Garlic is an excellent food flavoring agent in many cuisines worldwide. Depending on the recipe, dishes can accommodate in raw, cooked, sauteed, and minced form.
However, chopped or minced garlic is one of the best ways to the allium vegetable. Whether at home or commercially, the preparation of minced garlic involves keeping it in an airtight container. It would be best if you scooped a spoonful whenever you want to add garlic to your food.
Minced garlic has a long shelf-life when properly stored. If the jar remains unopened, minced garlic can stay in the pantry for 18-24 months. In the refrigerator, garlic can last for up to three months. It is possible to extend the shelf-life of minced garlic by adding certain preservatives.
This article discusses whether or not you need to refrigerate minced garlic and how well you can do it. Read on for more.
How Long Garlic Last Generally?
Before mincing and putting garlic in a jar, how long does it last? It depends on whether you have whole garlic bulbs, cloves, or smaller pieces. Here is an overview of how long you can expect garlic to last, depending on the form in which it is:
1. Fresh Garlic Bulbs
You can place fresh garlic bulbs in a pantry for six months without going bad because of the protection provided by the papery cover. If you grow garlic in your garden, take one bulb at a time and twist the ends before hanging it in a cool, dark space. With that, you’ll have enough garlic to use until you harvest another crop.
2. Broken Garlic Bulbs
After breaking a garlic bulb, its shelf-life reduces drastically. However, when still covered in paper, garlic cloves can last for ten days when stored in a cool, dry space.
3. Peeled Garlic Cloves
Peeled garlic cloves may not last for more than a day in the pantry. You can keep it as jarred garlic, which is then refrigerated. Alternatively, you can put the peeled cloves in an airtight plastic bag before refrigerating.
For a much longer shelf-life, you can put the peeled garlic in a jar and store it on a shelf or in the refrigerator. The resultant product is called garlic pickles.
4. Minced Garlic
Instead of storing whole peeled garlic cloves, you can process them further by mincing them. You can keep fresh minced garlic in the fridge for up to seven days. Alternatively, you can freeze minced garlic for up to 12 days.
Besides homemade minced garlic, there’s the option of store-bought garlic. It is also suitable for storage in your refrigerator and can last for at least three months. An unopened far of minced garlic may last up to 24 months when kept in the pantry. The jars come with a best-by date, which indicates when the garlic will still be fresh.
Does Minced Garlic in a Jar Require Refrigeration?
Minced garlic may or may not need refrigeration, depending on whether it is homemade or store-bought. It also depends on how long you intend for it to last.
Manufacturers add preservatives such as citric acid to prolong minced garlic in a jar. However, that doesn’t mean that the garlic would last indefinitely.
Signs of Garlic Gone Bad
Before you even mince garlic, it’s essential to know whether or not it’s fresh. Eating spoiled garlic can cause severe sickness and food poisoning. The following are three ways to isolate bad garlic:
Spoiled garlic cloves usually develop brown spots. So instead of their characteristic white color, the cloves may also look brown and yellow.
The cloves may also develop green shoots, which show that it’s just beginning to sprout. So, when you see new sprouts forming on the garlic, it isn’t entirely safe for use.
Unlike the browning or yellowing cloves, green sprouts are still edible. However, they don’t taste as good as you would wish. If you must use the garlic, start by removing the shoots.
How good or bad does your garlic smell? Garlic has a distinct smell, which is why it is a preferred additive to food. So, if it’s giving off an odor that isn’t normal, it is likely to have gone bad.
Watch out for garlic cloves that are losing their smell or are developing a standout sour aroma. It would be best if you eliminated the bad garlic to prevent it from spoiling the other bulbs and cloves.
Fresh garlic bulbs remain firm to the touch, indicating that they are still good to use. However, it could have passed its sell-by date when the garlic started to soften. So, isolate any garlic bulbs that feel soft and mushy. If you eat garlic of that kind, you might end up with serious health issues.
Can You Eat Bad Garlic?
Never eat bad garlic since it can cause botulism. Even though rare, botulism is a life-threatening condition. It results from toxins from the clostridium botulism bacteria.
The bacteria releases toxins, which attack the nervous system, potentially causing paralysis. These toxins are potent and deadly.
It exists as inactive bacterial spores living in low-acidic vegetables like garlic. These spores bide their time until when the conditions are right.
In low acidity, limited moisture, room temperature, and oxygen, the bacterium gets reactivated, leading to the development of botulism.
Botulism develops in garlic due to poor storage of garlic in oil. It affects the nerves in the throat, mouth, face, and eyes.
It is a form of food poisoning with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and breathing, double vision, and dizziness.
See your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms after eating bad garlic. Avoid it whenever you’re unsure whether or not garlic is safe to eat. Instead, go and buy some fresh garlic.
How Long Does Minced Garlic Last?
Instead of buying minced garlic in a jar, you can make your own at home. First, peel more than three cloves and mince in a food processor or using a knife. Then, please put it in an airtight container and keep it in a refrigerator for as long as possible.
