Tips&TricksUnlocking the secrets of garlic storage: How to prevent bitterness and retain aroma

Unlocking the secrets of garlic storage: How to prevent bitterness and retain aroma

The man is holding a clove of garlic in his hand.
The man is holding a clove of garlic in his hand.
Images source: © Getty Images | Arayabandit
4:57 PM EST, December 18, 2023

As the foundational component of many dishes, garlic lends a distinct and spicy flavor. A few cloves can indeed make a significant difference. Nevertheless, storage issues often cause it to become bitter, spoiling the overall taste. Fortunately, this is preventable.

Why does garlic turn bitter?

The change in garlic's taste can be attributed to improper storage procedures. It's common to find poorly stored garlic in retail stores. However, when shopping, identifying a bitter bulb merely by visual examination is practically impossible.

The storage boxes play a significant role. These need to be properly ventilated; otherwise, the garlic will start rotting. Not only are the vendors responsible for this, but consumers contribute by storing it in airtight packages at home, leading to the garlic becoming bitter.

Storing it in the refrigerator isn't recommended either, as the vegetable often dries out due to low temperature, leading to a loss of aroma.

How should one properly store garlic?

Firstly, a well-ventilated location is essential for storing garlic. It's ideal to place it where room temperature prevails and away from direct sunlight, as this causes it to sprout, losing its flavor and freshness.

After purchasing, it is recommended to store the garlic in a paper bag with holes or a vegetable basket. This ensures it remains fresh longer, retaining its flavor.

Other methods to keep garlic fresh

Pickled garlic is another method that many find useful. The garlic can be submerged in substances such as oil, brine, or vinegar—depending on individual preference. Some people also add various spices, like Provencal or Dalmatian herbs, sweet pepper or rosemary, to enhance the flavor.

Well-stored garlic will never be bitter.
Well-stored garlic will never be bitter.© Pixabay | congerdesign

An alternative is garlic in olive oil. When using this method, the garlic should be finely chopped in advance. It simplifies the process and prevents potential frustrations in the kitchen. However, it should be consumed much faster than pickled garlic.

Freezing garlic can extend its freshness for up to a year. The peeled cloves need to be wrapped in plastic wrap before being stored in the freezer. This process results in a consistently aromatic and ready-to-use product.

Drying is another traditional method to preserve garlic. For this method, the ideal location is again a dry, well-ventilated spot. Those who grow their own garlic can simply cut off the roots and braid them together. The braided string of garlic can then be hung from the ceiling, ensuring a long-lasting freshness.

Related content