The Easiest Way to Keep Your Garlic From Sprouting

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  • Ceramic bowls that have holes for air circulation and are made especially for garlic bulb storage are available at many kitchen goods stores.

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How to Plant a Sprouted Garlic Clove (and What to Expect)

  1. Select healthy-looking cloves in 8"-12" pots, one per pot.
  2. Fill each pot with potting mix, leaving a couple of inches of space at the top.
  3. Make a hole in the center of the dirt that is about the width and depth of the clove.
  4. Carefully place each clove in a pot, covering them with soil so that the base of the shoots meet the surface of the soil. You can use either sprouted or unsprouted cloves, just make sure to plant the sprouts pointed up and unsprouted cloves "pointy end" up, about 1/2" below the surface.
  5. Press down gently but firmly on the soil to remove air pockets.
  6. Water thoroughly until water drains from the drainage holes.
  7. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged throughout the growing process; it takes about 8 months for garlic to mature.
  8. You can use the sprouts during this period (if you enjoy that bitter taste), but only a little at a time, or you'll stunt the bulbs' growth.
  9. Prune back any flowering shoots that come up initially (this helps produce larger bulbs).
  10. You will know the garlic is ready to be dug up when the tops of most of the leaves have turned yellow.
  11. You must let your plants think they've gone through winter if you want more garlic. You can achieve this naturally by planting them before the first frost, or artificially by putting them in the freezer for a couple weeks. Once you've allowed them to go through winter (or "winter"), put them out in the sun to warm up.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Onion Sprouts: What to Do With Them

Can you eat a sprouted onion?

The answer is yes! The onion might get a little mushy after it sprouts, but it's not poisonous or toxic and it won't hurt you. Especially if the roots and shoots are still small, it's still perfectly good.

Many people intentionally eat the sprouts since they have more protein (so they're popular with vegetarians and vegans). Some people even like the taste of sprouted onion, but some think the shoots are too bitter.

What should I do with an onion sprout?

Just chop the sprout off (unless you want to eat it—take a taste to decide), cut the onion in half, and remove any remnants of the shoots. Of course, you should also check for mold and rot.

What if the onion is sprouted and moldy?

The only exception is if the onion is seriously consumed by mold or rot. Don't eat a moldy onion. But if there's only a little mold on one part of it, just chop off the bad, mushy bits and eat the rest.

How can I prevent an onion from sprouting?

Your onions are just like the bulbs you plant in the garden. They should remain dormant until conditions are right for sprouting. Keep it in a cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated area.

How should I store onions?

Store onions in a cool, dry, dark spot with good air circulation to prevent them from growing. Keep them separate from other fruits and veggies, since their ripening produces ethylene gas which encourages onions to sprout. Keep in mind that if they've sprouted, they will rot much more quickly.

Can you plant a sprouted onion?

If you separate the sprouts inside the onion's layers and plant them in potting soil, you can grow new onions.

So yes, if you plant a sprouted onion, will you get more onions! Below, I share step-by-step directions for planting them in a pot or in the garden.

Is it safe to eat a sprouted garlic?

Wikimedia Commons

Can You Refrigerate Garlic?

You can refrigerate whole garlic bulbs, but they won’t last as long. This might seem counterintuitive, but refrigerating garlic causes it to sprout much more rapidly. Garlic is typically planted in the fall, and its roots develop in the fall and winter, when the ground is cold. So refrigerated garlic will last a few weeks before sprouting, as opposed to months when stored at 60 to 65 F. With that said, assuming you use it quickly, it should be fine.

And also note that sprouted garlic is perfectly safe to eat, as are the shoots themselves, although they can impart a bitter flavor to the garlic. If your garlic starts to sprout, you can simply peel and slice the cloves lengthwise and then remove the green shoot from the center of the clove using your fingers or the tip of your knife.

How Long Does Garlic Take to Grow?

It can take anywhere from 90 to 240 days (3 to 8 months) for garlic to grow to maturity.  Of course, the time for garlic to mature depends on when you plant it.

As mentioned earlier, you can plant garlic in the fall, or you can plant it in the spring for a faster harvest with smaller bulbs.

