Are you a vampire chaser looking to keep your garlic stock fresh? Perhaps you are like me and love to cook with fresh ingredients but want to know exactly how long is garlic good for before having to throw it away. It is important to ensure your garlic is fresh because the flavor does change with time, which could alter the taste of your dish.
It isn’t a simple answer of course because there are several factors that could contribute to how long garlic is good for, including the humidity of your kitchen, where you are storing it and how you are storing it. With a few modifications, you should be able to keep your garlic fresh in your kitchen for some time.
What Kind Of Garlic Are You Using?
With this I don’t mean, are you using specific breeds from far off countries. I mean, are you looking for the shelf life of pre-chopped garlic? Or perhaps you are wishing to know the freshness of a whole bulb? The form of garlic you are using changes how long you can use freshly use your garlic for.
Fresh, whole garlic will typically last for three to six months, while chopped garlic only for about one week in the fridge. If you purchased a prepared jar of chopped garlic at your grocery store, it should be good for one to two months in the fridge.
How you decide to store your garlic will, inevitably, change the shelf life and freshness of the garlic. If you happen to place your bulb of fresh garlic in your pantry where it might be a little warm and exposed to light, you will see it lasts a shorter time than if you stored it somewhere cool, and dark such as a basement or garage.
If you have broken up your bulb into cloves, you will see that the garlic will last only about a week in a cool, dry place. Peeling the individual cloves will reduce that time even more, so it is best to keep your garlic bulb intact until you are ready to use it.
Maybe you are curious how long is garlic good for if you chop it up and realize you don’t need it all right now. Storage in this case is a major factor in how long your chopped garlic will last. If you know you will be using your chopped garlic soon, then storage in the fridge is fine for up to three or four days in an airtight jar.
If you aren’t going to get to it for longer than that, you may want to consider freezing it. Freezing garlic is something a lot of people don’t think of and therefore miss out on keeping their garlic for longer periods. You can store garlic in the freezer in both whole bulb form, or in chopped/minced garlic form.
If you want to freeze the bulb, simply wrap it tightly in freezer wrap and place inside a freezer bag or container. You will just remove one clove at a time as needed.
If storing chopped garlic in the freezer, you will want to place it in a container which seals out air. You could even wrap little bits in plastic wrap and place inside the container for individual use.
Prepared garlic from the grocery store is probably the easiest way to use garlic, especially if you are a garlic lover like myself. It comes in a jar, with an airtight lid and is pre-chopped. The key with this method of storage is that the garlic is immersed in oil.
This helps the garlic last longer and the manufacturer will include a preservative to extend shelf life. It’s best not to do this yourself and expect long shelf life due to the risk of botulism, though.
If you prefer to keep your garlic handy on your counter but still want to keep it in the dark, dry place, you can purchase a garlic keeper, like the Norpro Ceramic Garlic Keeper which is pretty but functional for allowing your garlic to breathe and yet remain in the dark.
Of course storing your garlic in the freezer will it the longest shelf life possible over all other storage methods. If placing it in the fridge, with proper preparation and handling, your garlic should be good in the freezer for up to a year or more so long as the freezer temperature remains constant.
How Will I Know if it is Not Good?
Garlic doesn’t come with a label or best before date like so many other products on the market. It is sometimes difficult to determine how long is garlic good for just with the naked eye. You can use a few different methods to decide whether your garlic is good to go, or time to toss.
Garlic bulbs should be firm to the touch, and the white peels shouldn’t have any signs of turning gray. Graying indicates age—much like with people! Once you peel a clove, it feels smooth, and there shouldn’t be any brown markings or indentations.
If you notice your garlic bulb is starting to sprout a green vine, this is probably a good indication your garlic should be tossed. The sprout indicates it has been in your pantry or fridge too long and the flavor will be much sharper than fresh garlic will be or even bitter.
Some people don’t mind this flavor, in which case, you can simply snip off the sprout to prevent further growing.
Where Does Your Garlic Grow?
If you are purchasing your garlic from a major chain supermarket, chances are it is turned over fairly quickly, and the life above lines are applicable. However, if you are purchasing from a smaller grocery store, with less traffic and customers, the garlic you are buying may have been already sitting on their counters for some time.
This is important to consider. You could easily grow your very own garlic at home, with a few simple steps and then you will be able to truly measure how long is garlic good for from garden to table. Growing garlic is actually much easier than one would think and is outlined in detail here in this simple to follow video.
With many different variables to consider, the question “how long is garlic good for?” doesn’t have a straightforward answer.
Consider where you are storing it, how it is being stored, and then you should be able to determine the best shelf life for your garlic. No matter, don’t stop using it since it benefits our health in so many ways and plus tastes DELICIOUS! Please be sure to comment below and let me know if this was helpful in your quest to keeping garlic fresh.