Different Ways You Can Make Your Garlic Last Longer
Garlic is an essential ingredient in any kitchen. Fresh garlic may not be available in certain parts of the world so, Storing garlic needs to be accomplished in a certain way so its shelf life is increased. So, whether you’re a cooking enthusiast and want to store your store-bought garlic bulbs, or just want to store your home-grown garlic for a long time, this storing garlic guide might interest you.
Selecting Garlic for Storage:
For long storage, you need to first select them carefully as a single soft garlic bud can ruin your entire batch. First, gather your garlic batch and let them cure in the sun for a few hours. This step is essential for drying them and also prepares them for long term storage. In the next step, you will need to examine the bulbs and separate out any bulbs that are soft or damaged or have sprouted. Use these garlic bulbs right away as they are not good candidates for storing. Select clean and hard bulbs that aren’t damaged.
Store in Mesh Bags
These selected bulbs will need to be cured for 2 more weeks at 65 degrees. Temperatures higher than 65 degrees will likely cause sprouting or trigger mold. After the two weeks pass, these garlic bulbs can be stored in mesh bags or can be braided if they have soft necks. Note that air circulation is crucial here and the mesh bags will let the garlic breathe without overexposure to air. The mesh bags also store a lot of garlic in a small space.
At Room Temperature
If garlic is stored between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit with moderate humidity, it can be kept for a long time. In the summer, it is easy to store it but during the winter months, homes get really dry due to heating and thus garlic cloves also turn hard inside. In the winter months, you can store garlic under an upside-down plant pot. This unglazed pot will create a humidor and will not cut the air supply which can cause rotting.
Preserve in Honey
Not only is the garlic preserved in honey great for colds, but it is excellent for storing garlic for long periods of time. Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into slices and place them in your honey jar. Make sure that the cloves are fully submerged in honey or they will trigger molds. Honey has great antimicrobial properties and if it is properly stored bacteria will never grow in it. You can use the garlic cloves when needed or use this garlic-infused honey in your tea whenever you have a cold. The honey will have the immune-boosting properties when it is infused with garlic.
In the Fridge
Store your garlic bulbs in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. This solves the humidity problem. This stored garlic should be used quickly as it will sprout in days if you keep it out of the fridge. If your garlic does sprout, plant it in a pot and you can get homegrown garlic in the next season. The fridge storage method is not ideal for very long periods and will last only a few weeks. The store-bought version is acidified so that is why it lasts for so long. This acidification cannot be done at home sadly.
In the Freezer
Frozen garlic is another good option but some people complain that it does not taste as good as the fresh one. However, if you don’t mind a little change in taste you can peel the buds and throw them in a food processor with a little water. Freeze this puree in ice cubes or in the form of sheets that are easy to use. These cubes or sheets should be stored in airtight jars.
Dehydrate the Garlic Buds:
You can easily dehydrate garlic at home. You will need to slice the garlic cloves after peeling them. Once you’ve peeled them with the help of a batch loader of your food processor, you can dehydrate them using a food dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator use a pan with a lid and warm it up to 115 degrees and crisp your garlic slices. Store these crisped slices in an airtight mason jar at room temperature. They can be stored for a few months as long as they are sealed properly.
It is a very easy and rapid way to store garlic. You can easily roast a large batch of garlic without having to peel all the cloves. Simply grease a baking tray with a little olive oil and spread your bulbs onto it. Bake them at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until the bulbs are soft. After baking, snip the tips of the bulbs and squeeze out the soft flesh and transfer into an airtight jar. It can be stored up to a week in the fridge and for months in the freezer.
Roasted garlic has a mellow flavor but can be used for any recipe that uses fresh garlic. Freshly roasted garlic can be used to top a pizza or spread on buttered bread.
Another efficient way is to make garlic powder after thoroughly drying the garlic slices, crush them into a powdered form.
In Flavored Oil
Another method that you can opt for, is to store the dried slices in any oil of your choice. This oil can be stored at room temperature and the oil and cloves can be used in salad dressings. If you use fresh garlic slices in oil, you’re creating the best environment for botulism. So, use dried garlic or use fresh garlic oil within a week and store it in the fridge in an airtight jar.
Pickled in Vinegar
Pickled garlic has a very long shelf life as well. Similar to dried garlic, pickled garlic has a mellow flavor. You can make refrigerator pickles as well, by simply throwing in some peeled cloves in a jar with some salt and vinegar to submerge the cloves. These last for a long time too.