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How To Store Whole Garlic How To Store Whole Garlic


How To Store Whole Garlic

Written by: Amelia Brooks

Learn the best ways to store whole garlic to keep it fresh and flavorful. Check out our helpful articles for tips and tricks on garlic storage.

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Garlic is a versatile and flavorful ingredient used in various cuisines around the world. Whether you enjoy it roasted, minced, or sautéed, the unique taste and aroma of garlic can elevate any dish. However, buying garlic in bulk or from your local farmer’s market often leaves you with more than you can use in a single recipe. That’s where proper garlic storage comes in.

Storing whole garlic properly not only helps extend its shelf life but also preserves its flavor and texture. In this article, we will explore the benefits of storing whole garlic and guide you through the process of choosing the right garlic for storage and preparing it for long-term preservation. We will also discuss the various methods of storing whole garlic, including at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and in the freezer.

By following these tips and recommendations, you can ensure that you always have fresh and flavorful garlic on hand whenever you need it, without wasting any of this wonderful ingredient.

Key Takeaways:

  • Properly storing whole garlic prolongs its shelf life, preserves its flavor, and ensures convenience and accessibility, allowing you to enjoy fresh and flavorful garlic for an extended period.
  • Choosing the right garlic, preparing it for storage, and utilizing various storage methods such as room temperature, refrigeration, and freezing are essential for maximizing the longevity and quality of whole garlic.

Benefits of Storing Whole Garlic

Storing whole garlic offers several benefits that go beyond simply preventing wastage. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Prolongs shelf life: Proper storage can significantly extend the shelf life of whole garlic. While garlic bulbs may start to sprout or become moldy after a few weeks, stored garlic can last for several months, ensuring you have a fresh supply for your culinary needs.
  2. Preserves flavor and freshness: By storing whole garlic correctly, you can preserve its natural flavor and freshness. This means that when you’re ready to use it in your recipes, the garlic will still have its characteristic pungency and aroma, enhancing the taste of your dishes.
  3. Convenience and accessibility: Storing whole garlic allows you to have it readily available whenever you need it. Whether you’re looking to add a garlic kick to a pasta sauce or infuse your roasted vegetables with its savory goodness, having stored garlic on hand means you won’t have to constantly run to the store or compromise on flavor.
  4. Cost-effective: Buying garlic in bulk or when it’s in season can often be more cost-effective. By properly storing whole garlic, you can take advantage of bulk purchases or harvests, saving money in the long run.
  5. Health benefits: Garlic is well-known for its numerous health benefits, including its potential immune-boosting properties and cardiovascular support. By storing whole garlic and ensuring its freshness, you can maximize its potential health benefits when incorporating it into your diet.

These benefits highlight the importance of proper storage for whole garlic. By adopting the right techniques and methods, you can make the most of this versatile ingredient and enjoy its flavor, aroma, and health benefits for an extended period.

Choosing the Right Garlic for Storage

When it comes to storing whole garlic, selecting the right garlic bulbs is crucial. Here are some tips to help you choose the best garlic for storage:

  • Choose fresh and firm bulbs: Look for garlic bulbs that feel firm and have tight, intact skin. Avoid bulbs that feel soft or have any signs of mold or blemishes.
  • Prefer large-sized garlic bulbs: Larger bulbs tend to have more cloves, which can be beneficial when it comes to storage. The individual cloves should be plump and well-formed.
  • Purchase from reputable sources: To ensure the quality of the garlic you plan to store, buy from reputable sources such as local farmers’ markets or trusted grocery stores.
  • Consider the variety: Different varieties of garlic have distinct flavors and storage characteristics. Softneck garlic varieties, known for their long shelf life, are great for long-term storage. Hardneck garlic varieties, on the other hand, have a shorter shelf life but offer unique flavors and are ideal for immediate use.
  • Check for organic options: If possible, opt for organic garlic to avoid exposure to pesticides and other chemicals commonly used in conventional farming practices.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you start with high-quality garlic bulbs that are well-suited for storage. Remember, the freshness and condition of the garlic you choose will play a significant role in determining its shelf life and overall flavor.

Preparing Garlic for Storage

Properly preparing garlic for storage is essential to ensure its longevity and maintain its flavor. Follow these steps to prepare garlic bulbs for storage:

  1. Cure the garlic: After harvesting or purchasing fresh garlic, it’s essential to cure it before storing. Curing allows the garlic bulbs to dry out and develop a protective skin. To cure the garlic, hang it in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight, for about two to three weeks.
  2. Trim the roots and stalks: Once the garlic is properly cured, trim the roots and stalks. Use a sharp pair of scissors or shears to cut off the roots at the base of the bulb and trim the stalks to about an inch above the bulb.
  3. Leave the outer skin intact: It’s important to keep the outer skin of the garlic bulbs intact for storage. The skin acts as a protective layer, preventing moisture loss and exposure to air.
  4. Inspect for any damage or mold: Before storing the garlic, carefully inspect each bulb for any signs of damage or mold. Discard any garlic bulbs that appear bruised, soft, or moldy.
  5. Separate the bulbs: If you have multiple garlic bulbs, it’s best to separate them for storage. This helps prevent the spread of mold or spoilage if one bulb goes bad. Simply twist or cut the bulbs apart gently.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your garlic bulbs are prepared for long-term storage. This preparation process helps maintain the quality and flavor of the garlic and contributes to its extended shelf life.

