Whole heads of garlic should be kept at room temperature in well-ventilated containers, such as mesh bags, wire baskets, or garlic keepers, ceramic containers with lids and small holes around the sides, says Linda J. Harris, Ph.D., chair of the department of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis. With this storing technique, garlic has a shelf life of up to one month.
To make your garlic last up to a year, Harris suggests keeping individual cloves—whole or chopped, peeled or unpeeled—in the freezer. Wrap them up or puree them in oil for an infused dressing or spread. (Use a two-to-one oil-to-garlic ratio.)
Avoid buying pre-peeled, refrigerated garlic cloves sold in plastic containers. The cold, closed conditions mimic the outdoors, Harris says, which stimulates sprouting.
The bottom line:
Garlic loses its flavor as soon as it has shriveled skin or green sprouts in the center. Replenish your stash when you notice those signs.
Photo: Jarren Vink / Art Partner Licensing