For many households in the world, garlic is a common kitchen herb that is used to enhance the taste of different foods. This herb is also extremely nutritious with many health benefits. Some of the most common benefits of using garlic include:
- Adds flavor to food
- Helps prevent and treat colds
- Helps you grow healthy and beautiful hair
- It has vast medicinal benefits, which include the ability to detoxify your blood, reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease and reduce your blood pressure, among others.
With all these benefits, most people prefer to have an endless supply of garlic in their kitchen at all times. But how long does garlic last? This article will answer this question, including tips on how to improve the shelf life of garlic.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Garlic?
While garlic is known to have a longer shelf life than most other vegetables in your kitchen, it can also go bad. The precise answer to how long garlic lasts depends to a large extent on storage conditions. Storing garlic well is an easy and effective way to make sure your garlic retains its quality, flavor, and pungency for as long as possible. It will also depend on whether the garlic is whole or ground. Here is everything to know about how to store your whole, peeled, and minced garlic bulbs.
How Long Does A Whole Garlic Bulb Last?
Whole garlic that is unpeeled will last quite a while, usually up to six months. Generally, after purchasing or harvesting garlic, you should store it in a cool, dry place.
How To Store Whole Garlic The Right Way
Properly storing your garlic helps improve its shelf life. After harvesting or buying garlic, lay them in a shady location for a few days. This will allow the garlic to evenly dry out. Next, brush off any excess soil and place them on a screen. Handle them with care, so you do not bruise them as this will cause them to spoil from bacteria infestation. Next, remove the roots leaving about an inch of the roots as well as the tips. At this stage, your garlic bulbs are ready for storage. Here are some tips for storing whole garlic:
Leave The Head Intact
The freshness of garlic is majorly determined by the presence of the bulb. The moment you break the bulb, then the duration span of freshness is reduced. Since the broken garlic bulb can only be fresh for no more than 10 days, it is important to use them first before breaking a new one.
Store In A Dry And Dark Place
Note that light and moisture are garlic’s worst enemy while in storage as it promotes the growth of molds. As such, ensure to always store garlic in a cool, dry, and dark place with ample air circulation. Make use of pantry, open paper bags, and baskets.
Ideal Temperature Conditions
For longer preservation purposes, the best trick is to store the garlic clean and dry and at room temperature storage. Store the garlic in a cool, dry place with normal humidity, preferably 55 to 60 degrees F. Storing your garlic at higher or lower room temperatures shortens its shelf life.
When stored properly at the right temperatures, whole raw garlic will remain fresh for up to 12 months. To maximize the shelf life of your garlic, store it in a container that allows for ample air circulation, such as a paper bag, wire-mesh basket, or a garlic keeper with holes.
Once you break the garlic, expect it to deteriorate in quality pretty fast.
How Long Do Unpeeled Garlic Cloves Last?
Unpeeled garlic cloves that have been separated from the head will stay good for about three weeks at room temperature.
How Long Do Peeled garlic Cloves Last?
Once you peel your garlic cloves, you can only use them for up to a week. Seal up the garlic in an airtight container or zip lock bag, and then store it in the fridge. Peeled garlic lasts no more than 10 days in the refrigerator. It can last up to 12 months when stored in the freezer. Note, however, that when refrigerated, garlic tends to decrease in quality over time. As such freezing garlic should be your last resort.
How Long Does Raw Garlic Last After It Has Been Peeled And Chopped Or Minced?
Chopped or minced garlic cloves should be used immediately. However, if you accidentally chop more garlic than you need, the garlic can stay good for about 5-7 days in the refrigerator and 10-12 months in the freezer.
How To Store Chopped And Minced Garlic
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your chopped or minced garlic longer.
Store In Olive Oil
Chopped and minced garlic can last no more than 24 hours unless when stored in oil. When stored in oil, the garlic can be safely stored for 2 to 3 weeks.
How To Store Minced Garlic In Oil
Simply mix 1 cup garlic to 2 cups olive oil. This way, you won’t have to worry about your garlic mixture freezing solidly. So you can easily scoop what you need for cooking without having to wait for it to thaw.
- Seal it in an airtight container
- Put it in the fridge to use within a day or two.
Do not try to keep it in the refrigerator longer since fresh garlic in oil can develop botulism over time.
Never allow this mixture to stay out of the fridge or at room temperature. Instead, use it directly from the freezer into your food as it cooks.
You can also enjoy your peeled cloves for longer by pickling them in wine or vinegar. For example, pickling your garlic in apple cider can increase the life span of your garlic to 4 months in the refrigerator.
How To Pickle Garlic
- Peel the garlic cloves and toss them in a glass jar.
- Pour in wine or apple cider vinegar until the jar is full.
- Add some extra flavor like salt or herbs to the jar.
- Seal the jar tightly and store it in the refrigerator.
Roasting provides another effective way to extend the lifespan of your garlic.
How To Roast Garlic For Longer Storage
- Peel the garlic and slice them thinly
- Arrange them well in a baking try
- Let them bake in the oven at 140 degrees
- Reduce the temperature to 130 degrees
- Leave them in the oven to dry
- Once dry, you can ground the slices to form garlic powder which you can use to flavor or season your food.
properly roasted garlic can last for 3 to 4 years if you store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
How Long Does Processed Garlic Last?
Processed garlic sold in the market like powdered garlic, dried garlic, and frozen garlic has its expiry dates written on the packets or jar. Note that the pre-minced garlic you buy at the grocery store has been treated with preservatives like citric to enhance its shelf life. But, unfortunately, these preservatives make the garlic lose its authenticity.
As an alternative to enjoy the true taste of garlic, process your own garlic at home and preserve it the right way.
This is another sure way to lengthen the shelf life of garlic. Garlic freezes well whether it is whole, peeled, minced, or chopped. Just ensure your freezer is at 0 degrees to uphold its freshness. Note, however, that frozen garlic tends to lose its crunch but maintains its taste and flavor.
How Long Does Garlic Last In The Freezer?
Frozen garlic can stay at the best quality for about 10 to 12 months.
How To Freeze Whole Garlic Bulbs
Wrap whole, unpeeled garlic bulbs in a plastic freezer wrap or place them in an airtight container. Label the container with the date. Place in the freezer. Remove individual cloves from the freezer as needed.
How To Freeze Peeled Garlic
Alternatively, you can peel, then chop or crush garlic and put it in the freezer for longer storage.
- Peel individual cloves
- Spread them evenly across a parchment-lined baking sheet
- Cover them with plastic wrap and freeze overnight
- Wrap the frozen cloves in foil, seal in a freezer-safe bag
- Label with the date and then freeze again.
How Do I Know If Garlic Has Gone Bad?
Garlic that is going bad will typically become soft to the touch. It develops brown spots on the cloves and changes color from white to yellow or brownish. In addition, green sprouts may start growing in the middle of the garlic clove. Note, however, that these green roots are not harmful but taste bitter and should be removed before cooking.
Can You Use Old Garlic?
Garlic, just like any other foodstuff that has gone bad, can cause a rare food poisoning disease known as Clostridium botulinum, which causes Botulism. Some of the symptoms expected include dizziness, blurred or double vision, speaking and eating difficulty.
The best way to avoid botulism in your garlic is by storing your garlic as a whole bulb and only chopping it fresh for your recipes. If, however, you prefer preparing pre-peeled and chopped garlic, always store it in the fridge.
An important factor to note is that garlic, especially whole bulbs tend to sprout if left in storage too long between uses. Although the green sprouts do not pose any health concern, they often have a bitter taste and are best removed before chopping or mincing.