Storing Whole Garlic at Room Temperature

Storing whole garlic at room temperature is one of the most common methods. Here’s how you can store garlic bulbs at room temperature:

  1. Select a cool and dry location: Choose a cool and dry spot in your kitchen or pantry to store the garlic. Avoid areas that are exposed to direct sunlight or high humidity, as these conditions can cause the garlic to spoil.
  2. Use a mesh or woven bag: Place the garlic bulbs in a mesh or woven bag to allow for proper airflow. These types of bags help prevent moisture buildup and allow any excess moisture to escape, reducing the risk of mold or rot.
  3. Avoid plastic bags or airtight containers: It’s important to avoid storing garlic bulbs in plastic bags or airtight containers as they can create a humid environment, leading to spoilage.
  4. Keep the garlic bulbs dry: Ensure that the garlic bulbs remain dry throughout the storage period. Moisture can accelerate spoilage, so it’s essential to inspect the bulbs regularly and remove any excess moisture or condensation that may accumulate.
  5. Rotate the garlic: Regularly inspect the stored garlic and use the bulbs that show signs of aging or softening. This way, you can prevent spoilage and make sure you always have fresh garlic available.

Storing whole garlic at room temperature can generally keep it fresh for several weeks to a couple of months. However, keep in mind that environmental conditions can vary, so it’s important to monitor the garlic and discard any bulbs that show signs of mold, sprouting, or deterioration.

Remember that while storing at room temperature is convenient, it may not provide the same level of long-term preservation as other methods like refrigeration or freezing. Consider these alternatives if you need to store garlic for an extended period.

Store whole garlic in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place, such as a pantry or a garlic keeper. Avoid storing in the refrigerator, as it can cause the garlic to sprout.

Storing Whole Garlic in the Refrigerator

If you want to store whole garlic for a longer period, the refrigerator can be an ideal option. Here is how you can store garlic bulbs in the refrigerator:

  1. Select a cool and dry storage spot: Choose a section in your refrigerator that maintains a temperature of around 40°F (4°C). Avoid storing garlic near foods with strong odors, as garlic easily absorbs odors.
  2. Keep the garlic bulbs dry: Ensure that the garlic bulbs are dry before storing them in the refrigerator. Excess moisture can lead to mold or sprouting.
  3. Use a breathable container: Place the garlic bulbs in a breathable container such as a mesh bag, paper bag, or a container with holes. This allows for air circulation and prevents moisture buildup.
  4. Label and date the container: It’s helpful to label and date the container to keep track of the storage time. Garlic stored in the refrigerator can typically be kept for several months.
  5. Inspect the garlic regularly: Check on the stored garlic periodically and remove any bulbs that show signs of deterioration or mold. This prevents spoilage from spreading to other bulbs.

Storing whole garlic in the refrigerator can help extend its shelf life compared to storing it at room temperature. However, keep in mind that refrigeration can sometimes cause garlic to sprout or become soft due to the cooler temperature. Use the garlic bulb that shows signs of aging first to ensure you enjoy the freshest flavor.

Remember that refrigeration is not the best option for long-term storage. If you have an abundant supply of garlic, you may want to consider freezing the bulbs for extended preservation.

Storing Whole Garlic in the Freezer

Freezing whole garlic is an excellent method for long-term storage, allowing you to preserve its freshness and flavor for several months. Here’s how you can store whole garlic in the freezer:

  1. Peel and separate the cloves: Start by peeling the garlic cloves and separating them from the bulb. You can do this by gently applying pressure with the palm of your hand or using a garlic peeler to remove the skin.
  2. Wrap the cloves: Individually wrap each garlic clove in plastic wrap or place them in a freezer-safe container or bag. Wrapping them individually prevents the cloves from sticking together and makes it easier to grab the desired amount when needed.
  3. Label and date the package: Make sure to label and date the package to keep track of the storage time. Frozen garlic cloves can typically be stored for up to six months.
  4. Place in the freezer: Put the wrapped garlic cloves in the freezer. It’s best to lay them flat on a tray or baking sheet initially to prevent them from sticking together. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to a more compact storage container or bag if desired.
  5. Thaw before use: When you need garlic for a recipe, simply remove the desired number of frozen cloves and allow them to thaw at room temperature for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can use a grater or microplane to grate the frozen garlic directly into your dish.

Freezing whole garlic cloves is an effective way to preserve them for an extended period. However, keep in mind that freezing can slightly change the texture of the garlic, making it less crisp. It is best to use frozen garlic in cooked dishes rather than raw applications for optimal flavor.

