If there is one flavoring agent that every cook uses that would be garlic. Garlic is a bulbous plant that consists only one head with multiple cloves wrapped around in a paper-like skin. Garlic and onion are of the same family.
Garlic can also be eaten as a vegetable. It is a great salad dressing and works effectively as a marinade. Different types of sauces, meats, and stews often require garlic to enhance the flavor of the dish.
Every household stores garlic in some way or another. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to store your garlic properly without losing any of the benefits. Although you might not have thought that ‘storing garlic properly’ could be a thing, your perspective will change after you read this article.
How to Store Garlic?
You might have collected garlic from the grocery store or from your own garden if you live that kind of life. No matter what the source is, storing garlic is a simple process with a few complexities.
Garlic is very sensitive to moisture and light. This is a basic understanding every cook should have. So, let us debrief you about how you can store your garlic like a professional chef.
Whenever we need to store any food item, our first instinct is to shove it in the refrigerator. Refrigerators run on such a temperature that the harmful bacteria are unable to reproduce. This is essential to stop food from deteriorating.
If your refrigerator has a crisper drawer, you are in luck. In this specific drawer, there is almost no humidity. So, your garlic won’t suffer from mold issues. But there is another prominent issue with storing garlic in the refrigerator.
Vegetables like garlic tend to grow sprouts when stored in cold condition. This is one of the reasons why store-bought garlic often has sprouts coming out. So, in order to store garlic in the refrigerator, make sure that you will use them shortly.
You can peel or cut your garlic into small pieces and store them in a sealed container for a little longer storage advantages. But the food won’t taste as good because the garlic will lose the natural aroma and flavor.
Freezers are suitable for longer storage conditions. Though you have to perform a few extra steps and the garlic won’t taste as good the next time, freezing is a solid way of storing garlic for a long time.
First, you have to peel the garlic. Break them down to cloves and put them in a blender or a mixer. Use a little water and keep blending in pulses. Continue till the garlic paste is evenly mixed. Now, put them in ice trays or on a silicone sheet, keeping the layer thin.
Put the paste in an airtight container and store in the freezer. The water was used to make the freezing process smoother. Just defrost the garlic the next time you have to use it in one of your dishes.
This might come as a surprise but if you do everything right, you can store garlic even in room temperature. To do so, you need to be a little careful while buying or collecting the garlic in the first place.
Make sure you don’t buy any garlic that has become soft or has started sprouting. If you have the intention to store your garlic, buy undamaged whole ones. After all the precautions you took, if it is a hot summer or spring, the garlic will start sprouting immediately.
The most common and simplest way to store garlic in room temperature is to store them in a mesh bag or a bamboo basket. Proper flow of air is the primary concern. Garlic that has flexible tops are ideal for storage as they can be easily formed into a braid and hanged above the ground.
On the other hand, garlic that is also known as hard neck garlic is prone to shattering when trying to put them in a braid. Garlic is best stored in room temperature when the temperature ranges from 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Humidity is another large factor in storing fresh garlic. Garlic needs moderate humidity to maintain its original form. If your home becomes very dry due to artificial heating in the winter, storing garlic will become a challenge for you.
The Roasted Garlic
Sounds weird, right? But a lot of people really like this way of storing garlic. One reason being the indefinite lifetime in the freezer. You don’t have to peel the garlic or do any kind of processing at all. The flavor becomes a little subtle but you can use roasted garlic for everything you would do with regular fresh garlic.
To roast garlic with the intention of storing, all you need is a little bit of olive oil and a lot of whole garlic. Brush an adequate amount of olive all on a dish suitable for baking and put whole garlic bulbs on it. Bake in the oven until the garlic becomes soft and spongy.
Usually, the baking time is around 45 minutes. After you think the roasting is done, break the tips of the bulbs and squeeze the garlic gently. The ‘flesh’ should pop out in no time. Now, all you have to do is put the garlic in a sealed container and store it in the freezer.
Remember that you used olive oil? Here is the awesomeness of roasting. Due to the presence of oil, the garlic won’t be frozen in an icy manner. The high oil presence will capture the original flavor and the roasted garlic is always ready to be used on top a delicious pizza.
This is a little unconventional way of storing garlic. But if you don’t mind pickles, this is a great way of storing garlic. This process makes the strong garlic flavor mild and as a result, you can use pickled garlic directly into salads or with finger foods.
If you are familiar with the process of pickling any vegetable, the steps are identical. The most basic way of pickling garlic is to peel the cloves and throw them in a jar with a little bit of salt and vinegar. Just put the jar in the refrigerator and use it according to your need.
