Adding a feature to the countertop, the garlic keeper is one of those kitchen accessories that many of us may have been gifted, or indeed have gifted to others. Although it can sometimes seem an odd gift, the clever design of the garlic keeper does allow garlic to stay fresher for longer and unlike when stored in the refrigerator, the garlic is much less likely to start to sprout.In this article we take a look at garlic keepers and just what it is about them that allows them to keep garlic fresher and, if you are looking for a garlic keeper for your kitchen, or as a gift for someone, we also review a selection of the best garlic keepers that will suit a range of budgets.
The Fox Run garlic keeper is our best pick of the keepers as the non-porous and unglazed stoneware will the keep moisture out and odors in.
The Progressive International terracotta garlic keeper is our budget pick as its unglazed terracotta will absorb moisture and the vent holes will keep the air moving for fresher garlic.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Garlic Keepers
- 1. Fox Run 3971 Garlic Keeper
- 2. Progressive International GK-68 Terra Cotta Garlic Keeper
- 3. Norpro Deluxe Stoneware Garlic Keeper
- 4. Norpro Ceramic Garlic Keeper
- 5. Mud Pie Ceramic Garlic Storage Keeper
- 6. Le Creuset Stoneware Garlic Keeper
- 7. Joie Terracotta Garlic Keeper by MSC
- 8. HIC Harold Import Co. Garlic keeper
- 9. Henry Watson Garlic keeper
- 10. Vinkoe Kitchen Garlic Keeper
- Things to Consider Before Buying A Garlic Keeper
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Garlic Keepers
1. Fox Run 3971 Garlic Keeper
The Fox Run garlic keeper (3971) is a white ceramic keeper made from unglazed and non-porous stoneware which is able to absorb moisture rather than odors. It also contains vent holes near the base to allow air to the garlic. This has a lid with a knob to further protect garlic from the light and two garlic shaped handles on the pot for easy handling.This keeper will hold around one and a half normal size bulbs unbroken, or you may be able to fit more than two bulbs in if you break them up first. The odd buyer has commented that they find the opening of the keeper too small at times and as this white keeper is unglazed it is more prone to staining when left out on the countertop.
2. Progressive International GK-68 Terra Cotta Garlic Keeper
The Progressive International terracotta garlic keeper is an unglazed keeper which will block moisture absorption and its vent holes at the bottom will keep the air flowing. Standing at 5" tall, this has a lid with a knob and two side handles and can only be cleaned by hand washing. This will hold two smaller bulbs or may hold more if you break up the bulbs. This may not be the most robust keeper and there is a risk of receiving it damaged. The lid can also be quite fragile and may chip easily.
3. Norpro Deluxe Stoneware Garlic Keeper
Made from non-porous stoneware with vent holes, the Norpro Deluxe garlic keeper is a larger keeper standing 7" tall that can hold up to six garlic bulbs. This patterned white keeper has an embossed garlic image on the front and a garlic-shaped knob on the lid. As this is made from stoneware, it will not absorb any moisture or odors and the lid prevents light from reaching the stored garlic. Suitable for cleaning by hand.As this is stoneware, there is a chance of it getting damaged during shipping and as a larger keeper, it will take up more storage space on your countertop. It will also not be as suitable for your kitchen if you do not use much garlic.
4. Norpro Ceramic Garlic Keeper
Standing 5" tall, the Norpro ceramic garlic keeper will hold up to three or four bulbs of garlic. This is a kiln-fired keeper which has been glazed in white and decorated with dark blue accents in an ‘Old World’ design. It has a lid with a knob and two side handles along with a total of eight vent holes towards the bottom of the keeper. It is recommended that this is hand washed rather than placed in the dishwasher.Some buyers have found this to be too big for their needs and the opening of the keeper can be on the small side if you prefer to store larger bulbs.
5. Mud Pie Ceramic Garlic Storage Keeper
Made from white ceramic with ‘garlic’ written across it in black, the Mud Pie garlic keeper has small vent holes towards the top of the keeper to help maintain air flow and a wooden lid. As a more compact keeper, this will hold around two to three small bulbs, although as with any keeper, we all have different opinions as to exactly what is a small or large garlic bulb which means that some buyers have been disappointed with the capacity of this keeper.
