If you are a garlic lover like me, you know there is nothing like too much garlic. I like stocking up on garlic because I use it in most of my recipes.
Unfortunately, mold can grow on garlic if you don’t store it properly or if it's way past its shelf life. It manifests as brown spots or white fuzz. Mold on garlic indicates that it has gone bad. Therefore, you should discard it.
This article will discuss the shelf life of garlic, proper storage, signs that garlic has gone bad, and how to ensure that mold doesn’t grow on your garlic.
Additionally, I will give you a few pointers on buying garlic from the store. Read on to get all the information you need about garlic.
Can garlic go bad?
Although garlic has a relatively long shelf life compared to other fresh produce, it can go bad after some time.
The shelf life of garlic greatly depends on how you choose to store it and whether it is peeled, minced, or whole.
Garlic shelf life
When stored properly, garlic that is still in its bulb will last for approximately one month. It may last for longer than a month if you store it in a dry, cool, and dark pantry.
If you buy peeled garlic, be sure to check the expiry date on the package.
Most times, the expiry date is accurate and the garlic will no longer be safe to use past the date. Remember to always keep the garlic refrigerated.
How to store garlic
Proper storage plays a significant role in ensuring that garlic lasts for a long time. If you store garlic properly, it will retain its quality, pungency, and flavor.
We will discuss how to store whole garlic bulbs, peeled garlic, and minced or chopped garlic.
Whole garlic bulbs
I highly recommend storing garlic bulbs whole because once your peel them, their shelf life reduces significantly.
Whole garlic bulbs should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. You don’t have to store them in the refrigerator. The ideal temperature for storing whole garlic bulbs is between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so the pantry would be your best bet.
Additionally, it would be best if the garlic had sufficient ventilation. Do not seal them in a bag or place them inside a drawer.
If you must place them in a bag, don’t use a plastic bag. Go for the mesh or paper materials since they are breathable.
You should store peeled garlic in the refrigerator. Transfer the garlic to a Ziploc bag or airtight container, seal tightly, and store it in the refrigerator.
Note that peeled garlic quickly loses its pungency, so it would be best if you used it within a week.
If you minced or chopped garlic and ended up not using all of it in your recipe, you can store it in the refrigerator for two days.
Place the minced or chopped garlic in an airtight container, pour in a little bit of olive oil, toss the garlic, then seal the container and place it inside your refrigerator.
You must use it within two days because it may develop botulism after that.
Can you freeze garlic?
You can freeze garlic to extend its shelf life. Garlic is quite versatile when it comes to freezing. How you freeze it greatly depends on your personal preference.
You can freeze the bulbs whole and unpeeled or freeze each clove individually, whether peeled or not. You can also chop the garlic before freezing.
Note that frozen garlic will not have the crunchy texture that fresh garlic has. However, its flavor will still be strong.
I recommend placing peeled garlic cloves in olive oil before freezing. This way, the environment won’t be conducive for bacterial growth since there is no oxygen. You can be sure that your garlic will last for a long time to come.
Signs that garlic has gone bad
When you are in doubt of whether the garlic has gone bad or not, check the expiry date first. Store-bought garlic always comes with an expiry date.
If the garlic is not yet expired, but you are still not sure that it is safe to eat, look out for the following signs.
Mold on garlic is the first and most obvious indication that your garlic has gone bad. The mold can manifest as white fuzz or brown spots on the clove.
- Indentations and dark spots
Garlic that is not spoilt should not have any indentation or dark spots. If you notice either before peeing the garlic, discard it as it is no longer safe to use.
- Green sprouts
If you notice that your garlic has started growing green sprouts, its quality has started deteriorating.
The green sprouts are not necessarily unsafe to eat, but they have a bitter flavor. I suggest you remove the green sprouts and use the garlic if it does not have any other sign of spoilage.
Garlic should have a firm texture. If it is mushy, it has probably gone bad.
- Rancid smell
If your garlic has a rancid or unpleasant smell, the chances are that it has gone bad and you should discard it.
How to ensure that your garlic doesn’t grow mold
To prevent mold growth, you should store your garlic at the recommended temperature of between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t store garlic in temperatures below 33 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, you should handle the garlic carefully. Do not rub the bulbs against each other. By doing so, there will be no invasion sites for the mold to grow.
Is mold on garlic toxic?
Garlic mold isn’t necessarily toxic, but it is not pleasant to eat either. Moldy garlic will have an unpleasant bitter flavor. However, you can salvage it by splitting the garlic and removing the sprout with mold on it.
If the other cloves are mushy or show signs of mold growth, do not use them in your dishes.
Mold on garlic manifests as white fuzz or brown spots. It would help if you checked the garlic for dark spots or indentations before peeling them.
What to do when purchasing garlic
If you are buying garlic at the store, check the expiry date. If the expiry date is close by, only buy the garlic if you are sure you will use all of it before then.
You should also check for any dark spots or discoloration. As discussed above, dark spots may be a sign of mold growth, so you are better off buying garlic that has no dark spots.
Other than that, feel the texture of the garlic. It should be firm and not mushy.
Mold growing on garlic is a common occurrence. It is an indication that your garlic has gone bad. The mold can manifest as dark brown patches or white fuzz.
If you notice mold on your garlic, you should discard it as it is no longer safe to use.