Can Garlic Go Bad

does garlic go bad

Garlic is an extremely popular ingredient and topping with many different types of food. It is not uncommon to see garlic being used in a lot of recipes for various kinds of cuisines. This is because garlic can add a lot of flavor and taste to a food dish and can also provide a bit of zest especially when it comes to vegetables. Garlic is also known for its various health benefits and is considered an aid in adding longevity to one’s life if it is used moderately. Garlic, like many other vegetables can age over time, which is not necessarily a bad consequence. If you plan on buying a couple cloves of garlic in bulk because of the fact that there’s a sale at the local supermarket, it’s important to know how to store the product properly in order to extend its’ overall lifespan. As a consumer, you want to do your best to make sure that the garlic does not expire on you prematurely and that you get the most bang for your back. The important question remains; does garlic go bad?

Does Garlic Go Bad?

Yes, garlic can most definitely go bad over time but there are ways to prevent this from happening prematurely. There is a direct correlation between how your garlic is stored and how long its’ lifespan ends up being in total. Depending on the conditions and the surroundings for the garlic, it can stay good for very long or for a very short period of time. If we work towards storing garlic properly then we will be able to make the most out of the product and the money that we have spent on it.

Check out this useful video that explains how to pick out the freshest garlic from the grocery store:

Storing The Garlic

When it comes to storing garlic and doing it properly, it’s important to realize that it would be best to place the garlic in a cold, dry, and dark place. The average temperature for storing garlic should be around 60 degrees Fahrenheit / 15 degrees Celsius. Garlic should not be exposed to the sun or any bright light during storage as well. Generally, you don’t have to store garlic bulbs in the refrigerator, but stored at room temperature. Put your garlic bulbs in an open container for optimum shelf life. However, if your room temperature is too hot or humid, you should put your garlic in the refrigerator. Some good places to store your garlic include the refrigerator, kitchen cabinet, or pantry. Exposing the garlic to heat and sunlight will cause it to be affected negatively and reduce the amount of time that the product can be successfully stored for.

For more preferable storage options, placing the garlic in the refrigerator where its’ cool and dark is highly advisable. This option would be better than putting the garlic in a warm or humid room temperature. If you’re not satisfied with the refrigerator or the pantry, for the longest possible storage time, choosing the freezer is the best option when it comes to garlic. The less your garlic is exposed to outside elements like oxygen, heat, sunlight, etc., the longer your garlic will last and will stay edible for you and your friends, family.

Shelf Life of Garlic

Garlic’s shelf life depends on what kind of physical form it is in. If it is an entire clove or bulb and its’ stored properly, then it can last for up to six months. If you peel it and chop up the garlic, the storage time will be less than what would it be if the garlic is whole. Individual cloves of garlic can last for a couple of weeks or up to a month. If you decide to chop up the garlic into smaller pieces, the product may only last up to a week or a few days total. Chopped up garlic should be refrigerated. 

You can also freeze the garlic. This is why freezing is the best option for extending the shelf life whether the garlic is an entire bulb or individual cloves. On top of the six months lifespan for an entire garlic bulb that was refrigerated, freezing that same garlic bulb can make the product last for an extra couple of months.

Signs of Bad Garlic

There are many different ways to tell if your garlic has gone bad or not. You can start by looking at the garlic itself to examine its’ texture and its’ color. If there is any discoloration or it has become soft and mushy, and isn’t as firm as it used to be, then chances are its’ gone bad as a product. If the cloves or bulb of garlic looks brown or yellow instead of white, then that’s a clear sign of discoloration. Garlic has a very distinct odor that people can recognize quite easily. If the odor starts to become stronger or more pungent than usual, it may be another sign that your garlic has gone bad. The last way to tell, whether or not the garlic has gone bad or not, is to do a simple taste test. You will not get sick from doing a small taste test with one of the small cloves. If the garlic tastes poorly, or leaves a bad impression, then it would be better to throw it out than to risk a bad meal by putting the product in your food recipe. Remember to properly store the garlic as best as you can to extend its’ lifespan so that you, your friends, and your family can enjoy this delicious and useful ingredient.

Additionally, another quick way to tell if your garlic has started to go bad is when you see green roots growing from the center of the clove. Don’t consume these green roots, they have a bitter taste and shouldn’t be eaten.


Coming back to the previous question, yes your garlic will go bad eventually. However, when you follow our tips on how to properly store garlic, you can preserve its shelf life. Don’t eat your garlic if it has turned brown in color, rotten, mushy or completely dried out. Enjoy garlic’s spicy properties with your food or use it as an healing ingredient. Garlic is known to have many medicinal benefits to your body.



1 thought on “Can Garlic Go Bad”

  1. Currently, I’m finding that grocers throw new garlic and old garlic together.
    You can buy a garlic that looks intact and is firm with no unusual odor — and
    still get it home and find brown cloves inside and rottenness. Can’t tell you
    how much garlic I’ve thrown away in the last year.
    My final test for garlic now is to scrape one of the cloves and if it is visibly juicy
    I’ll buy it. However, even in that case you can find that a few of the cloves are
    turning brown. I have more success with the garlic which has purple on the
    outside — somehow that seems to more often be fresh.
    And I also now generally by the smallest bulb of garlic that I can. I’ve generally
    kept garlic in the kitchen on the counter, but also use it very quickly so don’t
    that that’s been a problem. But now, I will store in frig.


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