How long does minced garlic last? Once you've peeled cloves of garlic, they can be refrigerated for a maximum of three weeks.
Garlic isn't only a preferred ingredient on my list when I go out food shopping; it's an absolute essential.
It features in so many of the recipes I cook, and indeed, it is probably as indispensable to me as a cook as is salt-and-pepper.
You can, of course, buy it in many options, from full bulbs to garlic powder, garlic salt, and even minced garlic preprepared in a jar.
No matter how you buy it and use it, it has a remarkable effect on any dish of which it is an ingredient.
It has a strong, intense flavor that takes any dish in which it is used to the next level.
Fresh garlic can be crushed, grated, or finely sliced. Its aroma is unmistakable, and yes, it can even keep vampires away.
Garlic is adored by foodies worldwide, and people eat it not only for its great flavor but also for its health benefits.
Ancient Chinese medicine was the first to use it, so it may come as no surprise to learn that China is the world's leading garlic producer churning 23 million pounds per annum.
How long can fresh garlic last?
Fresh garlic is pretty robust and can be kept for either a few days or up to 6 months, depending on the form you buy.
- Garlic bulbs, for example, will remain pungently fresh for many months (up to 6), providing they remain uncut and the whole bulbs are stored intact in a cool, dry place.
They need to be kept apart from sunlight and stored in breathable containers, preferably not ones made from plastic.
- Cloves of garlic that have been separated from the bulb, but are as yet unpeeled, will last for anywhere from 10 days to one month.
Cloves that have been peeled will be okay when stored in your refrigerator for up to one week. Once peeled and chopped, garlic will keep for a few days in a fridge.
Does garlic go bad, and if so, what are the signs?
Like any foodstuff, garlic will eventually go bad. People often find a bulb of garlic that they squirreled away a few months ago.
When they separate the cloves, they discover that they've turned hard and dry and are basically inedible.
Sometimes you might note that garlic cloves you kept around for a while begin to show green sprouts.
After cutting away any sprouting bits, you will find that they are still safe to eat, but many people reckon that the taste changes and becomes somewhat sharper.
People sometimes peel too many cloves and store the leftovers in the fridge only to find a couple of weeks later (if they're still there) they have started to go moldy.
Not only do they look unappetizing, but they also taste and smell it too.
So we need to talk about the best way to store fresh garlic, and the answer will depend to a certain extent on how long you intend to keep it.
The one thing you should never do when you store fresh garlic is to suffocate it.
As I said at the beginning of this article, it needs to be able to breathe, so you should avoid plastic bags or sealed containers.
Professional chefs recommend the following three packaging methods for storing fresh garlic.
- An open wire or mesh basket
- A ventilated bowl like a ceramic garlic keeper.
- A plain ordinary brown paper bag - doesn't sound exciting but does the job.
Any one of these storage packaging methods should avoid sprouting or mold manifestation.
Storing fresh garlic for a short term
Reiterating what I mentioned above, you should store fresh garlic in a dark, cool, dry location.
It's key to keep the humidity level as low as possible, making mesh or wire baskets and brown paper bags ideal.
- Properly stored fresh garlic will retain its flavor and quality for between four and six months. It's an ideal candidate for pantry storage.
- You can keep unpeeled cloves of fresh garlic for up to 10 days in your fridge.
- You can keep unpeeled cloves of fresh garlic in your fridge for just one or two days providing they are tightly wrapped in plastic food wrap.
Storing fresh garlic for a longer duration
You can freeze a whole bulb of fresh garlic that has not had its outer paper skin removed for up to one year.
- Peeled and chopped garlic cloves can be placed inside a freezer bag and frozen for as long as 10 or 12 months.
Storing home-grown garlic
If you harvested clumps of garlic from your garden and the leaves are still attached, you should allow them to dry in sunlight for a few days.
- Once the leaves have dried, you can trim them off to about an inch above the bulbs.
- Separate the bulbs from the stalk and store them in brown paper bags in a cool dark location. These will be good for several months.
How long can you store peeled garlic in your fridge?
Once you've peeled cloves of garlic, they can be refrigerated for a maximum of three weeks.
Although in some instances, they may start to go off after a couple of weeks.
Peeled garlic cloves do, however, need to be kept in a sealed container.
Beware. If you put them into a ventilated container or, heaven forbid, leave them in an open container, the entire contents of your fridge will soon smell of garlic.
The professional consensus revolves around refrigerating peeled cloves of garlic in sealed clear plastic containers.