Another way of pickling garlic is in wine. You can use dry red wine or white wine as per your convenience. You can add 1 tablespoon of salt per one cup of liquid and other herbs such as oregano, pepper flakes, and bay leave to spice up the flavor a little.
Flavored Oil Garlic
If you are still reading this article, it means you really like garlic and garlic flavored food items. Why not garlic flavored oil? This variant of olive oil is very easy to make and is very useful when it comes to salad dressings or cooking.
The first step in making garlic flavored oil is to dry the garlic cloves properly. If you use raw and fresh garlic cloves, it will easily create an ideal environment for botulinum bacteria to reproduce and the oil will cause botulism to the consumer.
So, to make garlic flavored oil, you need to thoroughly dry the garlic slices and then put them in a jar. Now, cover the garlic cloves in olive oil and you are good to go.
Importance of Storing
We have already mentioned that garlic belongs to the same family as onion. They are both alliums, a specific species of vegetable. In order to retain the flavor and characteristics of garlic, it is necessary that you properly store them in a dry and dark place.
Light and humidity are the largest enemies of garlic. Mold growth accelerates in vegetables like garlic when they are stored in humid and bright places. In order to store garlic in your pantry, you need to ensure adequate air circulation and very little humidity.
Also, garlic is best stored as a whole. Peeled garlic requires a different type of treatment. You can say that the garlic head is some type of natural preservative. Consider it a gift of nature. Don’t break the head off unless it is absolutely necessary.
Yes, we have mentioned the refrigerator and the freezer countless times in this article. But keep in mind, freezing should be your last resort. Any type of cold treatment causes garlic to lose its flavor and takes away the characteristics that make them so great.
New Season Garlic VS Regular Garlic
The garlic you harvest in your own garden is usually known as new season garlic. This type of garlic needs a different approach when needed to be stored. The fact that this garlic is harvested in early summer, make it very mild in flavor.
An advantage new season garlic offers is that they can be refrigerated immediately after harvesting. These garlic cloves do not need to dry in order to be stored. Also, freezing this garlic is less prone to loss of flavor and is a great alternative to onion in cooking.
Garlic has been used for centuries for its proven health benefits and usage is medical fields. Freshly crushed garlic contains sulfur which is an important element for the human body. Also, garlic contains very low calories and is very nutritious as food.
Elements like manganese, vitamin B6, Vitamin C, selenium, fiber, calcium, copper, potassium are prominent in garlic. These are essential elements that our body needs to operate properly and be on its supreme condition.
Garlic is a known immunity booster. Sicknesses like common cold and flu can be easily prevented and cured with the help of garlic extracts. Garlic can reduce blood pressure to a significant extent and blood pressure is one of the main culprits behind diseases like heart attacks and strokes.
Garlic is proven to be effective in preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. We age because of the oxidative damage from free radicals and garlic helps to slow the process down. The antioxidants in garlic are proven to be effective in increasing immunity.
Garlic is a tested “performance enhancer”. In ancient cultures, garlic was used to boost the performance of laborers. It is said that in the early Olympics, garlic was an important energy booster. As garlic helps to keep the peak heart rate in check, the overall stamina increases.
In the industrial era that we are living in, metal toxicity is a known and very common incident. The high amount of sulfur helps tone down the effects of harmful metals like lead. A study has shown that contamination from the lead-acid battery was reduced by 19% with the help of garlic.
Garlic has been used to treat diseases like enlarged prostate, late pregnancy, yeast infections, tick bites, mosquito bites, and travelers’ diarrhea, etc. Regular health issues like fever, cough, flu, headache, stomach ache, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and chronic fatigue are regularly cured using garlic.
If you have made this far, it means you have a genuine interest in garlic. I don’t know anyone who says that they don’t like garlic. Garlic is widely used all around the world in food cultures and medical fields.
So, let us go through the key points in storing the precious garlic that you bought from your nearest store or harvested in your garden. Your best bet is to try and store the garlic in room temperature. Room temperature is crucial if you want to enjoy the real taste and the flavor of garlic.
Your first task is to wash the garlic properly. Don’t break the head of the bulb immediately. The head helps to store the garlic for longer. Use mesh bags, paper bags or lightly woven basket to store your garlic in the pantry or hang them from the ceiling.
If you absolutely have to put garlic in your refrigerator or the freezer, make sure that the garlic does not sprout. Bring garlic to room temperature regularly if you have refrigerated them. If you are freezing them, make sure to peel the skin and blend it properly.
There you have it. All you need to know about how to store garlic. The next time you buy garlic in large quantities, just remember the lessons of this article and you will be able to store the garlic like a pro.