By following these steps, you can enjoy the convenience of having garlic readily available whenever you need it, without worrying about it spoiling or going to waste.

Tips for Properly Storing Whole Garlic

To ensure that your whole garlic stays fresh and flavorful, here are some important tips to keep in mind when storing it:

  1. Avoid storing garlic in the refrigerator door: The temperature in the refrigerator door tends to fluctuate more than the main compartment. It is best to store garlic in a cool and consistent area of the refrigerator to maintain its quality.
  2. Do not store garlic near moisture sources: Moisture can cause mold or sprouting, so keep garlic away from areas of high humidity like sinks, dishwashers, or vents.
  3. Avoid direct sunlight: Exposure to sunlight can lead to the deterioration of garlic bulbs. Store garlic in a dark place to preserve its flavor and quality.
  4. Use airtight containers for frozen garlic: If you’re freezing garlic cloves, ensure that the packaging is airtight to prevent freezer burn and flavor loss.
  5. Keep an eye out for signs of spoilage: Regularly inspect your stored garlic for any signs of mold, sprouting, softening, or unusual discoloration. Remove any spoiled bulbs to prevent the spread of spoilage.
  6. Store different varieties separately: If you have multiple varieties of garlic, consider storing them separately. This preserves their unique flavors and prevents cross-contamination.
  7. Consider storing peeled garlic in oil: If you frequently use peeled garlic cloves, you can store them submerged in olive oil in the refrigerator. This method helps preserve their freshness and prevents them from drying out.
  8. Use proper sanitation: Always ensure that your hands and storage containers are clean and dry before handling or storing garlic. This helps prevent the introduction of bacteria or moisture that can lead to spoilage.

By following these tips, you can maximize the shelf life of your whole garlic and ensure that it remains fresh, flavorful, and ready to use whenever you need it in your favorite recipes.


Properly storing whole garlic is essential to maximize its shelf life, preserve its flavor, and ensure that you always have fresh garlic on hand for your culinary creations. Whether you choose to store garlic at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer, following the recommended methods and tips will help you maintain the quality of this versatile ingredient.

Storing whole garlic offers numerous benefits, including prolonging its shelf life, preserving its flavor and freshness, ensuring convenience and accessibility, and being cost-effective. Moreover, garlic has various health benefits, making it even more valuable to store appropriately.

When selecting garlic for storage, opt for fresh and firm bulbs, preferably of larger size, and from reputable sources. Also, consider the variety of garlic that suits your preferences and storage needs.

Before storing garlic, cure it to allow for proper drying and develop the protective skin. Trim the roots and stalks, but leave the outer skin intact to prevent moisture loss and exposure to air.

Storing whole garlic at room temperature is a convenient option for short-term storage. Choose a cool and dry location, use a breathable bag, and rotate the garlic regularly to ensure freshness.

If you wish to store garlic for a longer period, the refrigerator is an optimal choice. Keep the garlic dry, use a breathable container, and regularly inspect it for any signs of spoilage.

For extended preservation, freezing whole garlic cloves is highly effective. Peel and separate the cloves, wrap them individually, label the package, and store them in the freezer. Thaw the cloves before use or grate them directly into dishes.

Lastly, following essential tips such as avoiding direct sunlight, moisture sources, and storing different varieties separately, will further enhance the storage process and maintain the quality of your stored garlic.

By incorporating these guidelines into your garlic storage routine, you can enjoy the incredible flavor, aroma, and health benefits of fresh garlic anytime you need it, while minimizing waste and maximizing its longevity.

So go ahead, stock up on garlic, store it properly, and elevate your culinary creations with the rich and distinctive flavor that only fresh garlic can provide!

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Store Whole Garlic

What are the best ways to store whole garlic?

The best ways to store whole garlic include keeping it in a cool, dark place with good air circulation, such as a pantry or a garlic keeper. You can also store it in a mesh bag or a paper bag to allow for air flow.
Can I store whole garlic in the refrigerator?

While it’s not recommended to store whole garlic in the refrigerator, if you live in a hot and humid climate, you can store it in the fridge to prevent sprouting and mold. Just make sure to use it within 10-14 days to prevent it from going bad.
How long can I store whole garlic?

When stored properly, whole garlic can last for several months. However, once you break the head and start using the individual cloves, they will last for about 7-10 days at room temperature and 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Should I store whole garlic in oil?

Storing whole garlic in oil can lead to the growth of bacteria that causes botulism, a serious illness. It’s best to avoid storing whole garlic in oil, especially at room temperature. If you want to infuse garlic flavor into oil, it’s safer to do so in small batches and store it in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Can I freeze whole garlic?

Yes, you can freeze whole garlic. Simply peel the cloves, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag, and store them in the freezer. Frozen garlic can last for up to 10-12 months, but keep in mind that the texture may change once thawed, making it best for use in cooked dishes.

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