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Why Is My Garlic Purple? [Colors & Types Explained]

Why is my garlic purple

Purple garlic comes from a variety of garlic called hardneck.

Although the outer paper-like layer of garlic is tinged purple, the cloves of garlic are still white.

With hardneck garlic, a stalk grows through the middle of each garlic head.

The cloves grow around the stalk and are generally the same size and a little larger than white garlic.

Purple garlic tends to be juicier than white garlic and is milder in flavor.

Garlic Types are explained below;

You are unlikely to see purple garlic at your local supermarket and are much more likely to find them at local farmers’ markets or specialty markets.

This is because white garlic has a much longer shelf life compared to purple garlic.

Many people prefer purple garlic to white due to its milder flavor and prefer to use it in their dishes.

Purple garlic is unlikely to overwhelm the flavors in a dish.

Some find that the flavor of purple garlic stays for longer after cooking compared to white garlic.

Italian purple garlic is a garlic fan-favorite.

They tend to be quite spicy and mildly sweet.

They are popular because they are ready to harvest earlier than softneck garlic.

Italian purple garlic has a longer shelf life compared to other purple garlic varieties.

Purple garlic is used in the same way as white garlic, it can be chopped, crushed, and even eaten raw.

Although the flavor is very similar to white garlic, purple garlic is a favorite because it is much ‘juicier’.

Is Garlic Bad If It’s Purple?

Is garlic bad if it's purple

No, purple garlic is completely safe to eat.

They actually taste great and are a top choice by much over-white garlic due to its slightly milder flavor.

Purple garlic is completely normal unlike garlic that has discolored or dark spots.

Garlic that is turning yellow or born or has dark-colored spots is garlic that is going bad.

Purple garlic is a variety of garlic and is perfectly safe to eat.

You may not see them much because they have a shorter life and aren’t usually stocked in supermarkets because of this.

Instead, if you want to get your hands on them you can usually find them in specialty or farmers’ markets.

Alternatively, you can also grow them at home.

Consuming too much white garlic can cause some side effects such as bad breath or flatulence.

In more extreme cases it can also increase the risk of bleeding, acid reflux, or digestive issues.

In the same way, consuming too much purple garlic can also cause these side effects.

There are some ways to decrease the chance of smelling after eating garlic.

Although purple garlic is a little milder in flavor, it can still cause bad breath when eaten raw. 

There are a few methods to combat this including eating raw garlic with some fat like olive oil.

Eating apples or drinking milk can also help mitigate the smell as well as biting into a lemon or drinking lemon juice.

Is Discolored Garlic Bad?

Is discolored garlic bad

Discolored garlic is a sign that the garlic has gone bad.

This discoloration is usually yellow or brown.

Both colors indicate that the garlic has gone bad.

The natural color of garlic cloves is white, if they have begun to turn a different color this is a sign the garlic has gone bad and should be discarded.

You should not attempt to cut off the discolored parts and use the rest of the garlic clove.

Ensure you throw away the entire garlic head where discoloration has begun to show.

Usually, if the garlic has begun to discolor, the skin will also appear quite dry.

This is another sign that indicates the garlic has gone bad.

The garlic may have green sprouts begin to grow through the middle.

This doesn’t mean the garlic has gone bad, instead, you can just cut off the stalks and use the garlic as you usually would.

Although the taste will be a lot milder.

If your garlic is minced or frozen it may be harder to spot these usual signs of garlic having gone bad.

You might notice that the garlic smells sour or tastes off.

It’s best to not taste it if you can already spot some signs that the garlic has gone bad but if there are no other signs yet it tastes bad, you should discard the garlic.

Is Brownish Garlic Bad?

Is brownish garlic bad

Brownish garlic is a sign that the garlic has gone bad.

Garlic that has turned brown or is showing signs of brown spots should be discarded and should not be consumed.


There are dangers associated with consuming garlic that has gone bad and one of the most obvious signs of garlic has gone bad is the garlic being brown.

This could be patches or spots of brown on the clove or the skin.

Any brown on garlic heads or cloves is a sign the garlic is bad and should be discarded.

Consuming garlic that has gone bad can lead to botulism.

Garlic contains inactive spores of Clostridium Botulinum.

These spores can become activated when the garlic is exposed to warm temperatures, high moisture levels, and has a lack of oxygen.

Botulism can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and cramps.

If medical help is not sought straight away, it can lead to hospitalization and even severe health complications.

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.

Although food-borne botulism is rare, it can happen which is why it’s important to avoid eating garlic that has gone bad.

Another sign that garlic has gone bad is if the garlic begins to smell sour.

This could be raw, minced, or frozen garlic.

If it smells sour this is a sure sign the garlic should be thrown away.

Garlic that has turned soft and mushy has gone bad and should also be discarded.

Garlic that has gone bad does not always exhibit all of these signs, instead, they might only have one or two of these signs.

Either way, if one of these signs is spotted it should be thrown out.

It can be harder to spot whether minced or frozen has gone bad which is why it’s so important to ensure you know how long minced and frozen garlic should be stored.

If you have store-bought minced garlic, follow the expiry date.

If your minced garlic is homemade it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Store-bought garlic will generally last longer due to the preservatives such as citric acid.

Unpeeled garlic heads can last for up to 6 months in the fridge whereas individual peeled cloves can last up to a week.

Chopped garlic will only last for a day or two.

Frozen garlic lasts the longest and can last for up to 12 months in the freezer.

The best way to store garlic is in a dry, cool, and dark area with great air circulation.

A great location to keep garlic fresh is in a pantry in a mesh-wire basket or open brown paper bag.

These conditions prevent garlic from turning bad.