garlic shelf life

Does Garlic Go Bad? Expert Insights and Storage Tips

Quick summary: Yes, garlic can go bad. Signs of spoiled garlic include dark spots, mold presence, and a soft texture. Eating bad garlic is not recommended, as it can cause digestive discomfort. Proper storage includes choosing cooler and darker spaces, keeping garlic away from heat and moisture, and ensuring proper airflow.

If you found old garlic in the pantry and you need it to prepare lunch, here are some ways to check if it is still suitable for consumption.

There is almost no salty dish that does not contain at least a small amount of garlic. These vegetables with an extremely strong taste provide a unique aroma, especially when preparing meat, but also for all other salty delicacies. Even delicious bread with the addition of garlic and olive oil will be a real treat for the palate. So we are used to garlic going into almost everything we cook or bake. 

What we all know for sure is that fresh garlic lasts an extremely long time. However, you may not know that this time can be from a few months to a year, depending on the conditions in which you store garlic. In our article, read all about the durability of this food and the correct ways of storage.

How Long Does Garlic Last?

When we talk about garlic, durability will be related to storage conditions, but some guidelines exist. The golden tip is not to peel all the garlic cloves but only the ones you intend to use when cooking that day. The wrapper of each clove is the key to longevity.   

Intact garlic

For long-term storage, it is best to keep the whole head of garlic intact. Do not separate the lobes unless you intend to use them. Such an intact head will be safe in good conditions for at least six months. Sometimes it can last up to a year and maintain its quality.      

Peeled garlic cloves

Peeled garlic will quickly begin to decay. If you have peeled the cloves, you should keep them in the fridge, and that way, they will be fine for the next week, maybe two. If you have additionally chopped garlic, you need to consume it within one day. An excellent trick to extend chopped or minced garlic for an extra day or two is to put it in olive oil, which will preserve the quality.

Frozen garlic 

Surely you can freeze garlic in any form. Whether you have green sprouts, garlic heads, just one garlic bulb, separated unpeeled clove, or peeled ones, they can all be frozen just as same.

Can Garlic Go Bad?

Garlic can spoil just like any other vegetable. If you are not sure if garlic is completely correct, try to use it in heat-treated dishes. It is not good to eat rotten garlic raw because it can cause indigestion. Here are some signs of expiration.  

Sign 1: It has dark spots on it 

You can sometimes see dark spots on unpeeled garlic, but also when you take off the skin. Usually, dark stains are a sign of spoilage, and at the very least, you need to heat-treat such a product or throw it in the trash.

Sign 2: Mold is present  

If moldy threads have appeared on the garlic, it is a sure sign that you need to throw everything in the trash. Never eat such garlic raw.  

Sign 3: It became soft  

The correct garlic should be stiff and crisp. If you notice that the clove is soft when you grab it between your fingers, it means that it has expired.

What Is The Best Way To Store Garlic? 

The older generations knew very well how to keep garlic bulbs in the pantry to keep them good and usable throughout the year. There are a few quality tips to follow, and you are free to fill the pantry with a month-long supply of garlic.

Tip 1: Choose darker and cooler spaces

Always choose darker places and cooler temperatures for individual unpeeled garlic cloves. This does not mean a refrigerator, but rather a more convenient pantry with a slightly lower room temperature.   

Tip 2: Keep it away from heat or moisture   

Be sure to avoid wet areas as this will favor the formation of mold. But also do not keep garlic in overheated places or near heat sources.  

Tip 3: Allow airflow

Stale air will also favor mold formation, and thus the garlic will spoil much sooner. The pantry should have a good airflow that will keep the food fresh.   


How can you tell if garlic is bad?

You can tell if garlic is bad by checking for signs such as soft or mushy cloves, a moldy appearance, or a strong, sour smell. Fresh, good-quality garlic should have firm, plump cloves with a pungent aroma.

Is it okay to eat bad garlic?

No, it’s not okay to eat bad garlic as it could have a moldy or spoiled appearance and may emit an unpleasant odor. Consuming bad garlic might lead to digestive discomfort or an undesirable taste in your food.

Why my garlic is yellow?

Yellowing garlic could result from aging or environmental factors, such as exposure to light or moisture. While it might not be spoiled, its flavor could be milder and less pungent compared to fresh white garlic.

How long will garlic last in the fridge?

Peeled garlic should be perfectly fine in the refrigerator for about a week. Maybe a maximum of two weeks. If you have chopped it, the duration is shortened to a day or a maximum of two.

How long does garlic powder last?

Garlic powder can last for about 3 to 4 years if stored in a cool, dry place away from light and moisture. However, its potency and flavor may gradually diminish over time.

Can old garlic cause food poisoning?

Old garlic that has developed mold or an unpleasant odor could potentially harbor harmful bacteria and cause food poisoning if consumed. It’s important to avoid using garlic that shows signs of spoilage to prevent any health risks.


Most of the dishes we prepare as well as special delicacies, involve garlic. This food has imposed itself in cooking with the intense aroma that it gives to every dish. 

If you buy a kilo or two of garlic, it is very likely that it will last for several months in your kitchen, so it is advisable to store it in the right conditions and thus ensure long-term quality.

Always keep garlic in a cool, dark place where there is sufficient air circulation. If you notice dark stains on garlic or changes in texture, it’s likely time to freshen up your supplies.

See more:

*image by Wirestock/depositphotos

About The Author

Scroll to Top