Garlic is a staple in the kitchen. Almost anything it touches becomes magic, providing a distinctive flavor most people love. Keeping it in the fridge will make it last longer. But, how long exactly?
The shelf life of garlic in the fridge depends on its preparation. Fresh peeled garlic will last about a week in the fridge, and minced garlic will last only one to three days. Adding oil to minced garlic can extend its shelf life in the fridge for up to seven days.
Watch out for signs that garlic has gone bad in the fridge. Discoloration, loss of pungent smell, and turning squishy are some tell-tale signs of spoilage.
Read on to learn more about how long garlic lasts in the fridge and tips on how you can make it last longer.
How Long Does Garlic Last in the Fridge?
Storing garlic in the fridge is an excellent way to extend its shelf life. Nonetheless, take note that cold garlic can sprout within a few days. While it is edible, some people might not like the flavor because it may be bitter.
Hence, to avoid the garlic from sprouting, it is best if you do not store the whole head of garlic in the fridge.
Instead, consider mincing or peeling it first to retain its optimal flavor even after several days. Even so, it will not last more than a week, especially if you want to enjoy its optimal flavor and aroma.
On average, peeled garlic will last one week in the fridge. Nonetheless, because it has already been peeled, it might lose its pungency within only a few days, even if it remains good for up to one week.
How to Peel Garlic Like a Pro
It might seem like an easy task, but a lot of people do not know how to peel garlic. This is especially true for those who do not often cook. So, if you are clueless about how to do so, here’s a quick step-by-step guide to follow:
- Start by separating the garlic bulb from the cloves. To do this, put the garlic on a flat surface, like a chopping board. Put your palms on the top. Then, pull the loosened skin off the garlic.
- Alternatively, you can also use a knife. As with the step above, put the garlic on a flat surface. Place the flat end of the knife on the top and push your palm.
- If you need to peel a lot of garlic, the good thing is to put them in a jar and container with a lid or cover. Shake it until the skin loosens.
How to Make Minced Garlic Last Longer
Once the garlic has been peeled, it will have a shorter lifespan, even in the fridge. You can keep it only for one to three days before it starts showing signs of spillage. It is best to use it soonest to keep its flavors fresh.
You can extend the shelf life of minced garlic for a few days in the fridge:
- Start by peeling the garlic. Do this by following the steps we have earlier talked about.
- After peeling garlic, you can now mince it. When dealing with a large quantity, the best approach is to use a food processor. Blend or process garlic to achieve the consistency that you desire. You can also use a knife, but only if you are dealing with a small quantity of garlic.
- Put minced garlic in a clean and dry container. Top it with oil. If possible, pick oil with a neutral flavor, which will let you preserve the natural flavor of garlic.
- The oil should cover the garlic in the jar, but leave at least half an inch space. Next, seal it tightly and put it in the fridge. It will last up to seven days.
Can You Store Garlic in the Freezer?
Absolutely! Freezing garlic is an excellent way to extend its lifespan, making it longer-lasting than simply putting garlic in the fridge. Whole bulbs will last up to six months in the freezer. On the other hand, peeled and minced garlic, when frozen properly, will last a few weeks.
Whole Garlic Heads
You can freeze garlic in several ways. One of the easiest is to freeze whole garlic heads. Put them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze. Do not forget to write the date on the label, making it easy to monitor if it is still good to use.
If you are dealing with peeled garlic, on the other hand, you can spread them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cover it with plastic wrap, then freeze overnight. Wrap the garlic in foil, place it in a freezer-safe bag, label it with the date, and put it back in the freezer.
On the other hand, if it is minced garlic, coat them with oil after mincing. Spread on a lined baking sheet and put in the freezer overnight. Then cut them into chunks, put them in a freezer-safe bag, and freeze again.
Again, how long does garlic last in the fridge? Peeled cloves can last for a week in the fridge. Meanwhile, chopped garlic can last for a day unless you put them in a container and cover them with olive oil. This way, they can last for 2-3 days.
How to Know If Garlic Has Gone Bad
Unsure if the garlic in your fridge is still good to use? If there is no date you can use as a reference, below are some things that indicate that garlic has gone bad.:
The easiest way to tell if garlic is no longer fit for consumption is through its appearance. If it is unpeeled, watch out for rotten spots on the skin. Black and brown spots may be present, or a general discoloration.
Meanwhile, if it is peeled garlic, a yellow hue can be present. Mold can also be present, especially in minced garlic in a jar with oil.
Most people will easily recognize garlic’s mildly spicy and pungent aroma, which is how it should smell when fresh. It has an intense but pleasant smell.
