Worldwide, garlic is one of the most used vegetables. It is used in various recipes for additives, bread, and other foods. In addition, garlic comes with several health benefits, including fighting heart disease and decreasing blood cholesterol levels.
But just how long does garlic last in the fridge? The shelf-life of garlic depends on how and where you store it. If you store garlic properly, you can prolong its shelf-life by at least five to twelve months.
Garlic belongs to the amaryllis family of cooking additives like chives, leeks, onions, and shallots. You can purchase it as fresh garlic bulbs, refrigerated peeled garlic cloves, jarred minced garlic, or roasted garlic.
One of the most common methods of storing garlic is refrigeration. This article discusses how long you can expect the vegetable to last when refrigerated. Keep reading for more information.
How Long Does Garlic Last In The Fridge?
The shelf life of garlic is fairly long, depending on the storage method. For example, a properly stored whole garlic bulb can stay for three to six months when stored on the kitchen countertop or pantry. Generally, unpeeled cloves last longer than pre-minced garlic.
Peeled garlic cloves can last for up to two months in the pantry. That’s because peeled garlic bulbs deteriorate more quickly. Whole peeled garlic has an extremely shorter shelf life, and unpeeled cloves last for anything between seven and ten days.
When storing garlic in the fridge, its shelf life increases significantly. Fresh chopped and minced garlic will likely last for one week in the fridge. If you freeze chopped or minced garlic in a closed container in the fridge, it can last two to three months.
The market has several processed garlic products like dried garlic, frozen garlic cloves, powdered garlic, and jarred minced garlic. These usually have their shelf life specified through a clear sell-by date.
Commercial garlic usually has citric acid and other preservatives included in it. If you want to avoid ingesting any of these preservatives, make your own chopped, minced garlic and dip it in olive oil. Refrigerating that kind of garlic can significantly prolong its shelf life to two to three weeks.
Signs That Garlic Has Gone Bad
You wouldn’t consume spoiled garlic for any reason, would you? So to avoid that, you should learn how to tell you to have spoiled garlic simply by looking at it.
Garlic that has just begun to deteriorate has brown spots on its cloves. Also, it has signs of discoloration, with its characteristic white color progressing to something yellowish.
Besides, when you smell garlic, your nostrils are hit by a sharp odor. The cloves taste hotter than usual. When you look closely, you will notice green sprouts beginning to emerge from the cloves.
The sprouts make the garlic taste bitter and virtually unusable. Cutting them off gives your garlic a milder flavor. But that doesn’t mean that garlic is good for consumption.
Furthermore, fresh garlic feels firm when you touch it. So, if your garlic feels marshy, it is likely to be going bad. That’s also true when the garlic cloves have papery skin.
How To Prolong The Shelf life Of Garlic
Whether you harvested garlic from your kitchen garden or bought it from the grocery store, the method you use to store it determines how long it can last. Here are some ways to store garlic and give it a longer shelf life:
1. At Room Temperature
The best garlic to store at cool room temperature is the undamaged cloves. Put the cloves in a loosely woven basket or mesh bag and put them in the pantry.
If the garlic cloves have flexible tops, why don’t you convert them into braids and hang them? However, garlic bulbs with stiff central stalks can shatter when braided.
Garlic cloves last longer when kept at a cool room temperature of 60°F to 65°F under moderate humidity.
So, it isn’t easy to store garlic in winter due to the heating inside the room. The heat dries up the air, shriveling the garlic cloves and making them rock-like under the papery skin.
2. In The Fridge
Another way to prolong its shelf life is to store garlic in the crisper drawer. Only that when garlic comes from the fridge, it may begin to sprout within the first few days.
So, if you choose to store garlic in the fridge, use it immediately you take it out. If the garlic sprouts, plant it in a garden pot on your windowsill.
Leftover chopped garlic or peeled cloves can last for several weeks when kept in the fridge in an airtight container. That’s also true for homemade minced garlic. However, the store-bought minced garlic includes an acid to preserve and extend its shelf life.
3. In The Freezer
You can also freeze garlic to extend its shelf life. Both chopped and minced garlic are great for keeping in the freezer. Another great option is frozen cooked garlic.
Once you have peeled the cloves, put them into a blender or food processor with some water. Pulse until you get an even garlic mince. Put the puree in ice cube trays or a freezer bag. Once the cubes get frozen, store them in an airtight container.