6. Le Creuset Stoneware Garlic Keeper
Made from high-fired stoneware to block moisture absorption, the Le Creuset garlic keeper has a secure fitting lid embossed with ‘Le Creuset’ to prevent light entering and odor escaping. This keeper has a non-porous enamel finish to resist staining and cracking and has a signature-style glaze finish in a neutral dune color. This has small vent holes around the base for improved airflow and will hold around three to four bulbs of garlicThe interior is also glazed and is nearly non-stick for easy cleaning in the dishwasher. Stoneware from this manufacturer can be used under the broiler or in the oven up to a temperature of 500°F which means this keeper will also double as a garlic roaster. Some buyers have found this to be a smaller garlic keeper and from a premium cookware manufacturer, this will cost more than other keepers.
7. Joie Terracotta Garlic Keeper by MSC
The Joie garlic fresh pod is a garlic-shaped keeper made from terracotta to absorb moisture and its vent holes also allow air to circulate. The exterior is glossy white with a terracotta inner. This is a smaller keeper designed to hold one large bulb (not elephant garlic) or several smaller bulbs. Some buyers have received this damaged and as a small keeper it will not be suitable for all kitchens.
8. HIC Harold Import Co. Garlic keeper
The HIC Harold Import Co. garlic keeper can hold up to three garlic bulbs. This has side handles and the lid also has a garlic clove shaped knob for easy opening. There are also vent holes near its base. This is a white ceramic keeper with the word ‘garlic’ embossed across it and although the finish is white, it is unglazed so more prone to staining in the kitchen. A number of buyers have found this too small as a keeper and there is a chance of receiving it damaged.
9. Henry Watson Garlic keeper
Made in the UK from Staffordshire clay, the Henry Watson garlic cellar is an unglazed terracotta keeper that will absorb moisture to help keep the garlic fresh. This is also vented in the rear for air flow and stands 4¼" high. This will hold three or four bulbs. The odd buyer has been disappointed with the decal on the lid and would have preferred it to have been plain. As a premium keeper which is also imported; this is more expensive than other keepers.
10. Vinkoe Kitchen Garlic Keeper
Made from glazed white ceramic, the Vinkoe Kitchen garlic keeper is a shaped keeper with a natural bamboo lift off lid. This contains larger vent holes for maximum air flow. Although not oven safe, this can be cleaned in the dishwasher. This will hold around two bulbs of garlic although some owners have commented that the size of the opening can prevent larger bulbs from fitting in. You may also find that the lid fits too loosely.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Garlic Keeper
The garlic keeper is a simple, yet clever accessory designed to help keep fresh garlic at its best while looking stylish on your countertop. You can also use a garlic keeper to store shallots or even ginger.
Ideally, garlic should be stored in a keeper as a whole bulb or head until you need to break it apart to use. Once you break a bulb apart, its lifespan will shorten, and it will need using up in the next week or so.
Garlic has been shown to have been in use as far back as 5,000 years ago when the Giza pyramids were built. Hippocrates, the Ancient Greek physician actually prescribed garlic for many disorders, such as poor digestion, fatigue, respiratory conditions and even parasites.
Olympian athletes were given garlic to help enhance their athletic performance and as garlic began to spread to other ancient civilization such as the Indus Valley (today’s western India and Pakistan) and China, its use also became valued.
Interestingly, in India at that time, the upper classes would not eat garlic because of its odor and because it was thought to act as an aphrodisiac, it meant that monks, adolescents, widows and others had to also avoid eating it!
Garlic was eventually introduced to the New World by European settlers.
During ancient times, garlic was also thought to cure dog bites and that it could be used to prevent leprosy and smallpox. Although these uses of garlic may seem far-fetched, it was only as recently as 1858 that garlic was proved to be an antimicrobial.
It was the famous scientist Louis Pasteur who confirmed that garlic was an antimicrobial which could kill bacteria and from then on, garlic began to be used as an antiseptic and even became a cure for dysentery during the two World Wars. One sulfide in garlic has recently shown to be 100 times more effective than two antibiotics against Campylobacter bacteria – a common cause of intestinal infections.
Garlic contains sulfur compounds and it is these that offer many of the benefits of garlic. Sulfur compounds can be destroyed when garlic is cooked, and this is why some people prefer to keep their garlic raw! Garlic is also a source of antioxidants that can help prevent damage to the body from free radicals, the molecules that contribute to aging and a number of diseases in the body.