If it smells off, it is a sign that it has gone bad. It might lose the aroma that is distinctive in garlic. The longer you store it in the fridge, the more the aroma can fade.
3. Touch the Garlic
Especially if it is whole or peeled garlic, you can also feel it to see if it is still in good condition. It is firm when it is fresh. As the days pass, it will become softer, especially in a not-so-ideal condition. It may turn soft or mushy. This is because of exposure to external elements leading to its spoilage.
What to Do With Garlic Before It Goes Bad
Once the garlic has gone bad, such as when there is already significant discoloration or when it loses its intense aroma, it is best to throw it away. On the other hand, if it is getting there but you see that you can still save it, act immediately.
Below are some things to do to avoid wasting garlic:
1. Make a Garlic Bread
Before it goes bad, use garlic in the bread so you won’t have to throw it away. In a small saucepan, mix oil, butter, and garlic. Put in a microwave and heat for one minute.
If on a stove, put on moderate-low heat for three minutes. Toast bread and remove once the color is golden-brown. Brush it with garlic oil and return to the broiler for at least 30 seconds or until you achieve the desired color.
2. Garlic Oil
You can use garlic oil in many ways, making it another good way to salvage garlic that is already going bad. It has antifungal properties, making it great for treating various skin problems. You can also use garlic oil to reduce hair fall by massaging it into your scalp.
Plus, it can control a toothache. Not to mention, it contains polysulfides, which will help in lowering blood pressure and relaxing vascular muscles.
Making garlic oil is easy.
How to Make Garlic Oil
- Crush the cloves and sauté in a pan with olive oil.
- Heat up to eight minutes.
- Remove from the pan and transfer in a jar.
- Let it sit for a few minutes until it cools and seals tightly.
While using garlic in oil can be a good idea, take note of the possibility of botulism. The latter produces bacteria with the same spores you will find in the soil.
It produces a toxin that can result in food poisoning. The best way to prevent such is to consume garlic in an oil mixture as soon as possible, even if it is refrigerated.
3. Make Garlic Sauce
If you have garlic about to go bad but still in good condition, consider making the sauce so you won’t throw them away:
- Peel garlic and put it in a food processor with kosher salt.
- Add one tablespoon of oil slowly from the side until it flows to the bottom and blend.
- Scrape the side, and add another teaspoon of oil slowly, making sure it pours from the side to the bottom.
- Blend it again. It should turn out creamy and emulsified.
- Add oil and lemon juice. Continue for at least 15 minutes until you achieve the desired consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions – Shelf Life of Garlic in the Fridge
How Long Does Garlic Last at Room Temperature?
At normal room temperature, whole garlic can last three to six months. To achieve such a lifespan, you must store them in an area with a temperature of 55 to 60° F.
In higher temperatures, the shelf life is shorter. It can also get easily bad once you break the garlic when peeling it. In such a case, the lifespan can only be about ten days at room temperature.
What Is the Best Way to Store Garlic?
The best way to store garlic is to keep it in a cool and dry place. Keep it unpeeled unless you are ready to use it. Peeling or mincing garlic will significantly shorten its shelf life, especially with improper storage.
Freezing is also an alternative, but it can degrade its flavor. If you will freeze or refrigerate, consider adding oil with a neutral flavor.
Is It Safe to Eat Garlic Once It Has Gone Bad?
In most cases, it is still safe to eat garlic even if it has gone bad, especially if the only sign of spoilage is discoloration. On the other hand, if it already has molds and other foreign elements, it is best to discard garlic immediately.
Even if you can still eat it, the flavor and aroma may no longer be the same, so that it might be useless.
What Happens When Garlic Goes Bad in the Fridge?
When garlic goes bad after spending too long in the fridge, one of the first things that happen is that it discolors. Black and brown spots will form, as well as mold. It also develops an unusual smell or can lose its pungent aroma. Plus, it can get soft.
In Closing – How Long Does Garlic Last in the Fridge?
The shelf life of garlic in the fridge depends on its preparation. Peeled garlic will last up to one week, although refrigerating it can minimize pungency.
On the other hand, mincing garlic will give it a shelf life of only one to three days. You can extend this up to seven days by adding a neutral oil and keeping it in a container with an air-tight seal.
Pay attention to the different ways to tell if garlic has gone bad from the fridge. Look at its color and watch out for black, brown, or gray spots.
A yellow discoloration can also be present. Another thing to do is to smell. If it loses its pungent aroma, it might have gone bad. You can also feel it, and if it is too soft or squishy, it is best to discard the garlic right away.