before storage. Moisture can lead to the growth of mold or bacteria and cause the garlic to rot. Maintain the natural protective layer on the garlic by keeping it dry before storage.
  5. Inspect for Damage: Take the time to inspect each bulb for any signs of damage, such as bruising, soft spots, or mold. Remove any bulbs that are compromised, as they can quickly spoil the rest of the garlic in storage.

By following these simple steps, you’ll ensure that your garlic bulbs are prepared and ready for long-term storage. The next section will explore the optimal storage conditions for garlic to maintain its freshness and flavor.

Best Storage Conditions for Garlic

Creating the right storage conditions is crucial for preserving the flavor, quality, and longevity of your garlic. Here are the best storage conditions to keep your garlic fresh:

  1. Temperature: Garlic should be stored at a cool and consistent temperature, ideally between 55°F to 60°F (13°C to 16°C). Avoid storing garlic in areas that experience extreme temperature fluctuations or high heat, as this can cause sprouting or spoilage.
  2. Humidity: Garlic prefers low humidity levels. High humidity can encourage mold growth and cause the bulbs to become soft or rot. Aim for a humidity level of around 40% to 60% to keep your garlic in optimal condition.
  3. Darkness: Garlic should be stored in a dark environment to prevent it from sprouting prematurely. Exposure to light can trigger sprouting and diminish the flavor of the garlic. Use opaque containers or wrap the garlic in brown paper bags to block out light.
  4. Air Circulation: Good air circulation is essential for storing garlic. Avoid sealing garlic in airtight containers, as this can trap moisture and lead to mold growth. Instead, place the garlic in a well-ventilated container, allowing for proper air circulation.
  5. Away from Strong Odors: Garlic has a strong aroma that can easily transfer to other nearby foods. Store garlic away from other produce, especially fruits and vegetables with delicate flavors, to avoid contamination and flavor absorption.

By providing the ideal storage conditions of cool temperature, low humidity, darkness, proper air circulation, and separation from strong odors, you can significantly extend the shelf life and maintain the quality of your garlic.

Now that we understand the optimal storage conditions for garlic, let’s explore various methods of storing garlic to cater to different preferences and needs in the next section.

Storing Garlic in Various Methods

There are several methods you can choose from when it comes to storing garlic. Each method offers its own advantages and is suited to different preferences and needs. Here are some popular methods for storing garlic:

  1. Braiding: Braiding garlic is not only a functional storage method but also adds a rustic and decorative touch to your kitchen. To braid garlic, start by aligning several dried bulbs with long stems. Begin braiding the stems tightly together, working your way down, and securing the ends. Hang the garlic braid in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated space.
  2. Mesh Bags: Using mesh bags is a convenient option for storing garlic. Place the garlic bulbs in the bag, ensuring there is enough space for air circulation. Hang the bag in a cool, dry, and dark area. The mesh bag allows for good air circulation and protects the garlic from excessive moisture.
  3. Garlic Keeper: Garlic keepers, also known as garlic jars, are designed specifically for storing garlic. These containers are usually made of ceramic or clay, providing the right airflow and darkness for optimal garlic storage. Place the garlic bulbs in the garlic keeper and store it in a cool and dry spot.
  4. Freezing: Freezing is a useful method when you want to preserve minced or chopped garlic for a longer duration. Peel and chop the garlic cloves, then place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Store in the freezer and use as needed. While freezing alters the texture of garlic, it retains its flavor and can be easily incorporated into various dishes.
  5. Canning: Canning garlic involves preserving the garlic cloves in a vinegar or oil solution. This method not only extends the shelf life of garlic but also infuses it with unique flavors. Follow a trusted canning recipe and ensure that proper canning techniques are followed to prevent spoilage and foodborne illnesses.

Choose the storage method that best suits your needs, available space, and the quantity of garlic you have. Remember to label your stored garlic with the harvest date to keep track of its freshness. Additionally, always inspect your stored garlic periodically and remove any bulbs showing signs of spoilage to prevent spreading to the rest of the batch.

