Garlic is a herb in the form of a bulb that is closely related to the onion. It is an important ingredient in any Indian kitchen and used in a variety of ways while cooking. There are around 10-20 cloves in every blub, cut into small pieces and added to a variety of items in the kitchen. The usage of garlic in the kitchen is associated with various health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, reduce blood pressure, combat sickness, including cold, prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, etc. You can source fresh garlic bulbs from your local grocery or grow them in your backyard. Whether you get it from the market or grow it directly, you need to store it and keep it fresh for a long time. Scroll down to read the best ways to store garlic.
Best ways to store garlic for a long time
Garlic can be stored for a few weeks to months if kept in the right condition and temperature. Here are few things you should consider before you store your garlic bulbs.
1. Keep the whole bulb
The common mistake that people make is to break the entire head (bulb) in different cloves. Avoid it. Your garlic can stay fresh for a long time; you keep it with the head under the right conditions.
The life span of the garlic bulb starts decreasing once you remove the individual cloves out of a bulb. Hence, to keep it stored for a long make sure you first finish a single bulb and then move to the next.
2. Store at room temperature
The common reasons for garlic to get rotten are Light and Moisture. Yes, the best way to store your garlic bulbs is to keep in a room temperature, where there is no excess of light but has plenty of air circulation.
3. Avoid cold environment
If you store garlic in a cold environment, i.e., refrigerator, it will start to sprout in a few days. Though the sprouted garlic is still edible, it may taste bitter when added to the items.
4. Avoid soft bulbs
When you purchase or harvest garlic, make sure that it is firm with paper dry skin and have no sprouting. If you sense that garlic has soft bulbs, it indicates over-ripe garlic, which will not last long. Also, if the garlic is stored in a refrigerator at a grocery store, avoid purchasing it.
5. Dry your homegrown garlic
If you have harvested your own garlic bulb, wash it properly and let it dry. Dry it in a dark, moisture-free place for a week. Hang the stalks of your garlic to dry.
6. Store ‘New Season’ garlic immediately
What is ‘new season’ garlic? It is ‘young wet’ garlic, which is harvest in summer and has a mild flavor. Hence it should be immediately stored in the refrigerator. It doesn’t have to be stored and can be kept in the refrigerator for a week. Since it has a mild flavor, it can be replaced by onions and leeks in cooking.
Best ways to store garlic: FREEZE IT
In case you have leftover cloves that you don’t want to throw or go to waste, the best option is to freeze them. Many people believe that freezing cloves is not the best alternative as it can change the texture and flavor. Here are some best ways to store garlic:
- Take the unpeeled garlic cloves, wrap them in a plastic or aluminum foil or freezer bag and keep them in the freezer. Later pick an individual clove and peel it accordingly.
- Otherwise, peel the leftover garlic cloves, chop or smash them, place them in a freezer bag or wrap them in a plastic freezer wrap. If the garlic gets frozen, grate off as much as you can.
- You can pickle the peeled garlic cloves in wine or vinegar and keep them in the refrigerator for months. You can use dry red or white wine or white or white wine vinegar. The ideal way to do this is that fill a glass jar with peeled garlic cloves and pour the prescribed wine or vinegar to fill the available space. Shake it well, seal it tightly and keep it in the refrigerator.
- To enhance the taste of the peeled garlic stove in wine or vinegar, add some salt and other spices such as red pepper, oregano. Shake the jar well to mix all the ingredients.
Best ways to store garlic: DRY IT
Another easy and one of the best ways to store garlic is to dry it out. There are two benefits if you dry the garlic cloves: One, it will get condensed, it will take a little space in your pantry. Second, it will absorb water and give a great taste to your food. Here is how you should dry garlic :
- Cut the garlic cloves in half and place them on a tray of your dehydrator. The garlic will become crisp and brittle.
- If you do not have a food dehydrator, use the oven instead. Place the half cut garlic cloves on a baking dish and bake at 140 °F (60 °C) for two hours. Then turn the heat down to 130 and continue to bake until the garlic is fully dried.
Last, blend the dried garlic in a food processor and turn it into a fine powder. Add in four parts of sea salt for every one part of garlic and process for a minute or two to mix.
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