Even though adding citric acid is essential, you can avoid additives altogether. It can stay fresh if kept in the refrigerator in a tightly-sealed container.
Signs of Minced Garlic Gone Bad
Chopped fresh garlic outside a jar may not last for more than a day without going bad. Contrast that with minced garlic in a jar, which can last for several months. So, how you store minced garlic affects its shelf-life.
The following are signs of minced garlic gone bad:
- The Smell: You can know that minced garlic is gone bad just by smelling it. If it has an odd smell, it is not good to eat.
- Color Change: When stored properly, minced garlic in a jar has a nice cream color. Any changes in the garlic’s color and its liquid make it stale.
- Moldy Garlic: When mold appears on your minced garlic, it goes bad. Stale garlic would have fuzzy parts or dark specs.
- Taste: Fresh minced garlic should taste great. Taste the garlic straight out of the jar or sauté some in a pan. If it doesn’t taste great, it is indeed spoiled.
How to Store Garlic Properly?
It is critical to store fresh garlic properly. While some forms of garlic may need to be refrigerated, other states are great for keeping in a store cupboard. The following are some of the ways to store garlic:
1. Room Temperature
Fresh whole-bulb garlic is best stored at room temperature. Put the garlic bulbs in a large bowl and keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place.
The dryness and darkness prevent the garlic from sprouting. Therefore, it is critical to store fresh garlic in a store cupboard or pantry.
Of course, the space where you store fresh garlic should have adequate air circulation. Improve air circulation by putting garlic bulbs in a wire basket or mesh bag. You would only suffocate the garlic in plastic bags and reduce its shelf life.
The ideal temperature for storing fresh garlic is 60°F to 65°F. Anything colder than that, and the garlic bulbs will sprout.
2. The Refrigerator
Should you refrigerate minced garlic? Chopped and minced garlic needs to be refrigerated for around a week. By that time, you should have consumed the garlic. So put the garlic in a freezer bag before storing it.
You can also store whole garlic bulbs and roasted garlic in the fridge. However, entire garlic bulbs can stay longer in the refrigerator than chopped or minced garlic. Bottled minced garlic develops toxins when kept for too long in a fridge, making it inedible.
Alternatively, put minced garlic in a jar or airtight container in the freezer. Take small quantities from the jar whenever you need to use it in your dishes. Once you’re through, reseal the container and return it to the freezer.
Jarred garlic can stay fresh for months when stored properly. Then, you can keep it on the shelf or in the fridge.
3. The Freezer
The freezer is the best place to store all sorts of garlic – whole-bulb garlic, unpeeled garlic cloves, chopped or minced garlic. Chop or prepare cloves using a blender or food processor.
Once you have a smooth garlic paste or puree, put it into ice cube trays. Put the ice cube trays in the freezer section of your fridge. The garlic has a long shelf-life of up to six months. You may pick a cube at a time to add flavor to your dishes.
4. Dried or Dehydrated Garlic
Dehydrating or drying garlic is also the best way to prolong its shelf life. Thinly slice peeled garlic cloves and dehydrate them in a food dehydrator. Store the dehydrated garlic in a pantry, cupboard, or cool, dry place in an airtight container. Dried garlic can last for a year or so.
How to Properly Store Jars of Minced Garlic?
Pre-minced garlic in a jar is kept on supermarket shelves since it has added preservatives. Unopened jarred garlic is perfect for storing in a cupboard or pantry. However, it would be best if you used it before the expiration date.
Create storage in your refrigerator for all jarred garlic that you have already opened. Tightly seal the jar before refrigerating. When the air gets into opened bottles, it contaminates the garlic and releases garlic flavor to the remaining items in the fridge.
Scoop minced garlic using a freshly washed spoon. Introducing foreign particles can contaminate the garlic and shorten its shelf life. Before using jarred garlic, smell, taste, or look at it to ensure it’s still fresh.
How Do I Know if Minced Garlic Has Gone Bad?
You can know if minced garlic has gone bad by smelling, tasting, or looking at it. Any unusual changes in the taste, smell, and look of the bottled minced garlic may indicate that it has gone bad. Avoid using it.
Does Minced Garlic Need to Be Refrigerated?
Yes, minced garlic must be refrigerated if you have opened the jar and scooped some of the paste. Seal the container tightly and put it in the fridge to keep the garlic fresh for longer.
Can Minced Garlic Go Bad and Make You Sick?
Yes, minced garlic can go bad and make you sick. It can develop toxins that lead to botulism. Even though the clostridium botulinum bacteria is dormant in garlic, it gets activated in the right conditions and produces toxins. It results in vomiting, nausea, double vision, and dizziness.
How Long Does Minced Garlic in a Jar Last in the Fridge?
The time minced garlic in a jar lasts in the fridge depends on how you use it. If you observe proper hygiene and seal the container tightly after every use, you should have the garlic fresh for longer.
The Bottom Line
Yes, you can refrigerate minced in the refrigerator. If you have garlic in a jar, the best time to chill is soon after you have started using it. Tightly seal the container before keeping it in the refrigerator. With that, you can extend the shelf-life of the garlic even further.