In the next section, we’ll explore the culinary uses of garlic scapes, a versatile and often overlooked part of the garlic plant.

After harvesting garlic, store it in a cool, dry place with good air circulation to prevent mold and sprouting. Hanging the garlic in a well-ventilated area or storing it in a mesh bag are good options.

Using Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the curly, green shoots that emerge from the tops of garlic plants. While they may seem unusual, these scapes offer a mild garlic flavor and a delightful crunch. Don’t let them go to waste! Here are some creative ways to use garlic scapes:

  1. Pesto: Garlic scape pesto is a delicious and versatile condiment that can be used as a spread, pasta sauce, or dressing. Simply blend garlic scapes, nuts (such as pine nuts or almonds), Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Adjust the ingredients to your taste, and enjoy the vibrant flavor of garlic scapes.
  2. Sauteed or Stir-Fried: Garlic scapes can be cooked quickly by sautéing or stir-frying them. Heat some olive oil or butter in a skillet, add the scapes, and cook for a few minutes until tender-crisp. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs or spices. Serve as a side dish or add them to stir-fries for an extra burst of garlicky goodness.
  3. Grilled or Roasted: Garlic scapes are fantastic when grilled or roasted, bringing out their natural sweetness and adding a charred flavor. Toss the scapes with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then grill them until slightly charred or roast them in the oven until tender. They make a tasty accompaniment to grilled meats, vegetables, or even as a standalone dish.
  4. Pickling: Pickling garlic scapes is a great way to preserve their flavor and enjoy them throughout the year. Trim the scapes to fit into jars, and pack them tightly. In a saucepan, bring a mixture of vinegar, water, sugar, and spices (such as dill or mustard seeds) to a boil. Pour the hot liquid over the scapes, seal the jars, and let them cool. Store the pickled garlic scapes in the refrigerator and enjoy them as a tangy condiment.
  5. Soup or Salad: Add a unique twist to your soups or salads by incorporating garlic scapes. Chop them into small pieces and gently cook them in soups for added flavor and texture. Alternatively, toss chopped scapes into fresh green salads for a vibrant and garlicky kick.

Experiment with different recipes and methods to discover your favorite ways to use garlic scapes. They are a versatile ingredient that can elevate the flavor of your dishes and add a touch of excitement to your culinary repertoire.

In the next section, we’ll discuss common mistakes to avoid when storing garlic to ensure its long-term quality and freshness.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Garlic Storage

Proper garlic storage is crucial for preserving its flavor and quality. However, there are some common mistakes that people often make when storing garlic. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure the longevity of your garlic harvest. Let’s explore these mistakes and how to avoid them:

  1. Storing Garlic in the Refrigerator: One of the most common mistakes is storing garlic in the refrigerator. The cold temperature and high humidity of the fridge can cause garlic to become soft, moldy, or sprout prematurely. It’s best to store garlic in a cool, dry place with good airflow, away from excess moisture.
  2. Not Curing Garlic Properly: Curing garlic is a crucial step that allows the bulbs to dry and develop their full flavor. Skipping the curing process or not giving garlic enough time to dry can lead to premature spoilage. Make sure to cure garlic in a warm, dry, and shaded area for 2-3 weeks before storing it.
  3. Storing Garlic with Other Produce: Garlic has a strong aroma that can easily transfer to other fruits and vegetables. Storing garlic with other produce can impart its flavor and affect the taste of the surrounding items. Keep garlic separate from other produce, especially those with delicate flavors.
  4. Using Airtight Containers: While airtight containers may seem like a good idea for garlic storage, they can actually trap moisture and promote the growth of mold. Garlic needs proper airflow to stay dry and fresh. Instead, choose containers or storage methods that allow for good air circulation.
  5. Not Inspecting Stored Garlic: It’s important to periodically check on your stored garlic and inspect each bulb for signs of spoilage. Remove any bulbs that show mold, soft spots, or sprouting to prevent them from spoiling the rest of the batch. Regular inspections ensure that you catch any issues early and maintain the quality of your stored garlic.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your garlic remains fresh, flavorful, and free from spoilage. Take the time to provide the optimal storage conditions and keep a close eye on your stored garlic to enjoy its deliciousness for an extended period.

