A great question came in to Ask Gardenerd this week:
“If I braid my garlic and hang it in my kitchen, how long will it keep?
When I buy garlic and the store and put it in my fridge, it begins to
sprout after a month or so. Will the same thing happen to my braided
Would you believe that it depends upon the variety of garlic you choose to grow? The truth is that, like onions or apples, some varieties are known for better storage than others. So choosing a long-storage garlic will help your situation.
Softneck varieties, which coincidentally are better for braiding, store longer than hardneck varieties. The one caveat is that softneck varieties grow best in Southern climates.
My favorite for Southern climates is Kettle River Giant, because it stores well for about nine months. Here’s a shot of a bulb from my harvest a couple of years ago.
A quarter sitting next to Kettle River Giant garlic
When growing your own garlic, it is important to cure the harvest before storing. Lay it out on a screen or hang it out of direct sunlight in small bunches to dry completely, about 4 weeks, before braiding or storing.
One other suggestion: Store your garlic at room temperature, rather than in the fridge. It needs good air circulation as well, so keep it out of plastic bags. Some garlic producers recommend using a garlic keeper, but while it looks nice, it’s not necessary.
If you need help braiding your garlic, here’s a video I made with that great harvest in the photo above:
Thanks for writing in, and happy gardening!