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I live on a tropical island where it is almost 100% humidity year round and average daily temperature is something like 32 degrees celsius (89 fahrenheit) with nighttime temperatures seldom going below 27 degrees (80 fahrenheit).

I need to store garlic for a long time because I live alone and the supermarkets here sell garlic in large bags with too many to be finished in a week. But everywhere I searched online tells me to store in in cool dark place and never put it in the fridge as they sprout quickly. However there are no cool dark places in the tropics! They usually go bad so quickly and I have to waste a bunch which is a shame because I love cooking with garlic.

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  • Related (but potatoes, which have different moisture needs): cooking.stackexchange.com/q/121210/67
    – Joe
    Mar 7, 2023 at 14:49
  • The advice about the fridge is correct; garlic is a winter-sprouting bulb, and does actually sprout faster in the fridge.
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 7, 2023 at 16:48

2 Answers 2

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A root cellar would be the classic situation: a space dug under a building that’s deep enough that it stays cooler than on the surface. But they can hold a bit of moisture, so may not be best for dried items. (I guess you could put them in a jar, then down in the hole?)

You can also make a cooling jar by taking two unglazed pots, and filling the space between with sand. Keep the sand damp on hot days and it will result in evaporative cooling to keep the insides at a lower temperature. (But again, this is wet, so you might need to protect the garlic from the humidity)

I would recommend talking to older folks on the island. Chances are, some of them remember what techniques were used before modern conveniences to keep food from spoiling, and they would be most likely to work given your climate.

You could also preserve the garlic. It won’t be the same flavor, but black garlic (low temperature fermented/cooked?) has a much longer shelf life than raw garlic.

Another option would be to make friends with your neighbors and split a bag with them.

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  • Also: pickled garlic, and fried garlic, garlic salt, etc.
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 7, 2023 at 16:48
  • You can make garlic salt at home? I assume it used garlic powder, which would require dehumidification and grinding. But good point on the frying. It’s popular in Vietnamese and Indonesian cooking, I think. (Don’t know if it’s typically prepared in advance at home, but you can it commercially made)
    – Joe
    Mar 7, 2023 at 17:25
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    You can make it with powder, but you can also do it with fresh garlic: theyummylife.com/Garlic_Salt
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 7, 2023 at 18:03
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    also you might be able to make the garlic into a paste and freeze as cubes, if you will be using it minced anyways.
    – Esther
    Mar 8, 2023 at 14:54
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They sell the minced garlic in a jar in an oil. That one is better because you won't worry about it going bad. Look for it where the mustard and the sauces are.

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