Keep garlic fresh for up to six months by keeping it stored outside the fridge

Food poisoning: Expert gives advice on safe food storage

It may seem like common sense to keep garlic stored in the vegetable drawer inside your fridge, but it is actually causing your garlic to begin spoiling much more quickly. 

Garlic is always super-handy to have in your kitchen and it can be incredibly frustrating to do a food shop only to discover your vegetables have become rotten before their time. 

Luckily, one professional chef and food storage expert has explained the best way to keep garlic fresh for up to six months. 

Jerry James Stone is a vegetarian chef and recipe developer whose meals have been featured on the Discovery Channel, Whole Foods and Costco. In a video online, Jerry has explained the best way to store garlic so it lasts much longer. 

Jerry said: “Garlic is one of those ingredients like onions, carrots, and celery, that is ubiquitous in any sort of savoury cooking. It’s really important to store it properly because while it is inexpensive, you want to make sure you get the most out of your money.”

How to store garlic to keep it fresh

According to Jerry, garlic should last up to six months as long as the bulb is still whole, meaning the garlic cloves are not separated and the garlic has not been up. 

In order to preserve garlic, Jerry explained it must be kept in a cool and dry place that is not the fridge. He explained: “The first thing that’s really important is garlic likes to be cold…You want it to be sort of room temperature. 

“You also want it to be in a very dry spot. It does not like humidity…you want no humidity, you want it to be a dry space and a cold space.”

Garlic also may be stored somewhere where it is not exposed to lots of sunlight. Jerry said: “I don’t like the sun.  I’m a lot like garlic. You want to know how to store garlic it’s the same way you store Jerry. You want cold, dark, low light” 

Finally, garlic must be stored somewhere with lots of airflow in order for the area to not keep humid. Jerry said: “You want something that’s well-ventilated. You want an area where the air does not get stale, it kinda moves, right? So don’t put it in a drawer, that’s not a great place for garlic.”

A basket on your counter or shelf out of the sun would be an ideal place to keep garlic fresh.

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Why you should not put garlic in the fridge

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Garlic should never be stored in your fridge unless you plan to cook with the garlic within the next few days. Jerry explained: “The reason you don’t want to put it in a refrigerator is that garlic in the fridge will have a completely different reaction. The moisture in there will actually cause the garlic to sprout.”

Sprouted garlic is still editable, but it will taste extremely bitter and will greatly affect the taste if used in a recipe. Jerry said that he recommended throwing any sprouted garlic away. 

He said: “If you put [garlic] in the fridge, it’s going to sprout a lot faster. So keep it on the counter or in the pantry for up to six months, but in the refrigerator,  it’s probably going to sprout within a few weeks. 

“You should be able to keep [garlic]for up to six months. However, once you break the bulb open, it takes probably 10 days. You want to use the whole thing. That’s just something to keep in mind.”

However, if you do plan to store garlic in the fridge then Jerry had once last food storage tip in order to try and keep it fresher for longer. He said: “If you do have to put garlic in the fridge for some reason, don’t put it in a bag. If you put it in a bag, it’s actually going to store more humidity, and that garlic bulb is gonna rot and get ruined a lot faster. 

“Put it in your crisper drawer, and try to keep the humidity low, but like I said if you avoid it, then please do.” 

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