Garlic is small but making sure it stays fresh in your refrigerator for longer is a task. That is why it’s important to know how long does garlic last? And what you can do to make it last longer?
Unless you’re an obsessively organized buyer, you’ll always end up with more garlic than you need. You’ll store it in a glass jar or container and the next time you know, it’s been 4 months and you still haven’t seen the bottom of the jar yet!
If that happens to you too, here’s what you need to know about garlic’s shelf life and storage tips…
How Long Does Garlic Last?
You can buy peeled and unpeeled garlic. And they both will have different lifespans in the refrigerator and outside.
Unpeeled garlic that is stored whole lasts for 6 months if you store it properly. I’m not talking about a single unpeeled garlic clove. I mean the whole garlic head intact with a bunch of unpeeled garlic attached to the head.
And you don’t have to store the unpeeled garlic head in the fridge for it to last for 6 months. Just make sure you find a dry, cool, and dark place away from sunlight to keep it fresh. It should be away from sunlight and from heat.
What about a single unpeeled clove of garlic? How long will that last? The lifespan of a clove, unpeeled, is about 3 weeks when stored in the same manner.
In my tips to store garlic better (more on this later), I mean the importance of keeping garlic attached to the head and unpeeled for as long as necessary. This keeps the garlic fresh and healthy and aromatic!
Once you peel garlic, its shelf life gets cut by more than half. First off, it’s impossible to peel garlic with the head still attached. Secondly, even if you can do that, it won’t matter because the slimy surface of the garlic is going to be exposed.
Don’t store peeled garlic at room temperature for more than a few hours. The best way to store peeled garlic is in the refrigerator in an airtight container or jar.
This should keep the garlic fresh and ready to cook for 7 days. If you chop or slice the garlic and then store it, it will last for like 2-3 days.
Here’s a trick to extend the life of peeled garlic that you happen to have chopped into smaller pieces already – store it in olive oil and keep it in the fridge. This will keep the pre-minced or pre-chopped garlic fresh for 3 or maybe 4 days.
How to Know When Garlic Is Bad and Rotten?
There are a few ways to know – that will also be so obvious to you – that garlic has spoilt.
I would say that looks are the first thing but that’s not always been the case with me. I’ve always found that I can tell by the smell of garlic whether it’s fresh or spoiled. As soon as you open the jar, the pungent odor will literally hit you in the face. It’s strong and unmistakable.
Signs that you can see and feel with your fingers were you to hold a clove of spoiled garlic in your hands are as follows. Squishy and soft garlic that looks more transparent and watery than a fresh garlic clove. Discoloration is also an important sign of spoilage. If the garlic turns green or develops sprouts around the edges, it’s spoiled.
Having said all this, I think I need to say this as well. Spoiled garlic will not kill you. But it will ruin the flavor and texture of the dish you’re putting it in. And if you’re sensitive to food in general, it will upset your stomach causing bloating, nausea, or gas.
Too much garlic in food is never a good thing unless you’re making spaghetti Aglio olio. It can overpower your recipe. It’s like when you accidentally put too much salt.
How to Store Garlic Properly?
Here are a few tips for storing garlic at home…
Storing garlic at the right temperature can make a huge difference. At room temperature, around 60 to 65 degrees and with moderate-level humidity is ideal. It can last the longest outdoors, whole and unpeeled, in this way.
If you are unable to store garlic outside because of dry air, you can also buy a clay pot to store it in. This will keep the garlic properly conditioned to thrive for longer without depriving it of air which will only cause the garlic to rot and spoil quickly.
Storing peeled garlic in the refrigerator, keep it in an air-lock cabinet. Every fridge has it. A ‘crisper drawer’ it’s called that stores veggies for a long time.
After a few days, garlic will rot and start to sprout at colder temperatures. Cooked or pre-minced garlic, however, lasts for a shorter time. Leftover garlic can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days in an airtight container.
You can store whole peeled garlic in a small olive oil jar. This will soften the garlic slices and retain their freshness for longer, making them useful for salad dressings, spicy oils, and other cooking recipes.
In case if the garlic starts to develop sprouts or blackens, throw away the garlic and the oil immediately.
One thing I hate doing is throwing away vegetables. This includes garlic because nobody wants to cook with bad garlic, right? Once you know how long garlic lasts, you can do more to keep it fresh for a little while longer than before.
The easiest way to keep garlic healthy and fresh is by storing it at room temperature, unpeeled, and whole. In that manner, garlic can last for weeks without spoiling or stinking up the whole kitchen.
Chances are that you aren’t storing your garlic right. But after reading this article, you’ll be able to do a few things right that’ll prolong the shelf life of garlic!