How long does minced garlic last?
As I mentioned above, after peeling, chopped fresh garlic can be kept for up to 7 days in your fridge or between 10 and 12 months in your freezer.
But when it comes to processed garlic, like frozen garlic cloves, dried, minced, and powdered garlic, you can usually go by the expiry dates printed on the packaging.
In the majority of cases, these expiry or best-by dates are reasonably accurate and should be observed.
- Ordinarily, a store-bought jar of minced garlic will be okay in your fridge for up to 3 months.
The fact is that commercially processed jars of garlic usually contain preservatives such as citric acid in the liquid, giving them an extended shelf life.
What is the shelf life of garlic stored in a pantry?
I've already touched upon the fact that it will be good for up to 6 months when you store garlic in your pantry.
It is also true that the only form of garlic that survives well in a pantry is whole bulbs.
It's because the outer skin or papery husk protects the inner layers from direct exposure to the air.
Once a bulb is broken down into individual cloves, if left unpeeled and stored in a pantry, they will typically last for up to 10 days.
Eating bad garlic can damage your health?
Yes, it can. Consuming garlic that has gone off can make you seriously ill as it exposes you to a type of food poisoning called botulism.
Although botulism is quite rare, unfortunately, it can not only cause you to be severely ill, but with people who have compromised immune systems, it can also prove fatal.
I know that some people tend to put peeled garlic in oil and then refrigerate them.
However, this is not to be recommended. The reason is that botulism can thrive even when it is starved of oxygen.
However, store-bought jars of garlic are considered okay because the liquid the garlic is suspended in contains salt and acid for safe preservation.
The tell-tale signs your garlic has gone bad
I previously mentioned the signs that garlic displays when it goes bad, but I would like to take this opportunity to go into a little more detail.
1 How garlic looks
The visual warnings that can indicate garlic are going off include brown spots forming on the cloves, and the inside flesh, instead of white, turning yellow and eventually brown.
Green roots will also begin to sprout from the ends. I wouldn't recommend including these roots when you chop or slice garlic, as they taste very bitter.
2 How garlic smells
Love it or hate it, the majority of us are familiar with the smell of fresh garlic.
When it loses its distinctive odor or begins to emit a sour smell, it's a good indication that it has gone off.
If you spot a rotting bulb, separate it from any other bulbs near it to prevent them from beginning to rot too.
3 How garlic feels
Nice fresh garlic is firm to the touch. The older it gets, the softer it becomes. If you pick one up and it feels somewhat mushy, you should discard it immediately.
How much jarred minced garlic equals one clove?
Sometimes a recipe will call up "x" quantity of minced garlic, but most of them tend to talk about whole cloves.
If you happen not to have any fresh garlic and are reverting to using minced, this can put you in a quandary.
So here's a useful list of conversions.
Minced garlic versus cloves
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic equals one clove
- 2 teaspoon of minced garlic equals two cloves
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic equals three cloves
- 2 tbsps of minced garlic equals six cloves
- ¼ Cup of minced garlic equals 12 cloves
Obviously, it's a little bit rough and ready because the sizes of cloves can eventually vary enormously.
However, it's a good generalization and one you can trust when converting for a particular recipe.
Which is better? fresh garlic or pre-minced garlic in a jar?
I suspect you probably know the answer to this one. Fresh food is nearly always better than processed.
But let's do the question justice and go into a little more detail.
The big thing that commercially pre-minced garlic in a jar has going for it is its convenience.
You can use it straight from the pot without the hassle of chopping, crushing, or mincing.
However, garlic in a jar is not just garlic. It also absorbs some of the ingredients in the liquid they sit, such as citric and phosphoric acid.
In small quantities, as in preserving liquid, these acids are not at all dangerous, but they will affect the taste of the garlic.
Another part of the commercial processing of garlic is pasteurizing, which is used as a stabilizing technique to get rid of any unwelcome microorganisms.
Yes, it works well concerning food safety, but I prefer my ingredients to be fresh for one.
There is no clear record of how much nutritional goodness goes to waste when garlic is stored in the preserving liquid.
You also have to read the label carefully to define where it comes from. Much of it comes from either Australia or China.
Will minced garlic go off?
Given that jars of minced garlic contain preservatives in the liquid in which the garlic sits, it will remain good in an un-opened jar for a considerable time.
When stored in a fridge after opening, providing it is resealed, it could last for up to 3 months.
But I think we are all aware that given enough time, any food product, preserved or not, will eventually deteriorate.
