How Long Does Garlic Last Before It Goes Bad?


It’s powerful and pungent and allows some of the most incredible dishes on the planet to taste even better and more exotic.

We’re referring to garlic in all its gorgeous garlicky glory.

Garlic is a member of the onion family and loved as a culinary herb. When it’s crushed, grated or sliced, its beautiful essence comes alive. The heady aroma is also strong and makes a definite statement to any room it enters or any breath it touches.

China is the global leader in garlic production, amounting close to 23 billion pounds of it per year. Garlic is loved around the world and been eaten or used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

“Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly…”–Anthony Bourdain

How Long Does Garlic Last?

Garlic will last from just days to up to six months, depending on what form it is in. If you have purchased garlic bulbs, they can maintain their pungent freshness for half a year if you do not cut them but put them away in bulb form.

Food experts recommend cool, dark, dry storage to extend the shelf-life of your garlic bulbs. Keep them away from sunlight, and place them in a breathable container. Plastic would not be suitable, in other words and neither would sealed.

Unpeeled cloves will last for 10 days to a month. Peeled cloves will hold their own for a few days to a week in the refrigerator. Peeled and chopped garlic will last for a few days in the refrigerator.

Can Garlic Cloves Go Bad And How To Tell?

Yes, garlic cloves can go bad in a few distinct ways. Maybe you’ve had a bulb of garlic stored away for months. You go to cut a clove off, and it’s become hard and dry inside and inedible.

Another easy way to recognize an old garlic clove is by the green sprouts it’s starting to develop. The garlic clove isn’t dangerous to consume because all you have to do is snip away the sprout, but most folks say the taste is not as fine and in fact, becomes sharper.

Some have stored peeled garlic cloves in the fridge and find a moldiness to them after a couple of weeks. The look is not appealing, and again, the taste has been compromised, and the aroma is off-putting.

How Do You Store Fresh Garlic And What’s The Best Way?

You can store fresh garlic safely by not suffocating it. As we briefly mentioned at the beginning of our article, fresh garlic needs to breathe. That is why plastic bags or sealed containers are the enemy of the culinary herb.

Most chefs advise three packaging products to choose from to maintain fresh garlic. Number one is a wire basket (or mesh). The second container would be a small bowl with ventilation holes like a ceramic garlic keeper. The third item to try is the simple, brown paper bag. These three all avoid sprouting and mold formation.

How Long Can You Keep Peeled Garlic In The Refrigerator?

You can keep peeled garlic in the refrigerator for up to three weeks at the most, and sometimes, these peeled cloves can start to go bad after two weeks.

Since the peeled garlic is going into refrigeration, then sealing them in containers is necessary. If you leave ventilation holes, your entire fridge contents will quickly absorb the pungent aroma of the garlic.

Food safety specialists advise safely storing peeled garlic cloves by refrigerating them in clear plastic containers.

How Long Does Minced Garlic Last In The Fridge?

Minced garlic will last in the refrigerator for a long time and even up to a year. It is sold in a jar which means that the garlic usually contains preservatives, such as citric acid. That is why it doesn’t go bad quickly.

How Long Does Garlic Last In The Pantry?

As we touched upon earlier, garlic can last in the pantry for up to six months. Fresh garlic bulbs are the only form that can survive in the pantry. The outside layers or papery husk protect the inside layers from exposure to the air.

Once the whole garlic bulb is broken, individual cloves will last unpeeled for up to 10 days stored in the pantry.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Garlic?

You can get seriously ill if you eat bad garlic because food poisoning called botulism can occur.

Some people store their peeled cloves in oil before refrigerating, but this homemade technique can cause issues. Botulism can spread when not exposed to oxygen like infusing garlic in oil.

It’s advised to only consume commercially prepared garlic-in-oil products because those contain salt or acid for proper preservation.