In the next section, we’ll discuss how to check stored garlic for spoilage and ensure that you’re using only the freshest cloves.

Checking Stored Garlic for Spoilage

Regularly inspecting your stored garlic is crucial to ensure that it remains in good condition and free from spoilage. By checking for signs of spoilage, you can quickly identify any issues and prevent them from spreading to the rest of your garlic supply. Here are some steps to follow when checking stored garlic for spoilage:

  1. Look for Mold: Mold is one of the most common signs of spoilage in garlic. Examine each bulb individually and look for any visible signs of mold, such as fuzzy patches or discoloration. If you notice mold on any bulb, remove it immediately to prevent it from spreading to the surrounding garlic.
  2. Inspect for Soft Spots: Soft spots or areas of mushiness indicate that the garlic is deteriorating. Gently squeeze each bulb to check for any softness or give. If you notice soft spots, it’s a sign that the garlic has started to spoil. Remove the affected bulbs to prevent them from spoiling the others.
  3. Check for Sprouting: Garlic cloves can start sprouting if they are exposed to warmth or improper storage conditions. Look for green shoots emerging from the cloves, as this indicates that the garlic is no longer fresh. Remove any sprouted cloves, as they can have an unpleasant texture and flavor.
  4. Smell for Off Odors: Healthy garlic should have a strong and aromatic odor. If you detect any off or foul smells, it’s a sign that the garlic is spoiling. Trust your senses and remove any bulbs with unpleasant odors to maintain the overall quality of your stored garlic.
  5. Discard Damaged Bulbs: Finally, discard any garlic bulbs that are significantly damaged or have extensive bruising. These damaged bulbs are more prone to spoilage and can quickly spread their deterioration to the rest of the stored garlic.

Regularly checking stored garlic for signs of spoilage is crucial for maintaining its quality and ensuring that you use only the freshest cloves in your culinary creations. By removing any spoiled bulbs promptly, you can preserve the remaining garlic and avoid any unnecessary waste.

In the next section, we’ll provide some useful tips for long-term garlic storage, allowing you to enjoy the flavors of your harvest for months to come.

Tips for Long-Term Garlic Storage

If you’re looking to store garlic for an extended period, here are some helpful tips to ensure its long-term freshness and flavor:

  1. Choose the Right Garlic Variety: Certain garlic varieties are known for their excellent storage capabilities. Hardneck garlic varieties, such as Rocambole or Porcelain, tend to store well for longer periods compared to softneck varieties. Consider planting these varieties if long-term storage is your goal.
  2. Harvest at the Right Time: Harvest garlic at the proper stage of maturity when the lower leaves have turned yellow and about 1/3 to 1/2 of them have browned. Harvesting too early can result in undeveloped bulbs, while waiting too long can lead to splitting or clove separation.
  3. Thoroughly Cure the Garlic: Properly curing garlic is crucial for its long-term storage. Ensure that you cure the garlic in a well-ventilated area with good airflow, away from direct sunlight. Allow the garlic bulbs to fully dry and the outer skins to become papery before moving them to storage.
  4. Store in a Cool and Dark Place: Choose a cool, dry, and dark location for long-term garlic storage. A basement, cellar, or a cool pantry are ideal spots. Avoid storing garlic near heat sources or in areas where temperature fluctuations are common, as this can affect its quality.
  5. Choose the Right Storage Containers: Opt for containers that provide good airflow, such as mesh bags or wicker baskets. Proper airflow helps prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. Avoid airtight containers or plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and lead to spoilage.
  6. Periodically Check for Spoilage: Regularly inspect your stored garlic for any signs of mold, soft spots, sprouting, or off odors. Remove any spoiled bulbs immediately to prevent the spread of spoilage to the rest of the garlic. This will help extend the shelf life of your stored garlic.
  7. Save Your Best Bulbs for Seed: If you plan to grow garlic in the future, set aside a portion of your best bulbs for planting as seed garlic. Choose the largest and healthiest bulbs to ensure a good crop next season.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your garlic remains fresh and flavorful for an extended period. Long-term garlic storage allows you to enjoy the taste of your harvest throughout the year and adds a touch of homegrown goodness to your culinary creations.

