How To Preserve Garlic

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Learn how to keep garlic in a root cellar, freeze, dehydrate, and pickle for longer keeping...you can even make your own garlic salt!

How To Preserve Garlic To Increase Storage and Reduce Waste

Learning how to preserve garlic isn’t difficult or time consuming. And it will save some money if your garlic has a tendency to go bad because you don’t use it up quickly enough. Whether you bought garlic or grew your own, it’s a waste to toss it out! Garlic keeps up to nine months under proper storage conditions. However, if you don’t have the ideal space to keep it, your garlic will get soft, sprout, or dry out. Keep reading for more information to help you preserve garlic for a longer storage life.

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How to Preserve Garlic

How To Store Garlic In A Root Cellar

After harvest, allow your garlic to cure for a week or two in a dry, airy spot, out of direct sunlight. Brush off any dirt and trim roots back. Hang garlic (braiding is optional) or trim stems and store in a shallow layer in an open crate. Ideal storage temperature is 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity should be in the 50 to 60% range. Softneck garlic stores well for up to 9 months and hardneck (such as Elephant garlic) keeps up to 6 months under these conditions.

Read ‘How to Harvest and Store Rood Crops’ for information on root cellar storage.

Storage Tip – Use a garlic keeper to store your garlic on the counter or in you pantry. The ceramic crock will allow your garlic to ‘breathe’ and will keep it cool and dark. Do not store your garlic in the refrigerator or in a plastic bag or plastic container, this will hold in moisture and may lead to mold or rot.

How to Preserve Garlic

The Easiest Way to Keep Garlic…Freeze It!

Freezing garlic is pretty much the easiest way to keep it from sprouting or drying up if you don’t have an ideal storage sapce. It won’t be as crisp as fresh garlic, but the flavor will be fine. There are several ways to prepare garlic for freezing.

An easy way to freeze garlic is as simple as placing a whole bulb of garlic into an airtight container and popping it in the freezer. You don’t even have to peel it. Easy!

Want to simplify the prep time when you’re ready to use the frozen cloves? Peel the papery skins off before you place them in the freezer. Still easy!

Freezer Tip – If you are using plastic freezer bags, double or triple up to help prevent the odor from escaping. (This is the one time that using plastic bags for storing your garlic is appropriate.)

How to Preserve Garlic

What About Storing Garlic in Oil?

Maybe you’d like to take a little extra time and freeze your garlic in oil. Place whole, chopped, or minced cloves in a freezer safe container and cover with olive oil, stir to coat the garlic, seal, place in the freezer.

When you’re ready for some garlicky goodness…just grab the container, scoop out what you need, and place the rest back in the freezer. Store garlic in oil for several months in the freezer. (The oil gets somewhat hard in the freezer, so you may want to use the mincing option, below, for easier scooping.)

Tip: Scoop garlic and oil into ice cube trays and place in freezer. When it’s solid, pop out of trays and store in freezer bags. This way, when you are cooking you’ll be able to grab a cube or two and toss in you pan!

How to Preserve Garlic

Minced Garlic in Oil

For an even easier to use solution, mince the garlic before covering in oil and freezing. Warm up a metal spoon to help scoop the minced garlic and oil from its container. Once thawed, the garlic flavored oil is great for dipping your homemade bread, or use it in homemade oil and vinegar dressing, and also replace vegetable oil in recipes with garlic oil to give the finished product extra flavor!

But Wait, Is Garlic in Oil Safe to Eat?

Maybe you’ve read some old timer’s advice about storing garlic in a jar of oil on your counter? Never store garlic in oil on the counter!  

Garlic stored in vegetable oil must be stored at cold temperatures to remain safe for human consumption. Refrigerate at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for up to 4 days, or place your garlic and oil combo in the freezer.

Here’s Why…

Placing garlic in vegetable oil and leaving it at room temperatures provides conditions for Clostridium botulinum to thrive and cause serious illness. If you suspect that you, or someone else, has consumed botulism toxins, seek medical attention immediately. Left untreated, botulism poisoning can be fatal.

For more information about killing botulism, check out this Extension office post.

Dehydrate Garlic for Long Term Storage

If you have a lot of garlic and you want to keep it long term, the best method for preserving it is by dehydrating to remove the moisture. Here’s how:

  • Peel garlic and brush off any dirt or debris
  • Slice garlic very thin
  • Arrange in dehydrator with some space between slices
  • Use a mesh covering on tray if you have one
  • Set dehydrator to 115 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Dry until all of the garlic slices are crispy and break easily
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot out of sunlight
  • Vacuum seal dehydrated garlic for even longer storage

How To Use Dehydrated Garlic

  • Drop a few slices into soups, stews, or chili
  • Rehydrate in water until soft (10- 20 minutes), mince and use in place of fresh garlic
  • Run through food processor for powdered garlic

DIY Garlic Salt

Blend powdered garlic with salt to make your own garlic salt. Try a blend of half salt and half garlic, or increase the salt if you wish. Place garlic salt in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight.

Dried Garlic Storage Tip – Very dry garlic may be placed in a mylar food storage bag with an oxygen absorber for the longest storage life.

