Garlic is used by people all over the world to add flavor to their food. It is almost as essential as salt. Whether it is used as the main taste in a dish such as garlic baked chicken or to add a general aroma it is best to use it at its freshest. Spoiled or old bulbs can have a bitter taste and be unpleasant to eat so it is important to know how to store garlic.
Before we go through keeping it though it is a good idea to review how to buy it. The bulbs should feel hard when squeezed, soft garlic is always older. The bulb should appear smooth with white paper-like skin. Watch out for sprouts as these indicate incorrect storage or age. Do not buy it when sprouting. Also check for signs of mold and avoid it.
Once you have got it home find a dry place. It spoils in damp places. The fridge is not a good place to keep it as the interior is always damp. This means that mold will form and the ingredient will be useless. Sprouting also occurs if the product is kept in sunlight so darkness is better.
A larder or specially designed ceramic pot with holes in the sides are perfect. Think about where the bulb can stay in a place with air moving around it but no direct sunlight. This is why it is often seen in delicatessens hanging up high. At a push a paper bag on the counter top will do as the air can pass through it.
In the spring new season garlic is available. This needs different treatment. It is wet and fresh and should be kept that way in the fridge in a plastic bag or container. This type has a wonderful, mild taste and is delicious eaten raw.
It is also possible to freeze it. This can be done by wrapping individual cloves tightly in plastic wrap or foil and defrosting before use. The best way though is to chop it and cover with oil or melted butter. The oil preserves the taste much better than just putting is straight into the freezer. It is also really convenient as portions are ready for the pan which is ideal fro quick, weeknight cooking. Using an ice cube tray to freeze the oil & then popping them out into a bag is the easiest way.
Traditional preserving methods are also decent options for storage. Pickling is an ancient practice and is simple enough. Just make a vinegar solution from a mild vinegar, sugar and spices if you like them and add peeled cloves. They need a few days to absorb some of the vinegar and are ready to use. Keep pickles in the fridge to avoid spoiling. Cloves can also be dried in a low oven or dehydrator.
Drying is another handy method of storage. It can be done in a dehydrator or if you do not have one then slice the cloves in half, place them on a baking sheet and roast them in low oven for a couple of hours. Store in an airtight container afterwards. The most important things to remember about keeping garlic are to avoid moisture and sunlight.
Knowing how to store garlic will extend its shelf life. Get tips and hints directly from this useful web page http://awaytogarden.com.