If you plant garlic in the fall, it will take about 240 days (8 months) to grow to maturity.  For example, if planting on November 1, it will take until about July 1 for the garlic to mature into bulbs that are ready for harvest.

If you plant garlic in the spring, it will take about 90 days (3 months) to grow to maturity.  For example, if planting on April 1, it will take until about July 1 for the garlic to grow into mature bulbs that are ready for harvest.

Preserving Garlic – Quick Methods

This section covers preservation options for garlic that you can complete in a hurry. These methods of long-term storage require minimal effort on your side and reward you with intense garlic flavor at your fingertips all year long.

You’ll get our top tips for preserving minced garlic via dehydration, and we also show you how to freeze your garlic and keep it fresh for months.

Properly Store Garlic for Ready Use

Many people go through garlic at a quick pace and wind up buying more regularly. Fortunately, you don’t need to go through a whole rigamarole every time you purchase or bring home a new supply.

How long does fresh garlic last? Garlic lasts for a month or two without special treatment if you take care of it when you store it.

Some attention and care on your part help to ensure that your garlic continues to stay in top condition. The best protection your garlic has against the elements is its skin. Garlic has layers of dry, papery skin around the tender cloves, and this acts as a barrier against dirt and contamination.

Peeling garlic exposes the flesh to the elements, so don’t peel garlic until necessary. Leave the skin on your garlic, store the cloves in a spot with good air circulation and out of bright light at the ambient temperature, and keep them dry.

A pantry and a root cellar are both excellent options for storage. It’s also where to store sweet potatoes until you are ready to use them in your favorite recipe.

While the refrigerator is often one of the ways to preserve vegetables like bell peppers and green beans, it’s not ideal for garlic. Don’t store fresh garlic in the fridge to avoid sprouting. They’ll last for at least a couple of weeks at room temperature without requiring further treatment.

You may wonder, “How much is a clove of garlic?” That all depends on its size. Some garlic cloves are quite small and others are huge.

Freeze Your Garlic

Perhaps you’ve come into a bonanza of garlic, thanks to a bumper crop or a generous friend or neighbor. When you’ve got an embarrassment of garlic riches, take steps to ensure they don’t go bad.

If you find yourself with too much garlic and not enough time to eat it all, your freezer can save the day and preserve garlic’s health benefits. Peeling and freezing garlic keeps it fresh for up to nine months. Freeze garlic to preserve it for the long haul.

tb1234 Freezer bagsGarlic clovesA sharp knifeA Sharpie or another marker tb1234

You can freeze raw garlic with the skins still on, but we prefer to begin by peeling each clove. The easiest way to peel garlic is to firmly press the flat of a knife against the clove. The skin will break and slide off the garlic flesh.

Cut off the hard core of the whole cloves. Pack the cloves into freezer bags and freeze them as-is, chop them before freezing, or use your food processor to puree the garlic in extra virgin olive oil.

If you opt to puree them in oil, make sure to freeze them immediately to minimize the risk of Clostridium botulinum growth, also called botulism.

Dehydrate the Garlic

Long-term storage of garlic doesn’t require the use of a freezer. Garlic has durable enough flavor to survive all kinds of storage options, including dehydration.

The next time you have lots of garlic and nothing to do with it all, consider drying it. Properly dehydrated garlic has a shelf life of two or three years with no drop in flavor intensity.

tb1234 Fresh garlic cloves, peeledA food dehydratorAirtight containerA sharp knife tb1234

Cut the individual cloves in half lengthwise. Dry them at 140°F for two hours. Drop the temperature to 130°F and dry for four to six more hours. The garlic bulbs should be brittle and break if you bend them. Set aside a clove or two to break up and use as garlic powder, if desired.

You can also add some dried garlic to sea salt to create garlic salt. Store the dried garlic in a sealable container, and try to get out as much air as you can before closing it. Store the container in a pantry or the freezer.

Reader Success Stories

  • Catherine Poor

Jul 28, 2017

    Catherine Poor Jul 28, 2017

    “This entire article was helpful. I was about to break up all 4 of the cloves, I have to store them in a glass jar. I wasn’t sure if I should, though, so I decided to check wikiHow I should really be storing my garlic. I’m very happy I did! Thanks, wikiHow!” …” more

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