Sweet Hot Garlic Refrigerator Pickles

Pickled Garlic

Another easy way to preserve your garlic is by pickling. Garlic pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for shorter periods or you may can them for really long term preservation. Here is a quick and easy refrigerator garlic pickle recipe that will wake up your taste buds!

Sweet Hot Garlic Refrigerator Pickles

  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 – 3 dozen garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp non-iodized salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

In medium sauce pan, stir together vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Add garlic cloves. Return to a boil. Boil for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Cool slightly. Scoop garlic into a sterile container. Pour enough pickling liquid into container to cover garlic. Seal tightly and store in refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks before using. These zesty pickles are quite spicy! Use as a pickle, or mince and use in recipes where you’d like to add some garlic and spice.

Keep refrigerated.

Recipe Variation – If you have fresh hot peppers, you may slice them and add to pickling liquid along with garlic and omit the crushed red pepper.

How to Preserve Garlic

Try Some of Each!

If you have a lot of garlic, try preserving some with each of these methods. You’ll have a variety of different ways to use your garlic! There are some delicious sounding recipes out there for canning garlic pickles and they would make excellent gifts for your friends and family.

What is your favorite way of preserving garlic?

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Lisa Lombardo
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Lisa Lombardo

Freelance Writer & Blogger at Tohoca, LLC
Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady.

In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.

The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
Lisa Lombardo
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About Lisa Lombardo

Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady. In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org. The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.

25 comments on “How To Preserve Garlic

  1. Pingback: How To Make Pizza From Scratch - The New Homesteader's Almanac

  2. Lacey

    Great post! We grew waaaay too much garlic a the year before last, and I ended up using almost all these methods to preserve it before it went bad! My favorite is hands down to mince the garlic in my food processor, then mix it with oil and freeze it in 1 tsp portions. Then when I need garlic for just about anything, it’s already minced and ready to go!

    Reply
  3. Bethany

    I want to try several of these ideas. We use garlic powder the most so I’m thinking we will dehydrate garlic this year.. but I’m intrigued by pickled garlic.

    Great resource!!

    Reply
    1. Homesteader Post author

      Thank you, Bethany! Having your own dehydrated garlic is great for storage and easy use. I love the pickled garlic and can eat it plain! I’m not sure how the rest of the world feels about it though, lol!

      Reply
  4. Julie

    Perfect! Garlic is on my list to learn to grow this year. We have a cellar, and we want to adapt it to root vegetables, so it really helps to know storage/humidity information. My first to preservation methods will be storing whole and dehydrating for garlic powder. Great article. I’m printing this one out for my notebook!

    Reply
    1. Homesteader Post author

      So glad to share, Julie! Best wishes with your root cellar…that link to root cellar storage in the post might be helpful too. 🙂

      Let me know how your garlic and root cellaring projects come along!

      Reply
  5. Dianne

    Wow! Great post. I still haven’t taken the plunge yet to grow garlic so that I can store it. I should – I can with it all the time and it’s actually a staple in our meals. We love it! I am so glad I came across your post – this will help me to move forward with getting busy with garlic. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Kristi Stone

    Wow, what a fantastic library of information! I have grown garlic in the past, and had all that work wasted because I wasn’t sure what to do with it. In the more recent years, I’ve just grown less. I’m going to use some of these tips next time!

    Reply
    1. Homesteader Post author

      I hope this helps you store more of that garlicky goodness, Kristi! I don’t grow as much these days, either. But I hate to waste what I have!

      Reply
  7. candy

    I dry out my garlic and let it hang or I have dehydrated it for garlic powder. Never froze it before. Will have to check into these methods I haven’t tried.

    Reply
    1. Homesteader Post author

      Hi Candy,
      If you have the right conditions, hanging it is the easiest way to store. My storage this year is either too warm or too cold…hence the frozen, pickled, and dehydrated garlic.

      Reply
  8. farmgal

    I love to use the garlic scrapes in so many things. I think I use it even more then I do the garlic bulbs.. both are awesome!

    Reply
  9. Marla

    Garlic is one of the most effective and powerful natural antibiotics. I have kept garlic in my freezer on little storage containers that worked really well. I never had heard of using the oil but that sounds like a great idea. Great information!

    Reply
  10. AnnMarie Lewellyn

    I freeze my garlic all the time. I mix the minced garlic and olive oil and place it in ice cube trays. Then when I need minced garlic for a recipe I simply pop out the cube! I have regular size ice cube trays and minis for this purpose. That way I have a lot or a little bit depending on the recipe. Great post as always! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Homesteader Post author

      Thank you! The ice cube trays are a great idea, Annie! I should buy some more so they don’t have to do double duty making ice for my tea, lol!

      Reply
  11. Robin

    I hadn’t thought of freezing my garlic. I grew way too much this year and have more than I can use or give away. I will be loading the small freezer!

    Reply
    1. Homesteader Post author

      Glad to help out, Robin! I have two nice sized jars of garlic in oil in my freezer now, plus pickled garlic that is brewing in the fridge. It makes it so easy to use when you are in a hurry!

      Reply

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