How fresh and jarred minced garlic differ
The big difference between fresh and jarred minced garlic is that the processed, jarred variety is already peeled and minced.
Preparing fresh garlic is more of a hassle.
First, you have to separate it into individual clothes; then you need to peel it, then chop or mince it into the quantity called up in the recipe you're following.
Okay, you can use many kitchen tools to make the preparations somewhat easier.
You can, for example, use a garlic press, a Microplane, or even a mini food processor.
Regarding the flavor of the two types of garlic, the fresh variety has a vibrant garlicky, slightly hot taste while the jarred variety has a much milder taste.
You can always cross-refer to the conversion chart I inserted above if needed.
Mind you, I'm a bit of a garlic fiend, so I usually end up using more than the recipe requires anyway.
It's why my family and I aren't bothered too much by Dracula and his horde.
For me, fresh garlic scores every time, but you can't deny the convenience of the jarred stuff when you're in a hurry.
The other good thing is that it is not very expensive.
There are another couple of useful points about minced garlic in jars.
- It's quite good for use in marinades and stir-fries and is also reasonably gentle when you want to give some veggies a slight hint of garlic.
- If you only use it now and again, it will last longer than fresh, providing you reseal it and refrigerate it after using.
The secret behind peeling garlic in 20 seconds
Would you like to know how you can peel garlic without all the mess?
Let's face it, unpeeling a clove of garlic takes a little bit of time and patience, and when you've finished, you always end up with sticky hands, unless, of course, you don kitchen gloves first.
But I'm not too fond of that things. There's not much difference between sticky hands and sweaty hands.
But all is not lost.
- All you have to do is put the garlic cloves into the microwave and zap them for 20 seconds.
After that, you'll find the skin will almost put off by itself. Yes, you'll have to trim the top of the bulb and remove any flaky bits of skin first; but other than that, it's as easy as pie.
One little word of warning: leave the garlic to cool for a few seconds after microwaving. It does get rather hot, and you can burn your fingers if you're not careful.
Does this trick work?
Yes, I found that it does, leastwise it did when I tried it on a single clove of garlic. It made it far easier to remove the skin.
After a mere 14 seconds, I heard the garlic pop. I removed the skin in one easy movement, and there it was - one smooth, naked clove of garlic. Julia Childs, eat your heart out.
The only thing I should say, though, is that after heating the clove, it took on a relatively soft consistency and broke very easily.
It's because, in essence, it had steamed in the microwave, so that little word of warning about leaving it a few seconds before you handle it is well worth bearing in mind.
If you need to peel quite a few garlic cloves, say for making delicious garlic bread, this hack comes in useful.
There's plenty of other recipes where it comes into its own too.
Not only does this trick save a little bit of time if you're under pressure, but it's much kinder on your hands.
Three ways of mincing garlic
As I said earlier, in my house, garlic is virtually indispensable. Sometimes we like just a hint of it in our food, sometimes a really powerful hit.
It all depends on what the dish is. But from roasts to soups, sauces to stir-fries, and even sometimes with fish, it's a must-have ingredient.
Very often, recipes call up minced garlic to obtain the maximum flavor. It can be something of a chore.
When you're out shopping for garlic, it's important to locate the freshest bulbs with skin, a light paper-like skin that removes easily.
When you're ready, start by picking up your favorite chef's knife,
1 Treat it like an onion
To get a nice even mince, you should slice the close of garlic in the same way as you would an onion.
- Make many vertical cuts from top to bottom, not quite cutting through, followed by some horizontal cuts.
- Cut diagonally across the garlic to finish off, and this will give you nice, similar-sized pieces.
This is particularly useful when you require raw garlic. It ensures that the pieces are relatively small and won't give your guests or family a garlic overdose.
2 The smash and chop
No, I'm not talking about karate; this is another good way of chopping garlic.
- Place your clove of garlic onto a chopping board.
- Position the flat blade of your knife across the clove of garlic and press down until it bursts.
I've discovered that the best way is to use the heel of your hand and give it a good thump. But please keep your wits about you to avoid the edge of the knife's blade.
- After the clove has popped, rock your knife back and forth to mince it into small pieces.
I find that this works well with recipes that don't call for precision cuts. This rougher way of mincing is great for sauces.
3 The garlic press
To my mind, using a garlic press is by far the easiest way of mincing garlic. Just pop the clove into the press, squeeze firmly, and its job is done.
You can even get away with not peeling the cloves. Perfect for garlic mashed potato and many other dishes as well.