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SuperMouse's avatar

What is the best way to store, and prepare fresh garlic?

Asked by SuperMouse (30713 points ) February 3rd, 2012

In my endeavor to learn to cook, I have discovered fresh garlic. It is just so much more flavorful then the prepared stuff. Now I have a couple of questions. First, how long does fresh garlic actually stay fresh? How should I store the fresh garlic? Even if I put it in an airtight container it gets fragrant rather quickly and the odor fills the kitchen. Finally, what is the best way to prepare the garlic? I have been peeling off the outer layers of the clove and pretty much relying on a garlic press. Is this the best way to prepare it? What are some other ways that are more appropriate?

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9 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Check with the experts.

You don’t need to remove the skin if you have a garlic press, I don’t so I usually remove the skin and use the flat side of a knife blade to crush the garlic. The finer you chop or crush the garlic the more intense the flavor.

Sunny2's avatar

I keep mine in an open jar on the shelf. It will dry out eventually, but it keeps for months. I cut off the rounder end of the clove, peel the papery skin off and mince it, slice it, use it in chunks, or whole. The smaller you cut it, the stronger the flavor in what you cook. Welcome to garlic lovers of the world. Notice it isn’t anonymous. You can’t hide the scent.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Put the clove in the garlic press with the skin on. When you crush it the garlic will come out of the holes but the skin won’t.

As for storage I usually keep with onions and othe vegetables in a cool dry cupboard.

DancingMind's avatar

I’ve always peeled the garlic before putting in the press, myself—I’ll have to try it with the skin on, I guess—and the bit of garlic that pulls up the sides of the ‘plunger,’ I put back in and press again to use as much as I can…
Pressing/mincing/chopping/leaving whole, all work…
If you’re making, say, a rue, I put the garlic in with the butter/oil to flavor. But it cooks quick. If you’re sauteing, hold off until the longer-cooking ingredients (like onions and mushrooms) are going, so the garlic doesn’t brown.

My garlic’s with my onions in the cupboard, too. Don’t seal them in a container—they need to breathe, and if they can breathe they won’t smell.

If you want something fabulous, try roasted garlic: take a whole bulb, wrap it, (with a bit of drizzled olive oil,) in tinfoil (shiny side in) and put it in the oven… I think it’s around 400–450 degrees Fahrenheit, until you can press the garlic and it’s soft. Take it out.
Then, when it’s cool enough to touch: pull the cloves off as you want, and press the now-soft garlic out the bottom of the clove as a spread for bread, crackers, etc.
Store in the fridge now; it can stay in the tinfoil.

There! I dunno how much of that was redundant for you, hopefully not too much.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

There is no single or “right” way to prepare garlic, contrary to the people (including chefs) who always press it, or always smash it. It’s a vegetable, not merely a flavoring. A number of Szechuan dishes for instance call for thin slices of garlic, and the garlic should not be crushed when making slices.
A number of pickle recipes call for whole peeled garlic cloves. The “40 garlic clove chicken” recipe requires 3 whole heads of garlic.
Personally I use all of these as well as smashing/crushing or dicing. I also use bottled or dried garlic for certain recipes. Personally I don’t ever use a garlic press though because there’s less to wash then; you can smash one with the side of your knife on your cutting board.

deni's avatar

I store my garlic in the fruit basket hanger thing. I use cloves at a time and never refrigerate it, just put it back in the basket. A bulb of garlic seems to go bad in a couple weeks…but usually they don’t last that long for me, I put garlic in everything. Mmmmm. I don’t care for garlic presses, so I just mince it usually. Plus I love mincing.

marinelife's avatar

Not an airtight container. You can buy a garlic container if you want. i just keep mine on top to the frig.

It will keep a few weeks before it starts to soften and sprout.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I just keep it at room temp, in its little jacket, until I use it, like @marinelife says, usually a few weeks. If I want to use it fresh, I’ll slice it very thin and saute with stuff, or I’ll peel all the cloves in the head, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast (bake at 250 for about an hour) then store the roasted cloves in the fridge and use them sliced or cut up in soup and/or pasta dishes and stuff.

Kardamom's avatar

@SuperMouse On a side note, if you want to get the garlic smell off of your hands after chopping it, rubbing your fingers and hands on a stainless steel spoon under running water helps considerably. This Blog also suggests rubbing your hands and fingers all over the inside of your stainless steel sink (if you have one) or getting one of These Stainless Bars

I’m not exactly sure how it works, but it has something to do with the compounds in the garlic binding with the chemistry of the stainless steel. I use this method frequently, and then give a final rinse over with a dollop of hand sanitizer. Regular soap and water don’t seem to help to remove the odor.

Otherwise, how is your adventure in cooking coming along? Do you love it?

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