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of proper garlic storage and the tips for long-term storage, you can confidently store your garlic harvest and enjoy its flavors whenever you need them.

To conclude, proper garlic storage is essential for preserving its quality, flavor, and nutritional value. By following the right harvesting techniques, preparing the garlic properly, and providing the optimal storage conditions, you can enjoy the deliciousness of garlic for months to come.


Storing garlic after harvest is a critical step in preserving its flavor, quality, and nutritional value. By following the proper techniques and providing the right storage conditions, you can maximize the longevity of your garlic supply and enjoy its deliciousness throughout the year.

Throughout this article, we discussed the benefits of proper garlic storage, the process of harvesting garlic, and the steps to prepare it for storage. We explored the best storage conditions for garlic, including the importance of temperature, humidity, darkness, and air circulation. Additionally, we discussed various methods of storing garlic, such as braiding, using mesh bags, or utilizing garlic keepers.

We also delved into the culinary uses of garlic scapes, providing creative ways to incorporate them into your cooking. Furthermore, we highlighted some common mistakes to avoid in garlic storage and offered tips for checking stored garlic for spoilage. Lastly, we provided essential tips for long-term garlic storage.

By implementing the knowledge gained from this article, you can ensure that your garlic remains fresh, flavorful, and of the highest quality. Whether you’re an avid gardener or simply enjoy cooking with garlic, proper storage techniques will help you make the most of your harvest and enhance your culinary experiences.

Remember to regularly inspect your stored garlic, remove any spoiled bulbs promptly, and make use of the freshest cloves in your recipes. With proper storage, you’ll be able to elevate your dishes with the robust flavors and unique aroma that garlic brings.

So, take the time to harvest, prepare, and store your garlic correctly. It’s a small investment that will yield big rewards in terms of taste, convenience, and the ability to savor the flavors of your homegrown garlic long after the harvest season has ended.

Now, armed with this knowledge, go forth and enjoy the bountiful flavors of your garlic harvest!

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Store Garlic After Harvest

What are the best methods for storing garlic after harvest?

The best methods for storing garlic after harvest include hanging the garlic in a well-ventilated area, storing it in a mesh bag or basket, or braiding the garlic bulbs together and hanging them. These methods help to promote airflow and prevent mold or rot.
Can I store garlic in the refrigerator after harvest?

It is not recommended to store garlic in the refrigerator after harvest, as the cold and moisture can cause the garlic to sprout or become moldy. It is best to store garlic in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area to maintain its freshness.
How long can I store garlic after harvest?

When stored properly, garlic can be kept for several months after harvest. The exact length of time will depend on the storage conditions and the variety of garlic, but with the right methods, you can enjoy your homegrown garlic for an extended period.
What should I do if my garlic starts to sprout after harvest?

If your garlic starts to sprout after harvest, you can still use it for cooking. Simply remove the green sprout before using the garlic, as it can have a bitter taste. Alternatively, you can plant the sprouted cloves to grow new garlic plants.
Are there any alternative methods for storing garlic after harvest?

In addition to hanging, braiding, or using mesh bags, you can also store garlic in a well-ventilated container such as a wooden crate or a paper bag. The key is to keep the garlic in a cool, dry, and airy environment to preserve its flavor and quality.

Was this page helpful?

At Storables.com, we guarantee accurate and reliable information. Our content, validated by Expert Board Contributors, is crafted following stringent Editorial Policies. We're committed to providing you with well-researched, expert-backed insights for all your informational needs.


0 thoughts on “How To Store Garlic After Harvest

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post