How Long Does Garlic Last?

Garlic for many households in the world is a common kitchen herb used to enhance your food taste.

Whether you want to make that garlic bread, beef rice or the tender and glossy garlic shrimp garlic, it enhances your flavor.

This is mostly because the nutritious and health benefits value that has been scientifically proven to be acquired when one uses garlic. Below are the common benefits of using garlic:

  • it adds flavor to your food
  • garlic prevents and treats cold
  • it can help you grow beautiful hair
  • garlic has vast medicinal advantages which include the ability to detoxify your blood, help reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer disease and reducing your blood pressure among others.


I can discuss the endless benefits of garlic but, if you are using bad garlic then the negative effects are abounding.

Check my article about How to Make Ginger Garlic Water.

Can garlic go bad?

Garlic is a wonderful herb that is used in various cuisines in the world today. Although, I have known garlic to have a longer shelf life than most other items in your kitchen it can also get spoilt.

All these depend on the manner of storage used and if you employ the methods that may help extend the shelf life.

How to know whether garlic is bad

You can know if your garlic has gotten bad already by:

Its appearance

You will need to be very observant to be able to tell. Bad garlic has brown spots on the cloves and the color changes from the usual white to yellow or brown.

In addition, green roots are formed from the middle of the clove as sprouts. Note that the sprouts are not usually harmful although they are known to make the garlic bitter which means, before using it you should remove the root forming or better yet discard this clove.

The smell

Who doesn’t know the spicy, pungent and mellow smell of garlic? When you can’t smell the garlic anymore or it has a sour scent you need to know that chances are that it is already spoilt.


Good garlic should have a firm feel when you touch it. Over time garlic becomes soft but it should not be mushy.

Some of the common side effects of using spoilt garlic

Garlic like any other foodstuff when spoilt and subjected to our bodies can cause a rare food poisoning disease called: Clostridium botulism which is where bacteria form spores on the low acid vegetable.

Some of the symptoms expected are dizziness, double vision or blurred vision, speaking and swallowing difficulty. Some instances indicate paralysis occurrence that makes it hard to breathe.

To be on the safe side it is necessary to visit a doctor as soon as you experience this symptom after consuming spoilt garlic.

How long does garlic last?

It’s very tricky to tell how long garlic can last because it’s one herb/vegetable that is assumed to last longer than any other vegetable.

In order to understand the duration of time that the garlic may take will depend on whether the garlic is ground of whole.

For the whole bulb of garlic

Most fresh vegetables don’t have a sell by date. This means that you have to use your experience to know the lifespan.

The whole bulb can go for as long as one year or few days with the determining factor being your mode of storage.

If you store the garlic properly then it may take any time from 3 to 5 months before getting spoilt. However, once you break the garlic, expect it to decrease in quality pretty quickly.

If you have individual unpeeled garlic you should know that it will take around 2 weeks before getting spoilt.

How long does processed garlic take

When you have your garlic peeled and chopped you can expect to have them stay for no more than 10 days in the refrigerator while it can take close to 12 months in a freezer. My only concern with storing the garlic in a fridge is that it mostly decreases in quality.

In addition, the processed garlic sold in the market like powdered garlic, frozen garlic and dried garlic have their expiry date written on the packets or jar. Nevertheless, the processed garlic have preservatives like citric which make the garlic lose its authenticity.

My advice to you is press your own garlic at home and preserve in olive oil for like 2-3 weeks in a fridge.

Storage of garlic

If you will concentrate on storage of the garlic the shelf life will be increased. Follow the steps below for storage.

The head should be left intact

Garlic’s freshness is determined by the presence of the bulb. The moment you break the garlic then the duration span of freshness is reduced. Since the broken garlic can only be fresh for not more than 10 days it is important to use them first before breaking a new one.

Keep it dry and dark

Note that garlic’s worst enemy is light and moisture as it aids the growth of moulds. Always store the garlic at room temperature, dry and dark place while making sure there are proper ventilation and air circulation. Make use of baskets, pantry and open paper bags.

For longer preservation purposes if you have a large supply of garlic from your farm or the market the best trick is to keep the garlic clean and dry and at room temperature, they will remain fresh up to about 12 months.

Below are the steps to follow for this kind of preservation.

  • After harvesting or buying the garlic, lay them in a shady place for a number of days.
  • Be patient to allow the garlic to evenly dry up.
  • Take them of the place and lay them on a screen as you shake off the dirt.
  • Handle them with care so that they are not bruised because this will cause them to spoil from bacteria infestation.
  • Remove the roots leaving about an inch of the roots as well as the tips.

Store them in a cool dry place with normal humidity and preferably 50 degrees F.

Another method of drying is where you don’t break the tops rather you braid them and then hang in a well-ventilated place.

Roast the garlic in the oven

Below is another perfect method to store it for long

  • Peel the garlic and slice them thinly
  • Arrange them well in a baking tray
  • Bake them in the oven at 140 degrees
  • Reduce the temperature to 130 degrees
  • Leave them in the oven to dry.

These slices may be used for seasoning your food or can be ground to form garlic powder and used to flavor your food. This can last for 3 to 4 years if you store in an air tight container and dark place.

You can pickle the garlic

Garlic cloves can be pickled in apple cider vinegar this can increase the lifespan to 4 months in the refrigerator. You need to follow the few steps below

  • Peel the garlic cloves
  • Add them to a container of apple cider vinegar
  • Seal the container then place in refrigerator
  • You can add any flavor like salt if you need to

Freeze the garlic

This is another sure way to lengthen the garlic shelf life. It is said to lose its crunch but other than that the taste and flavor remain the same. Always ensure your freezer is at 0 degrees as this will determine its safety. Below are the steps to follow in freezing the garlic

  • Wrap your garlic in an air tight bag/plastic wrap/foil
  • In a resealable freezer bag, place your bag.
  • Freeze it.

This will be used within 6 months. When you need the cloves remove the garlic cloves and return the rest to the freeze.

You can also freeze it with olive oil by following the steps below

  • Mince, crash or blend the garlic to form a puree
  • I part of garlic should be added to 2 parts of olive oil
  • Mix the ingredients well
  • Keep the mixture in a freezer

The good news is that the oil never freezes so when you need it for your recipes that are flavored with garlic, you just scoop the amount desired.

Temporary storage in a fridge

There are times you find that you have crushed more garlic than needed, at this time you can store it in a fridge for 1 – 2 days.

As for the cloves keep them in your fridges crisper drawer, however, note that when you store the garlic at this place it will start sprouting within days so you may want o use it as soon as possible.

How do you store peeled garlic?

If you have a lot of garlic already peeled for a particular recipe you can store in the fridge. However, ensure to store in an airtight container to prevent the smell from filling your fridge. Use it in a few days to avoid sprouting and spoiling.

You can also store minced garlic in a freezer if you don’t want to add oil for preservation.

In conclusion

If you love garlic like I do, you will find that you have been using the garlic even after it gets spoilt and the good news is now you know how long it lasts in freshness.

The benefits of using fresh garlic abound but always use it moderation because when used in excess it can develop some bad side effects.

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