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How long does garlic last? Does it go bad?

It is hard to imagine cooking without garlic. This makes it a common product in almost every kitchen.

But how long does garlic last? Garlic will go bad quickly if you put it somewhere humid and bright. If you put whole garlic bulbs in a dark, dry, and cool place, they will keep well for up to 6 months. To extend the shelf life of garlic, you can peel the cloves and freeze them in airtight containers or bags. Frozen garlic lasts from 6 to 12 months.

Continue reading to learn more about storing garlic properly and alternative ways of preserving peeled garlic longer.

Does Garlic Go Bad?

Garlic is a kitchen staple. It is hard to imagine making flavorful dishes without this very aromatic vegetables.

Unfortunately, garlic does go bad and there may be different reasons for it.

You may be someone that buys garlic but doesn’t use it as often as you don’t like the heavenly flavor it adds to the dishes. Or, you may happen to have too much garlic and not manage to use it up before it starts to go bad.

Fortunately, garlic doesn’t go bad as quickly as other vegetables do. But it does require proper storage conditions.

If you are not good at providing necessary conditions for fruits and vegetables or use garlic very rarely, it is best to buy a bag of powdered garlic. It is not as aromatic as fresh garlic but much easier to store. It will last you over 12 months and all you have to do is to keep it in a dry and cool place.

How to Store Garlic?

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When it comes to storing fresh garlic so that it keeps longer, there are three things you should avoid. Humidity, warm temperatures, and light will make your garlic go bad quickly.

Thus, it is best to store fresh garlic in the pantry. If the pantry is not an option for you, the cellar will also work so long as it is dark, dry, and cool there. The area where you keep garlic should also be well-ventilated.

No dish requires an entire bulb of garlic unless you are cooking something in a huge batch. You usually need a clove or two. In such cases, to make the garlic last longer remove as many cloves as you need carefully. Keep the rest of the cloves attached and the skin still intact.

The Best Way to Store Garlic

It is best to store garlic at room temperature. Here are a few rules to follow if you want your garlic to last as long as possible.

  • Buy fresh garlic. The fresher the garlic is when you purchase it the longer its shelf life will be when you bring it home. Make sure the cloves are firm and intact.
  • Dry it before you store it. If you are growing your own garlic, let it dry for a week after harvesting. Newly harvested garlic contains moisture and it may go bad quickly if you pile the bulbs one onto another still wet.
  • Store garlic in a cool place. Garlic keeps well at cooler temperatures (around 60 °F).
  • Keep garlic away from light and moisture. This is the best way to extend the shelf life of garlic.
  • Store garlic uncovered. Store garlic bulbs in a basket uncovered. Paper bags will work too.

Should You Store Garlic in the Fridge?

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Whole unpeeled garlic bulbs are not recommended to be stored in the fridge. If you put bulbs of garlic in the fridge they will soon sprout. If you refrigerate garlic bulbs in plastic bags, they may also mold.

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While using sprouted garlic is okay, sprouts are signs that your garlic is close to going bad. If the sprouts are the only thing ‘wrong’ with your garlic, just cut them off and use the remaining parts.

The only time when you should store garlic in the fridge is when you have extra peeled garlic cloves. Transfer peeled garlic cloves into an airtight container or sealable plastic bag and store in the fridge.

How Long Does Garlic Last?

If you store whole garlic bulbs in proper conditions, they will keep well around 6 months at room temperature.

Separated garlic cloves that are still unpeeled will keep well for only 4 weeks. This is why we recommend removing as many cloves as you need while keeping the remaining part of the garlic intact.

Finish one bulb of garlic and only then start a new one. This is the best way to make the most out of your product.

Peeled or minced garlic cloves stored in an airtight container or bag will stay fresh for only a week in the fridge.

How to Make Garlic Last Longer?

Here are a few ways of extending the shelf life of garlic if you are not sure you will be able to provide the necessary conditions at room temperature.

  • Store Garlic in the Freezer

If you can’t provide proper storage conditions for garlic at room temperature, the second-best method is to store it in the freezer.

It is best to freeze garlic cloves peeled. You can freeze the peeled cloves either whole or minced. Simply put them in a zip-top bag or an airtight container and store in the freezer.

Garlic stored in the freezer does change its texture becoming less crunchy. But the taste remains the same. Thus, it is recommended to use frozen garlic in dishes that require heat cooking.

Frozen garlic will last from 6 to 12 months in the freezer. It should be noted, however, that the sooner you use frozen garlic the more flavorful it will be.

  • Preserve Peeled Garlic in Vinegar or Wine

If you have peeled too much garlic and don’t know what to do with it, it is best to preserve it in wine or vinegar.

Additionally, this method of storing garlic is suitable not only for those who can’t provide proper storage conditions but also for those who want to have peeled garlic ready at hand at all times.

Garlic preserved in vinegar is a good option for those who don’t want it to undergo any flavor changes. Wine, on the other hand, enhances the flavor of garlic.

Put the peeled garlic cloves into a jar and fill it in with vinegar or wine. Add spices to taste, and put the jar in the fridge.

Peeled garlic preserved in wine or vinegar will last up to 4 months in the fridge.

Preserving Garlic in Oil – Should You Do It?

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While you may see numerous recipes of preserving garlic in oil long-term, don’t do it. Garlic preserved in oil has a high risk of being contaminated with bacteria.

If you have peeled garlic cloves that you want to store in the fridge, preserve them in oil not longer than 3 to 4 days.

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You can roast the garlic and preserve it in oil for up to 14 days.

Signs that Garlic Has Gone Bad

There are a few signs that will help you tell that your garlic has gone bad.

  • There are spots on the garlic. If there are rotten or black patches on the garlic bulbs, it is time to toss them.
  • Garlic has lost its firmness. Touch the garlic cloves. If they are mushy, your garlic has gone bad.
  • Garlic has changed its color. If garlic looks fine from the outside and is firm, it doesn’t mean that it is good to eat. Peel a clove of garlic and have a look at the color. If it is more yellow than white, discard it.

When it comes to garlic preserved in liquids, discard it if you notice mold or yeast in the jar.

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