What You Need to Know When Storing Garlic

Storing garlic has become one of the most searched topics in the internet. "Allium Sativum" or simply garlic is known for its flavor and pungency. It is one of the most commonly used kitchen spices that give every dish a unique savory taste. But aside from its culinary value, garlic has still many uses from around the world. It is used as anthelmintic, stimulant, expectorant, antiseptic, diaphoretic, and diuretic. Furthermore, latest studies also associate garlic to many health benefits and continuing experiments are being conducted by experts to further learn the secret of garlic and explore the possibility of finding cure to the most dreaded diseases. Because of such notable importance of garlic, it starts to draw the attention of the public and everyone seems interested to know everything about it from planting to harvesting to storing.

Storing Garlic

storing garlic and maintaining its qualityYou planted your garlic last fall. You’ve done every single thing to ensure that the plant grows well. You mulched and watched the crop grow. Harvest season came and thank God! – Your garlic grew the way you expected. Now what? If you’re looking to sell homegrown garlic or you just wanted to have a tock for the entire year, knowing how to effectively and properly store garlic is essential. The taste and aroma of this popular spice will go away if not stored properly. Spoilage and damage are also likely to happen. So how do you go about storing garlic and maintaining its quality?

Choosing the Right Variety of Garlic for Storage

You can’t just start storing garlic without knowing first which variety fits your purpose. Garlic has two main types – the softnecks which includes artichoke and silverskin, and the hardnecks on the other hand includes porcelain, purple stripe, and rocambole. Softnecks are distinguished by its abundant cloves forming multiple layers and has papery white skin, while hardnecks usually have fewer cloves and less to almost no outer bulb skin.

Depending on your purpose of why you’re storing garlic, each variety has its pros and cons. Artichoke and silverskin has longer shelf life compared to those of the hardnecks. Most farmers prefer the softnecks because it is easier to grow and most supermarkets prefer them. Porcelain, purple stripe, and rocambole on the other hand are best grown during cold seasons and produce a less-flavored cloves compared to the strong taste of the softnecks.

Harvesting

Another important aspect of storing garlic is determining the perfect time to harvest it. Harvesting them too soon will give you small and underdeveloped bulbs. On the other hand harvesting them off season when all the leaves have died out will produce less pungent broken garlic bulbs. When harvesting garlic, you need to make sure that you don’t expose the clove. Its okay to remove the first layers of skin but each garlic clove should remain covered. You must also take proper caution when cutting the bulbs from the soil. Be careful not to produce any cut or damage on your garlic. You also have to separate bad yields from the good ones. You might encounter garlic bulbs that may have little damage or rotten areas. They may still be used; you just have to remove the affected area. Nonetheless, they shouldn’t be stored. Or else, the damage may spread to the healthy bulbs.

What You Need for Storing Garlic

After doing the preparatory steps, you can proceed to storing your garlic. You will only need several tools and equipment. Here they are:

Twine (for tying)

Food dryer

Storing boxes

Once you have harvested the garlic, it’s time to remove the outermost covering as it usually contains dirt. After the garlic bulbs have been cleaned, you can start braiding them. How do you it? It’s easy. First, take three garlic bulbs. Add the fourth one by intertwining it with the first strand. Do the same procedure over again until the very last bulb. You can have several batches so each strand will not be very long. Some people would usually tie 12-15 inches of garlic in a single braid. You can hang the garlic braids inside your kitchen or in your garden but make sure not to overexpose them in direct sunlight or the garlic might lose its natural moisture. For the garlic cloves that have been accidentally peeled off, you may not include them for storage. Nevertheless, you can remove the entire skin and keep the cloves in the fridge. But you have to place them in a sealed plastic bag first. It can retain its flavor for up to 8 weeks. While it is true that garlic needs to breathe, this doesn’t always follow when it’s frozen. So if you have to cook anything that requires garlic, you can go ahead and get them from the refrigerator. The moment you’ll use the garlic, you have to thaw it for several hours.

Some Other Reminders

storing your garlic

Nothing beats the taste of the homegrown garlic! Many people complain about the garlic they buy in the supermarket. They whine about the reduced flavor and aroma. They may also have lesser nutrients. So storing garlic can be a great idea especially during cold seasons when you can’t always rush to the town just to buy garlic. During winter, it is important that you store the garlic inside your home. Very low temperature can greatly affect the quality of the garlic. So you need to make sure that it’s kept in cool and dry temperature (40-50 degrees). Storing garlic in a paper grocery bag is useful to prolong its life. Some homeowners have their own garden room where crops like garlic are kept cool and secured all the time.

If you have stored a lot of garlic, you can sell them in local vendors or in your neighbors. No one would say no to some homegrown garlic which is more flavorful and pungent! If you were able to store it properly, you can expect that the garlic will remain the same for several months, even up to one year!

Other than storing garlic, you can preserve it for a longer period of time by making processed products. For instance, you can make dried garlic which is used in many dishes. If you plan to dry your garlic, you can grind it using a food processor and place them in dryer screens. Place the screens outside and wait for several days or until the moisture has been eliminated. You can also turn it into garlic oil. It’s very delicious and long lasting. It also makes a perfect salad dressing.

See, storing garlic is very beneficial for homeowners like you who love to cook and who loves garlic very much. Try it, it’s worth it!

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