Storing Garlic for planting
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 35F and 55F and between 40% and 60% humidity. A normally air-conditioned house or basement seems to do pretty good. Once the garlic is cured, do not allow air to blow on the bulbs. It dehydrates the bulbs and they dry out. Don't have a dehumidifier around the garlic either after the garlic has cured as it will also dry the bulbs and decrease storage life.
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. After the garlic has been in cold temperatures, if you leave the garlic out in normal temperatures, it will sprout and deteriorate quickly. That is why the garlic purchased from the stores does not last long because it has been kept cold and then sits out in the stores and then sprouts and goes bad quickly once you purchase them.
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.