Pre-minced, jarred garlic is so popular because of how convenient it is.
It can be hard to beat the ease of reaching in your fridge to add tons of aroma and intense flavour without the hassle of peeling, chopping or mincing garlic yourself.
Many still prefer homemade minced garlic as the flavour is more potent than preserved garlic.
To do this, you want to break up a garlic bulb and break off the cloves, peeling each one.
Once each clove has been peeled, it is best to mince it in a blender or food processor.
Do this until it has achieved your desired consistency.
The great thing about mincing your own garlic is that you can mince it to your preferred consistency.
This could be anything from a fine paste to a more chunky consistency.
If you are mincing a small amount of garlic you can use a knife or a garlic press.
One method of preserving minced garlic is in oil.
The oil helps to protect the garlic from the air, preserving the flavour and colours.
This bacteria can become activated in garlic that has gone bad and when ingested, it can cause serious symptoms. There is also a risk of storing it in oil in a fridge for a longer period of time.
So, keep this in mind.
If you want to use this method, ensure it is kept in the fridge no longer than a week.
You can however store it in the freezer for several months.
Store-bought minced garlic in oil has preservatives to prevent bacteria from growing.
This is why it’s important to keep an eye on how long you store the garlic.
How can you tell if minced garlic has gone bad?
It can sometimes be easier to notice when whole garlic has gone bad as they usually turn soft, have a sour smell or develop dark spots.
Similar signs will appear in minced garlic, the most notable being an off smell or mold appearing.
If minced garlic begins to change color this is a sign that it has begun to go bad.
Store-bought minced garlic will have an expiration date so you should follow this.
These are usually accurate and consuming this garlic past its expiration date can lead to some side effects so it’s best to avoid it.
Minced garlic may not necessarily show signs that it has gone bad but if you sense that something is a little different with it, it is best to be on the safe side and discard it.
Many cuisines and recipes call for large amounts of garlic and if you cook with it often, you might find yourself running out quite quickly, and storing it for long periods of time won’t be necessary.
If you only use it sparingly however you might find that your garlic goes off quite often.
In this case, it is best to be mindful of this and only purchase, prepare and store the right amount of garlic for you.
Can I store minced garlic in the fridge?
Minced garlic should be stored in an air-tight container so as not to spoil.
This is only a short-term solution as it can quickly go off, especially if it has been minced at home.
Store-bought minced garlic contains preservatives such as citric acid meaning you can keep it in the fridge for a longer period of time.
Minced garlic can be stored in the freezer for a much longer period of time.
Although despite this some people don’t like to do this as frozen garlic is not as fresh.
The best way to store homemade minced garlic in the freezer is to place peeled cloves in a food processor or blender with some water.
Blend or process until it has been minced and then place these ice cubes.
Once this has been frozen, you can then remove the garlic cubes and store them in an airtight container in the freezer.
This makes it easy to pop open the container and use a cube or two in your food.
Because they can last for a long time in the freezer, you might find this a fairly convenient way to have garlic on hand at all times.
Does garlic go bad in the fridge?
Depending on the state of the garlic, it can last anywhere from a day to 6 months in the fridge.
Although an unpeeled garlic head can last up to half a year in the fridge, once it has been broken it can begin to deteriorate much quicker.
Keep this in mind and aim to use up the entire bulb as quickly as you can once you have broken it.
If you don’t think you will, it might be best to mince or chop the garlic and store it in the freezer.
This way you can access it whenever you need to without it going off.
This is why many choose to store chopped garlic in olive oil as it means it can last for a few days longer.
If you predict you will use the garlic in a few days’ time, you can store it in olive oil to prevent it from going bad.
Although you should keep in mind that there is a higher risk of botulism when storing it in oil so ensure you do not keep it for too long.
Garlic tends to store better in cool, dark areas whereas the cold in fridges can cause it to sprout.
Although sprouted garlic can still be consumed, it tends to taste quite bitter.
If you do store garlic in the fridge, it is best to keep it in a fairly dark area away from other vegetables and produce.
Light and moisture can be garlic’s nemesis as they can cause it to go bad much quicker.
Garlic is best stored at room temperature in a dry, dark area.
Keeping the garlic in something like a mesh basket can help it last longer.
Is it bad to eat old garlic?
Garlic that has gone bad can cause botulism, causing symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and cramps.
Botulism is caused by Clostridium Botulinum which remains inactive until certain conditions cause these toxic spores to become active.
If they do become active they can cause several issues such as difficulty breathing and swallowing.
These toxic spores can become active when exposed to high levels of moisture and lack of oxygen and this is seen in garlic as dark spots, sour smells, or mold growth.
Dark-colored patches or spots on garlic are signs that the garlic has begun to rot and that microbes have begun to grow.
The garlic sprouts that begin to grow in the middle mean that the garlic has begun to lose its flavor but at this point can still be consumed.
Garlic that has been stored safely can be consumed after a long time.
The state of the garlic plays a big part in how long it can be stored.
For example, minced frozen garlic can last for up to a year, however, chopped garlic only lasts for a day in the fridge.
This is why it’s important to be mindful of how long you have stored garlic and how long it can be stored.
You certainly don’t want to be consuming garlic that might have gone bad but is showing no signs of this.
It can be harder to spot whether frozen, refrigerated minced garlic has gone off as it is likely to show.
Although generally if it has gone bad it will change color, smell, and taste.
If any garlic has gone past its expiry date or the recommended storage date it should be discarded.
Any garlic showing even one sign of having gone bad should also be discarded because you don’t know how it could affect you or others.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.