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Pantry Staples

Should You Refrigerate Your Garlic?

Garlic is a cooking essential, but trying to figure out if you should keep it in the fridge, in your pantry, or somewhere else can be confusing. We’ll help you find the perfect place to keep this flavorful veggie.

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Where’s your go-to garlic storage spot? Whether it’s on your kitchen counter, in the pantry or in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer, you’ve probably wondered if your garlic might last longer elsewhere. Are you supposed to store garlic with veggies like potatoes and onions? Or, does it belong with other produce?

You might have your garlic storage game perfected – but you might also be making mistakes. Either way, we’ve got your guide to keeping all kinds of garlic fresh for as long as possible. 

Cool temperatures can extend garlic’s lifespan

Unless you’ve got tropical fruits hanging around the house, most produce enjoys a nice and cool daily temperature. And that’s exactly how garlic likes to rest – at a cool 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. When kept at this temperature, your typical head of garlic will last for months. 

If you’re keeping your garlic at colder or hotter temperatures, it isn’t going to last as long as it should. Higher temperatures can cause this veggie to spoil faster, while colder temperatures can speed up its ripening process.

However, there is a catch to cold, refrigerated storage. It’s not always the worst option for stashing your garlic. 

Garlic can survive inside your fridge, and it can actually last quite a while. While temperatures lower than 60 degrees aren’t ideal, it’s not going to do any damage. It’s safe for garlic to hang out in temps as low as 40 to 45 degrees, as long as you use it as soon as possible once you bring it to room temperature. Once you refrigerate garlic, it’ll start sprouting and spoiling within just a few days – so you’ll want to take it out only when you’re ready to cook with it.

Garlic thrives in dry, well-ventilated storage spots

In addition to keeping your garlic cool (or possibly even cold), you’ll also want to store it somewhere dry with good ventilation. Damp, moist environments can cause garlic to rot, which is a change you definitely don’t want to discover when you need garlic in the middle of a recipe.

You should keep your garlic somewhere it can breathe freely. Don’t keep it in airtight containers like plastic bags or closed kitchen drawers; as the vegetable emits its own natural gases and moisture, it’ll spoil faster. 

It’s also a good idea to keep garlic away from fruits and other veggies that are known to emit a lot of gas as they ripen, like apples and bananas. Garlic does best when it’s stored alone.

The best ways to store garlic in every form

In general, it’s best to keep your garlic somewhere cool, with good air circulation. But that isn’t always the right storage solution to keeping it as fresh as can be.

In certain forms, garlic can actually thrive in your refrigerator. While extra-cold temperatures can cause fresh garlic to sprout quickly, what if you aren’t working with a fresh head? What if you’ve already minced your garlic and have extra to store? Here’s how you should store garlic in any and every form (expect garlic powder – that one’s self-explanatory!). 

Whole heads of garlic

To keep a whole head of garlic fresh for as long as possible, you can use the storage suggestions mentioned above. Keep the heads in cool areas no warmer than 65 degrees, and they’ll last for months. Alternatively, you can refrigerate whole garlic heads – but you’ll want to take them out only when you’re ready to put them to use.

Additionally, make sure you leave the entire head of garlic whole. Don’t break any of its parts apart, including the individual cloves. As soon as you break the head into pieces, you’ll start the spoilage timer clock. And once the head is broken, your garlic has a lifespan of approximately three to 10 days. 

If your head of garlic begins to sprout, it’s time to use it ASAP. Sprouted garlic tends to develop a bitter taste, but it’s still usable. The bigger the sprouts, the more bitter the flavor.

Peeled or chopped garlic

If you need to store garlic that’s already been broken apart and peeled – or even chopped – then the best method is a bit different. In these cases, refrigeration is actually your biggest ally. 

Peeled and chopped garlic are perfectly safe in the fridge. Just make sure to keep them in an airtight container. This locks in freshness and helps prevent the garlic from losing flavor rapidly. It also prevents your entire fridge from smelling like garlic!

When sealed inside your fridge, your peeled or chopped garlic should last a couple of weeks while still staying fresh. However, you don’t want to wait too long, as garlic can get increasingly bitter the longer it sits.

Roasted garlic

Have too much roasted garlic on hand? That can be a good thing, especially when it comes to storing garlic and keeping it fresh.

When you’re worried that your garlic might go bad before you can use it all, roast it! Roasted garlic keeps very well in cold temperatures. It’ll last for a couple weeks inside the refrigerator and a few months in the freezer. Roasting and then refrigerating is a great way to keep your garlic’s flavor stable, prevent bitterness and still have all of the garlic you need for various recipes.

Now that you know when to refrigerate garlic (or store it elsewhere, learn more about storing different produce and kitchen essentials: