John Boy Farms


Storing Garlic At Home

We get a lot of questions from people about storing garlic and how they should keep their garlic at home. Storing garlic is not overly complicated and if a few basic steps are taken, your garlic should stay in good shape for a long time.

A very quick summary recommendation is that garlic should be stored in a dry dark place (such as a cold room). Store the garlic in mesh bags or something similar and hang to allow proper air flow. This will minimize spoilage and ensure your garlic stores as long as possible.

Below is more detailed information on storing garlic at home:

(1) Garlic Varieties

Although people do not always know what type of garlic they have, it is important to understand that different garlic varieties can be stored for different amounts of time. Most of the garlic in at the grocery store is grown in warm climates such as California and are a type of softneck garlic. These garlics usually to store for a fairly long time and are not very difficult to keep in good condition when storing at home.

Most garlic that gardeners grow in Canada or purchase at Farmers' Markets is a type of hardneck garlic (although some softneck garlic is grown in Canada as well). Hardneck garlics usually have a shorter shelf life, but do have a very wide range of storage ability depending on the specific variety. Storage can last for as little as two months and as long as a year.

(2) Temperature & Humidity

When storing garlic it is best to keep the conditions at a moderate temperature, not too cold and not too warm.  The temperature should remain above 10⁰C (to prevent sprouting) and below 20⁰C (to prevent premature dehydration). If possible, the ideal range is 13⁰C or 14⁰C. This means that you should never store your garlic in a refrigerator as it will begin to sprout (as well as loose it's flavour).

Also, it is important to keep the garlic in a cool dark place with good air circulation (especially in more humid conditions).  Humidity between 45% and 50% is best to minimize dehydration while still preventing mould.

(3) Storage Method

The best option is to hang your garlic in mesh bags. This allows good air circulation and usually helps prevent mold or decay from setting in. Pantyhose can also be used for homeowner that don't have mesh bags as they act similar and do not hold moisture.

Storing garlic in a closed container is a bad idea and almost always leads to mold developing on the garlic. This even includes things like paper bags which do not allow enough air circulation. 

(4) Location

Hanging garlic in a dark basement usually works best. Basements are usually a bit cooler than the rest of the house and usually have a good range of humidity.

If your basement is on the humid side, it is very important to have the garlic stored in an area with good air circulation. Some homeowners will use a small fan to create a bit of air flow, but the fan should never be blowing directly on the garlic as this will usually cause it to dehydrate prematurely. 

If you don't have a basement, a cool dark location like a bottom cupboard or pantry can work good as well. The air circulation in a cupboard is not usually very good, however it is still better than storing the garlic out in the open such as on a counter top.