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Four Simple Steps for Properly Storing Garlic

Nothing makes a kitchen or pantry smell better than the strong scent of fresh garlic; that is, as long as it’s stored properly. The rotting stench of improperly stored garlic can be enough to bring a grown man to his knees and should be avoided at all costs. Storing your garlic the right way is simple, easy, and can make your garlic last for months. Follow these four simple steps and never deal with gross, rotting garlic again!

Step one: Determine the type of garlic you have.

“New Season” garlic is different than typical dried garlic, and must be stored differently.

Step two: Store appropriately.

Also referred to as “Young Wet” garlic, “New Season” garlic is garlic that is harvested immaturely and does not need to be dried. It can be refrigerated for up to a week and must be used in that time frame. Regular garlic, harvested on time and dried properly, should not be refrigerated. Instead, it should be kept in a dry and dark place with lots of circulating air, and should be kept at around 60 degrees fahrenheit. Wire mesh bags, paper bags, egg cartons, or clay pots in a cabinet or pantry are great places to store garlic and will serve to prolong its lifespan. Properly stored, unbroken garlic will last around eight weeks before needing to be discarded. If you’ve minced your garlic, you can store it in the refrigerator as long as it’s in an airtight container and is used quickly.

Step three: Know what to avoid.

Garlic stored uncovered in either a refrigerators or in plastic bags is a huge mistake as this will cause molding. Storing garlic in places with sunlight is also a bad idea because it can cause sprouting. Avoid freezing garlic altogether as it diminished the texture, taste, and health benefits of the garlic, thus defeating the purpose of having garlic in the first place.

Step four: Know when to toss it.

Though bulbs will last about eight weeks when stored properly, cloves broken from them will only last somewhere between three and ten days. Be sure to keep an eye on them after you break them off. Also, if your bulbs soften or sprout, you’ll know it’s time to throw them away.

Garlic can be your best friend in the kitchen and, if treated with respect, will last for quite a while. It’s easy to make mistakes when storing garlic, and this can cost you in both the short and long run. Follow these four simple steps and you’re guaranteed to have fresh and delicious garlic ready and waiting year ‘round!

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