Does Garlic Go Bad?

Does garlic go bad? Garlic is a vegetable widely used in cooking as a flavoring. It’s also used because of the health benefits it provides (especially aged garlic). It’s mostly used in small quantities. Because of that many people wonder whether it goes bad, how long it can be stored and how to tell if it should be discarded for quality purposes. Garlic’s shelf life depends on how (in whole bulb, separate cloves or chopped) and in what conditions it’s stored. There are also some ways to extend garlic’s shelf life even more. Let’s start with storing garlic properly.

How To Store Garlic

As long as you leave the garlic bulb whole, it should be stored in temperature of ca. 60°F (15°C) in a dry place. Also, make sure it isn’t illuminated by direct sunlight. The pantry seems to be the best place to store whole garlic bulbs. Please bear in mind that storing it in warmer conditions will reduce its storage time. If you’ll decide to put it into the fridge, it’ll probably sprout pretty quickly. If it’ll sprout, you should just cut off the shoots and the garlic is fine.

Once the garlic bulb is broken, individual cloves (as long, as you leave them unpeeled) can be stored in room temperature, but please remember that their shelf life is pretty short. If you’ve chopped the garlic, remember to put it into the fridge.

There are also a few methods you might want to try out if you’d like to store garlic for an extended period of time. First one of them is freezing garlic [1]. You can freeze garlic in at least few different fashions. If you want to, you can also make garlic butter and freeze it, it’s also a vital possibility to preserve garlic for longer.

If you’re searching just for health benefits and not to use garlic as a flavoring, you can buy garlic oil supplements or even aged garlic extract. There are many companies like Kyolic that sell that kind of products.

(credit:lowjumpingfrog )


Shelf Life Of Garlic

As you should know by now, shelf life in most cases depends on how well the product is stored. The same rule applies to garlic. As long as the bulb is whole, it should be fine for even half a year. Once it’s broken, each unpeeled clove should stay fine for up to a month, maybe a little longer. If you’ll peel the cloves, the storage time reduces noticeably. If you’ve chopped your garlic, it will be fine only for a few days, maybe a little longer. Because of that, if you don’t plan on using the whole bulb within a month, freezing it after breaking it and scooping a few cloves seems very reasonable.

If you’ve bought a garlic supplement (like aged garlic extract), try to use the whole package before the expiry date.

How To Tell If Garlic Is Bad

Probably the easiest way to check if garlic should be discarded is by simply analyzing its looks. If garlic starts to get brown, the cloves are starting to get yellow instead of white, or the whole bulbs seems strangely mushy, those are major signs of garlic going bad. If garlic’s appearance or smell are noticeably altered, that’s a pretty sure sign that that garlic should be thrown away either. Please bear in mind that garlic sometimes sprouts – it isn’t a problem, you just need to cut the sprouts. There’s another thing you should remember – garlic’s taste alters with time. It gets a little sharper. Some people don’t mind it, others do. It’s simply a matter of personal preferences.

As you can see, garlic can go bad and its shelf life depends on how well you store it and in what form. If you’d like to store garlic for an extended period of time, consider freezing it or making garlic butter with it and freezing it.