Do you ever buy fresh peeled garlic? I've seen it at BJ's in huge plastic jars like this. Our local food cooperative buys it in bulk and packages it in plastic clamshell containers. I love using fresh garlic; the pre-pressed jarred kind is pretty awful. But I don't like peeling the stuff.
(Sometimes I feel like such a spoiled American when I express such sentiments. We can get our garlic pressed and jarred, in whole heads, or in peeled cloves. How pampered is that? Very.)
But anyway, because there are only two of us (OK, three with Simba, but he doesn't beg for garlic much), even the smallest clamshells held too much peeled garlic for me to use up without some of it going moldy. Until I figured out The Solution: a paper towel.
No kidding, folks, this really works. The mold is caused by moisture. So now, when I bring home the clamshells, I take all the garlic out, put an unfolded paper towel in the bottom with the excess hanging over the edges, pour the garlic cloves back in, fold the paper towel over them, and close the clamshell. The paper towel seems to wick the moisture away from the garlic. Whenever I open the clamshell to take out some garlic, the paper towel is always just slightly damp. I take it out, drape it over something for a few minutes to let it dry out while I go about my cooking, and later put it all back in.
It really, really works. I have garlic in my refrigerator, right this very minute, that I bought in November. Scout's honor.
By the way, my favorite way to peel garlic, when I need to, is using a silicone sleeve like this one (not meaning to endorse this specific one, although the picture is a link to the product if you're interested). You just put a few cloves in it and roll the sleeve around on your counter. Tip it vertical, and the papery skins and the cloves tumble right out. It works amazingly well, keeps your fingers from smelling like garlic, and can do several cloves at once.
And did you know that rubbing your garlicky smelling fingers on stainless steel will neutralize the smell? That's so, like, woo-EE-ooo!
Speaking of garlic, don't forget to go check out Weekend Herb Blogging over at Real Epicurean tomorrow night. You'll be sure to find a recipe or two that tempts your taste buds. And you still have time to submit an entry. 3pm Sunday is the deadline!