Garlic is an ingredient that provides great flavor to dishes and can be found in most kitchens across the globe.
There are at least 11 types of garlic that vary in flavor, color, and size (1).
The most common forms include hardneck, creole, black, and softneck, which is the garlic you see at most grocery stores (1).
When choosing garlic bulbs, it’s best to look for those that are fragrant and filled with firm cloves.
Bulbs that have dry skin, sprouting, or dark and rotted areas should be avoided.
Once you’ve made your selection, you may wonder about the best way to store it, as this can make a big difference in your cooking.
This article reviews the best ways to store garlic.
How to store fresh garlic
If stored correctly, garlic can keep well for months.
There are a few ways to store garlic properly without losing flavor or decreasing its lifespan.
At room temperature
Keeping the entire garlic bulb whole is the best way to store fresh garlic.
Once the bulb is broken, the garlic’s life span decreases. Typically, a broken garlic head lasts around 10 days.
The easiest way to store fresh garlic at home is at room temperature in mesh bags.
Fresh garlic is best stored in dry, dark places. The ideal temperature to store garlic is about 60–65°F (15–18°C) in mild humidity.
In the refrigerator
Garlic can also be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
However, cold garlic will start sprouting a few days after it is taken out of the refrigerator (
Though sprouted garlic is edible, it’s not ideal and offers a more bitter taste.
Therefore, if you decide to store garlic this way, be sure to keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
Leftover peeled or chopped garlic can also be stored in the refrigerator.
The best way to store leftover garlic is to put it in an airtight, covered container in the refrigerator, where it can last up to 2 weeks.
In the freezer
Another option for storing garlic is to freeze it.
However, some people feel that frozen garlic isn’t as tasty as fresh garlic.
The easiest way to store garlic in the freezer is to peel the cloves, mince the garlic, add a little bit of water or broth, and freeze it in ice cube trays.
The garlic ice cubes should be stored in an airtight container in the freezer and last up to 1 month without losing flavor.
When stored properly, garlic can keep well for months. It can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator or freezer.
Other ways to store garlic
Storing fresh garlic properly is vital to maintaining its flavor and maximizing its lifespan.
However, there are other ways to store garlic besides using a refrigerator or freezer.
Roasting garlic in the oven is not only a tasty way to enjoy garlic but also a way to store it in the freezer indefinitely.
Roasted garlic can be used similarly to how you would use fresh garlic.
To roast garlic, simply grease a baking dish with olive oil and place the bulbs in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 45 minutes.
Once cooked, cut the tips of the bulbs and cloves and squeeze the soft garlic out into an airtight freezer container.
Refrigerate the roasted garlic for up to 1 week or freeze it indefinitely.
Roasting the garlic in oil prevents the garlic from fully freezing, making it very easy to use as needed.
Another way to store garlic is to pickle it.
To pickle garlic and store it in the refrigerator, simply follow the same process you would to pickle any vegetable. It involves a jar, salt, vinegar, and the vegetable you want to pickle.
Though pickling garlic involves a little more work, it can increase its life span up to several months.
Note that pickling tones down the flavor of the garlic. However, it is a delicious ingredient to a number of dishes, including salads, stir-fries, and hummus.
Another easy way to store garlic is to dehydrate it.
To dehydrate garlic, simple peel the cloves and cut the garlic into thin slices.
A food dehydrator works best. That said, if you do not have one, simply place the garlic slices onto a baking sheet and into the oven at 115°F (45°C) for about 30 minutes.
Once the garlic is crisp, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for several months.
The dehydrated garlic slices can also be added to oil to make a garlic-flavored oil, which can be used to dress salads and numerous other dishes.
If you make a garlic-flavored oil, be sure to store it in the fridge, where it can last up to 3 weeks.
Note that you should never put fresh, uncooked garlic in oil. This creates an environment for a type of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism, a rare but serious illness that attacks the body’s nerves (
Garlic can be stored in other ways besides the fridge and freezer, including roasting, pickling, or dehydrating it.
The bottom line
Garlic is a delicious and common ingredient that adds flavor and depth to many dishes.
While there are many types of garlic, most can be used for general cooking purposes.
Garlic can be stored in a variety of ways, such as at room temperature or in the refrigerator or freezer. For variety, you can also roast, pickle, or dehydrate it.
Still, the simplest and best way to store fresh garlic is in a cool, dry place in your kitchen.