4. In The Dehydrator
It is also possible to safely store garlic after dehydrating it. First, cut your peeled garlic cloves into thin slices. Then, place the slices on a baking sheet and put them into a barely warm oven or dehydrator. The ideal temperature for dehydrating is 115°C.
Wait until the slices become crisp and store in an airtight container intact or after chopping in a blender. Dried garlic has a long shelf life on the kitchen counter.
5. In Olive Oil
After drying garlic slices, you can use them to make flavored garlic oil. Put some slices in a jar and add some olive oil.
That softens the garlic slices and creates a flavored oil great for cooking and making salad dressings.
Be careful not too fresh chopped garlic in oil since that encourages botulism, which is something you do not want to mess with. If you put fresh garlic in oil, put the mixture in the fridge and use it within three weeks.
6. Roasted In The Oven
Roasted garlic is not only delicious but stays in the freezer for a considerably long time. Moreover, since it is mellow, roasted garlic works in any recipe. It also makes a great spread on bread or in addition to pizza.
You can roast garlic cloves by putting them in a lightly greased casserole dish. After putting in the Oven, bake at 350°F for 45 minutes until the bulbs become soft and squishy.
Alternatively, you can bake a whole garlic clove by placing it on a baking sheet. Then, turn the Oven to 350°F and wait for 45 minutes.
Peel the garlic bulbs to remove the cloves. Put the garlic cloves in a freezer bag and freeze them. The shelf life of garlic in that state is about a week.
7. Pickled In Vinegar
Did you know how long garlic can last when pickled? Pickling is the best way to mellow your garlic. The resultant whole cloves have a milder flavor, making them great inclusion in salads. You can also serve the cloves as nibbles together with olives.
The best way to make refrigerator pickles is to toss peeled garlic cloves in a jar full of salt and vinegar. Then, keep the garlic in the refrigerator until you need it.
Side-Effects Of Bad Garlic
Eating bad garlic can result in botulism. Even though rare, foodborne botulism is a serious, potentially fatal condition. It is caused by clostridium botulism, a bacterium that forms inactive spores present in garlic and other low-acid vegetables. In the right conditions, the spores get activated.
Oil dipped fresh garlic creates the perfect conditions for botulism – low acidity, lack of oxygen, moisture, and certain temperature. That’s why storing garlic requires the right conditions.
Botulism can damage the nerve cells to the face, mouth, throat, and eyes. Its symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, double vision, nausea, and difficulty swallowing. If you have any of these symptoms after consuming garlic, consult a doctor immediately.
How To Avoid Dealing With Bad Garlic
You can avoid having bad garlic by using it in good time. For example, you could make garlic bread, a straightforward, easy-to-create, tasty treat. Or, you could add some chopped garlic into a bowl of peanut butter. You can then mix the garlic-flavored peanut butter in your bread.
After baking it, you won’t stop craving the great-tasting bread. You can serve garlic bread with pasta of several kinds. Besides, there are numerous recipes in which you can include garlic before it gets bad. So, don’t stay with your garlic for too long until it becomes stale. Use it as soon as possible.
What’s Sprouting Garlic Good For?
The moment the first green sprout appears on a whole garlic bulb, it’s ready for planting. That’s why you should learn how to plant garlic with green roots instead of throwing it away.
Put some soil in a pot and slot into it the sprouting garlic bulbs. Water it frequently until the green sprout emerges above the soil.
When planting several garlic cloves, space them four inches apart. That will give them the space they need to thrive.
Once you have planted the garlic, the only maintenance you require is watering it. Once you can produce lots of garlic, you will have no reason to get store garlic.
If you do that with all garlic bulbs that appear to be going bad, you will have no reason to budget for them. So go ahead and make a profitable kitchen garden.
Now that you know how long garlic lasts when exposed to different conditions, you can extend its shelf life with greater ease.
When fresh, garlic cloves can last for a long time when stored in a wire mesh basket to encourage airflow. With that, you do not have to put the garlic in a refrigerator to preserve it.
However, peeled garlic might not survive in the open air for long. That’s why refrigerating or freezing is the best way to extend its shelf life.
With a stock of well-preserved garlic, you can develop creative dishes using a mix of recipes. So, do not shy away from storing your garlic in creative ways.