After you purchase your garlic, make sure you protect your investment. Improper storage will reduce shelf life of garlic. Whole bulbs of garlic can keep for 6-12 months or more when stored at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has ample air circulation. Keep in mind, that garlic's lifetime decreases once you start removing cloves from the bulb. If you are waiting to plant your garlic, open your box and keep in your basement or in your house in a dry place with good airflow. If we are storing our garlic for planting, we will keep our garlic in our barn with normal outside temperatures.
Storing Garlic for Eating
Storing garlic uncovered, such as in a wire-mesh basket inside your cupboard or beneath a small overturned clay pot, is ideal. You can also store garlic in a paper bag or mesh bag. Just be sure there is plenty of dry air and little light to inhibit sprouting. Always watch the bulbs to see if they are starting to get soft and if they are, use right away.
Best garlic storage temperatures
To avoid mold, do not store garlic in plastic bags. Garlic needs to breathe. Garlic stores best long term when it is stored at between 55F and 65F and between 40% and 60% humidity. A normally air-conditioned house or basement seems to do pretty good.
To get the longest storage life out of garlic, we do recommend putting the garlic bulbs in a brown paper bag and putting them in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. When they come out of cold storage, they will want to sprouting thinking it is time to grow, so only take them out as needed.
Garlic sprouting is a natural part of the garlic’s life. It will sprout after it has been through a cold period, and it starts to warm up and thinks it is time to grow. That is why grocery store garlic sprouts, because not only is the garlic usually old since it is imported from other countries, but it was also put in cold storage to extend the life of the garlic. We do not put any garlic in cold storage before it gets to our customers. Our garlic sees normal household temperatures until it gets to you.
Spouts have 13% more nutrients than the garlic cloves, so remove the sprout and eat it before cooking to get the superior health benefits from the sprout. If the sprout is cooked, some say it turns bitter.