How Long Does Fresh Garlic Last?

If you love to cook with garlic, you know that this is an ingredient that is best when it is fresh.

Everyone has also had the disappointing experience of going to the refrigerator or pantry to get your garlic for a recipe and it has sprouted or has molded!

This is a big disappointment, particularly if there was quite a bit of the bulb left.

Fresh garlic lasts unpeeled for about six months when stored properly. Peeled cloves will only hold up for about a week when kept in the fridge. Any peeled garlic that is not stored properly can go bad in about three days.

If you want to learn more about how long fresh garlic will last, you need to read on!

Peeled Garlic

As mentioned above, peeled garlic only lasts for about a week and that is if they are stored in the fridge. Chopped garlic has to be stored in the fridge in some oil to last longer than the end of the day.

In most cases, chopped garlic will only be good for about 12 hours before it will brown and start to taste bad.

Peeled garlic has a very short shelf life, no matter how you choose to store it, which is why most chefs will advise you not to peel any more garlic from a bulb than what you need for each recipe.

This is not a perfect solution since the bulb itself will still lose freshness over time, but you can mitigate some of your waste this way.

Unpeeled Garlic

This is the best way to keep your garlic as a garlic bulb that has not been peeled will last for about six months. The location where you store the bulb can matter since the fridge, or a garlic keeper will stave off the sprouting process for longer.

If you have purchased a large amount of garlic, you might be able to keep some of the bulbs intact for this whole time period before you use them.

However, most people are buying garlic to use for cooking and this means that at least some of the garlic will be peeled.

Garlic keepers are a great way to preserve the partially opened garlic bulbs that you have in your kitchen. You can invest in these for a very affordable cost and they will help make your garlic last for much longer.

This is because the keeper will keep the right amount of air circulating to the bulb and will prevent it from getting light and sprouting.

Factors Affecting Fresh Garlic Shelf Life

Storage Conditions:

I bet you didn’t know that where you store your garlic matters! Fresh garlic prefers a cool, dry environment. Keep it away from direct sunlight, and store it at room temperature – around 60-65°F (15-18°C). Humidity is the enemy, so don’t let your garlic get too cozy in a damp place.

Quality of Garlic at Purchase:

Let’s talk about picking the perfect garlic at the store. Choose bulbs that are firm and free from any soft or mushy spots. Avoid ones with sprouts – those little green shoots can make your garlic bitter over time.

Exposure to Air and Light:

Garlic loves a little privacy. Once you break a bulb, the cloves are exposed to air. Limit their exposure time to maintain freshness. And remember garlic doesn’t appreciate too much light – it can speed up the sprouting process.

What Kinds of Locations Make Garlic Last Longer?

When you are thinking about where to store your garlic, you might realize that the only place you knew was an acceptable storage location was the fridge.

This is a good idea for peeled garlic or partial cloves but it is not really the right storage solution for garlic that has not been opened yet.

Garlic bulbs that have not been peeled that are stored in the fridge might get slightly moist due to the environment and this can lead to them sprouting or molding.

For unpeeled garlic bulbs, storage in a dry, cool, and dark place with air circulation is best. This might be a pantry or a darker side of the kitchen.

You will want to make sure that any garlic that you have stored does not get exposed to heat either.

Keeping your garlic fresh is easier than you might have thought and the fridge is really not the right location for storage of unpeeled bulbs that have a lot of their shelf-life months ahead of them still.

How do I Know if My Garlic is Still Good?

There are some obvious signs that garlic has exceeded its ideal storage timeframe. Mold and sprouting are good indicators that the bulb has gone bad.

If these obvious signs of spoiling are not present, you might be wondering how to tell if your garlic will not be flavorful anymore. Cooking without garlic that has the right flavor can ruin a dish and you will want to avoid this.

Garlic that has started to go bad and that might have less flavor might be soft and squishy to the touch. If you peel a clover and it is more white than yellow, the flavor will probably be poor as well.

As stated before, signs of green sprouts are always an indicator that the flavor of your garlic is going to be poor.

Garlic should be yellowish, firm, and have a garlic smell when you peel it. If these factors are not present, your garlic is probably past its prime and needs to be thrown out. You can peel a few other cloves in the bulb just to check that the first one you grabbed wasn’t a fluke.

However, most of the time, the whole bulb will be in the condition of the clove that has failed inspection.

Signs of Fresh Garlic Spoilage

Okay, you’ve got your garlic in the ideal conditions, but how do you know when it’s gone bad? Let’s be garlic detectives:

Changes in Appearance:

Keep an eye on the color. Fresh garlic cloves should be white or off-white. If they turn yellow or brown, that’s a sign of aging.

Texture matters too. If your garlic feels mushy or rubbery instead of firm, it might be time to say goodbye.

Odor Changes:

Take a whiff. Fresh garlic has a strong, distinct aroma. If it starts smelling off or musty, it’s time to part ways.

Mold Growth:

Mold is never a welcome guest. If you see any green or blue spots on your garlic, it’s a clear sign of spoilage.

Keeping Garlic Fresh is Easy With the Right Storage

Make sure that you keep in mind the right storage solutions for your garlic. Preventing waste of perfectly good cooking ingredients is easy if you make sure that you store your garlic bulbs in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place that does not have a lot of light.

Peeled garlic will not last for very long, so avoid peeling any garlic you are not planning to use right away. Being strategic with your use of your garlic will keep your bulbs good for much long

You should also consider getting a garlic keeper to prevent wasted garlic due to moisture or excessive light and heat in your kitchen.

Garlic keepers are a simple solution and they will improve your garlic storage so that you do not have to throw out half bulbs of garlic all the time.

Storing garlic correctly can be easy and you will love that you do not have to waste part of your purchase each time due to storage issues.

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