Garlic has been linked to reductions in high blood pressure, although the doses used are quite high – around four cloves per day. One study showed that an aged garlic extract could reduce hypertension over 24 weeks as much as medication could. Garlic is also known to reduce levels of total and ‘bad’ or LDL cholesterol.
Cancer risk has also been shown to have been lowered by regularly consuming garlic. One Chinese study showed that those who ate raw garlic at least twice a week over seven years had a 44% lower risk of developing lung cancer and some specific organo-sulfur compounds in garlic are able to destroy cells involved in one type of brain tumor.
Garlic is also a good source of manganese. Vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
What to Look for When Choosing a Garlic Keeper
Garlic keepers are usually made from high-fired stoneware, terracotta or ceramic. Many will also be non-porous which means it will prevent odors as well as stains from being absorbed into the keeper. Garlic keepers which are high-fired stoneware may also be suitable to use as a garlic roaster in the oven, but always double check the manufacturer’s instruction before placing it in the oven.
If a garlic keeper is fully glazed, it will prevent it from staining and a full glaze can often mean it is suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher. Otherwise, a wipe out with a damp cloth with a little dish soap is often enough to keep it clean.
If you do invest in a garlic keeper which is porous, then avoid using dish soap on it when wiping it out as the soap will soak into it and potentially taint the next batch of garlic stored in the keeper. If a porous garlic keeper is badly stained, then you can use some salt or baking soda on a cloth and use it as an abrasive to remove the stain.
The size of a garlic keeper can vary, from one that is designed to just hold one smaller bulb or head to larger keepers that may store half a dozen or so heads. A larger keeper will usually be necessary if you buy elephant garlic. The opening of the jar should also be big enough to allow you to put the whole bulb in, and take it back out again without too much difficulty.
The lid should fit well to prevent light and moisture from getting to the garlic and it should also be easy to take off and put back on. The lid will often be matching ceramic, terracotta or stoneware, but some may have wooden lids. Like anything wooden in the kitchen, remember that it can be prone to shrinking or expanding with exposure to heat or moisture.
When deciding on the style of your garlic keeper, also think about your style of kitchen and other accessories and look for a keeper that will match in with everything. Also consider your budget. From inexpensive options to more premium designs, there will be a garlic keeper to match your budget.
Keeping Garlic Away from Moisture
If stored under the right conditions, a bulb of garlic can stay fresh for a few months. When garlic is exposed to moisture, it can start to rot, or even mold can start to grow.
A garlic bulb only needs to have moisture on it for as little as six hours for black mold to develop. Mold is more of a risk for garlic producers where it is grown in warmer areas such as the Californian desert and if the bulbs are a little damp when going in or out or storage, mold can develop.
Mold prevention is one of the main reasons that garlic keepers are made from terracotta, ceramic or stoneware, as these materials will absorb moisture. Having ventilation holes in the keeper also allows air to flow around the garlic which will prevent it from getting moist while allowing the garlic to breathe. The holes in the keeper can be anywhere but are often nearer the bottom to allow any heavier gases to escape.
Even if you use a keeper for your garlic, it should still be stored away from the high-humidity and light areas in the kitchen.
The Importance of Temperature When Storing Garlic
Garlic is best stored at room temperature in a dark and dry place with lots of air circulating. Between 60°F and 65°F with relative humidity is usually the best condition, which is why garlic will often not keep as long during winter as our homes are so much dryer.
If stored in higher humidity, this will not only promote mold growth, but will also cause the garlic to sprout. Likewise, if you store garlic in the refrigerator, it will also begin to sprout, in fact garlic will sprout most rapidly when stored at 40°F. Although sprouting garlic is still fine to eat, its taste can be more bitter.
If you do prefer to store garlic in the refrigerator, then pop it in your crisper drawer where the humidity is controlled.
Garlic should also be stored in the dark and the garlic keeper should prevent light from reaching the garlic, which is why it is important to always use a keeper with a lid.
We have seen in this article that the design of the garlic keeper, including its vents, is able to keep garlic at its best for longer and reduces the risk of it becoming moldy. Storing garlic in a keeper at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator will also reduce the risk of it sprouting, and of course, the right garlic keeper will add a touch of style to any countertop!We hope that you have enjoyed reading our article on garlic keepers and that the information has been useful. We also hope that our reviews of some of the best garlic keepers have been helpful, whether you want one for yourself or as a gift for a friend or family member.