Green roots will begin to form in the center.
These roots are not harmful although they taste very bitter.
These green roots don’t mean the garlic cannot be used anymore as they can be removed prior to being cooked.
They do however indicate that the garlic is beginning to go bad.
Garlic should always be white, if it begins to change color to a more yellow or brown color even in small areas, this is a sign it has gone bad.
If the garlic begins to lose its pungent smell or begins to smell sour, this is a sign it has gone bad.
Any garlic exhibiting this should be thrown away to prevent them from contaminating your other garlic.
When garlic becomes soft, then it has gone bad as garlic should feel hard to the touch.
Mushy or sour-smelling garlic should definitely not be consumed and should be discarded.
Usually, garlic that has gone bad will exhibit all of these signs so you can usually tell when it is time to discard it.
Even if garlic has only one or two of these signs it should still be thrown away.
Garlic will last depending on how and where it is stored.
If stored correctly, garlic can last up to 6 months in a party or 12 months in a freezer.
Bulbs tend to last longer than individual cloves, once a bulb has been broken, the garlic begins to deteriorate much quicker.
Unpeeled cloves can last around 7-10 days in a pantry compared to 6 months as a whole garlic bulb.
Garlic that has been peeled and chopped can last around 10-12 months in a freezer.
Frozen cooked garlic can also last around this long.
When you purchase jarred, minced, dried, or powdered garlic they come with an expiration date.
These dates are usually accurate so you should follow them.
Jarred garlic can last around 3 months in a fridge however jarred garlic that has preservatives as citric acid can last much longer.
What happens if you eat bad garlic?
Garlic can contain inactive spores formed by a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum.
If they become active they can cause several issues such as difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
This is why it’s so important to avoid eating bad garlic as the factors that play a big role in activating these spores include lack of oxygen, warm temperature, and high moisture.
These occur when garlic has gone bad.
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 and at this point can still be consumed.
Is it safe to eat old garlic?
Old garlic can be safe to eat if it is consumed after being stored correctly either in a pantry or in the freezer.
The state of the garlic makes a difference in how long it can be stored.
For example, minced frozen garlic can last for 12 months however unpeeled garlic heads last around 6 months in a pantry.
You certainly should not be consuming garlic that is showing signs of having gone off, including changing color, having dark spots, or turning mushy.
In this case, the garlic should be thrown away.
Because it can be dangerous to consume garlic that has gone bad, you should not immediately assume that garlic stored unpeeled in a pantry is safe to eat if it is within the 6 month period. If the garlic shows signs of having gone bad, you should discard it.
Even if garlic has been frozen but when removed, for example, smells sour or clearly has gone bad, it should also be discarded.
Can garlic be toxic to humans?
Clostridium Botulinum can become activated and cause botulism which can lead to nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and cramps.
This compound affects the nerves connected to the mouth, eyes, face, and throat.
This can then lead to difficulty in swallowing, breathing, and double vision.
If medical help is not sought straight away, it can lead to hospitalization and even severe health complications.
A serious side effect of eating too much garlic is a greater risk of bleeding, especially if you take blood thinners or are going through surgery.
This happens because garlic has antithrombotic properties, which means that it prevents blood clots from forming.
Bleeding caused by garlic is fairly uncommon although it can occur especially for those on blood thinners.
Garlic contains fructans which are also found in high amounts in onions, leeks, and asparagus.
Fructan is a carb that can cause gas, bloating, and stomach pain for some people.
Especially for those who have fructan intolerance, consuming foods high in fructan can cause these side effects.
This occurs because the fructan is not completely absorbed in the small intestine.
The fructan travels to the colon in this instance and is fermented in the gut.
Those following a low FODMAP diet, are often advised to limit their garlic consumption.
There is no official advice regarding garlic consumption although studies have shown that consuming 1-2 cloves a day could have health benefits.
Garlic can also be toxic to your pets, including cats and dogs.
Feeding large amounts of garlic to your cats over a period of time can cause them harm.
The chemicals in garlic can enter a cat’s bloodstream rupturing red blood cells.
This can lead to hemolytic anemia which is a very dangerous condition.
Symptoms of garlic poisoning in cats begin to show around 2-4 days after consumption.
Symptoms include vomiting, fatigue, difficulty breathing, collapse, and diarrhea.
Garlic is also poisonous to dogs especially when it has been powdered.
Garlic poisoning can cause damage to red blood cells and cause gastrointestinal distress.
It is best to take your dog to the vet if you suspect they have consumed any amount of garlic even if they are not yet showing any symptoms.
Some of the common symptoms include anemia, bad breath, drooling, lethargy, seizures, and nausea.
Dogs can easily consume garlic through leftovers or from consuming wild garlic.
The latter can be harder to realize as you often won’t know that they have eaten something toxic.
What are the symptoms of garlic poisoning?
This kind of botulism is known as foodborne botulism.
It occurs when harmful bacteria produce the toxin in environments where there is little oxygen.
Symptoms tend to develop within 12-36 hours of ingestion of the toxic garlic.
This depends on how much of the toxin was consumed and so the symptoms can start from anywhere between a few hours to a few days.
Even a small amount of the toxin can make you sick.
Garlic allergy is rare, and if you are allergic you can be allergic to the cooked or raw form, or both.
A garlic allergy happens when your immune system senses the garlic as being harmful and produces antibodies to fight it.
An allergic reaction could happen immediately or within 2 hours of eating or touching garlic.
You could also be intolerant to garlic and not allergic which is more common.
Having a garlic intolerance can cause heartburn, gas, or indigestion.
An intolerance is not caused by the immune system and the symptoms tend to be much less serious.
You might experience symptoms almost immediately or up to several hours after consuming it.
If you are allergic to garlic you could also be allergic to other vegetables including onions, leeks, and chives.
This is because they are all part of the allium family.
The proteins in these vegetables are all similar so your immune system can react to any of them.
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.