How Long Does Garlic Keep? Tips to Preserve Its Freshness

Garlic is a fantastic ingredient with a delicious taste and a variety of health benefits. It’s a popular culinary ingredient that works well in many dishes. Unfortunately, garlic can lose its freshness pretty easily. If you’ve ever noticed that your garlic has started to smell or look bad, you might be wondering how long garlic keeps. In this article, we’ll discuss some simple tips to help preserve your garlic’s freshness so you can enjoy it for longer.

How Long Does Garlic Last?

Garlic can last for quite a long time if it’s stored properly. Generally, garlic will remain fresh for around three to six months. However, this can depend on a few different factors, including:

  • The type of garlic
  • How fresh the garlic was when you bought it
  • The storage conditions

Factors that Affect Garlic Freshness

Let’s take a closer look at these factors to understand how they impact garlic freshness.

Type of Garlic

There are many different types of garlic, and they all have different shelf lives. For example, softneck garlic varieties tend to last longer than hardneck varieties. Additionally, elephant garlic – which is actually a type of leek – can last for up to six months.

Freshness When Purchased

Garlic freshness can also be influenced by how long it’s been since the garlic was harvested. If you’re buying garlic from a grocery store, pay attention to the label. The label usually tells you when the garlic was harvested, giving you an idea of how long the garlic has been sitting around. So, if you want to get the freshest garlic, go for the garlic with the most recent harvest date.

Storage Conditions

The key to keeping garlic fresh is to store it properly. If you leave it exposed to air and moisture, it will start to go bad pretty quickly. It’s best to store garlic in a cool and dry place, away from any sources of moisture.

How to Store Garlic to Preserve Freshness

Now that you know what factors can impact garlic freshness, let’s dive into some tips on how to properly store garlic to help preserve its freshness:

Store Garlic Bulbs Whole

The best way to store garlic is to keep the bulbs whole. You can break off individual cloves as needed, but keep the rest of the bulbs intact until you’re ready to use them.

Keep Garlic Away from Light

Light can cause garlic to sprout, so it’s best to store it in a dark place. Consider using a garlic keeper or a paper bag to keep it away from any light.

Store Garlic in a Dry Place

Moisture can cause garlic to spoil, so it’s important to store garlic in a dry place. Avoid keeping garlic in the refrigerator because it’s too moist in there. Instead, find a cool, dark and dry place, like your pantry or a cupboard.

Do Not Store Garlic in Plastic Bags

Don’t store garlic in plastic bags, as they can trap in moisture, causing garlic to spoil. Instead, use a paper or mesh bag, or even a woven basket to store garlic.

Do Not Store Garlic Near Other Foods

Garlic has a strong flavor and smell, which can easily transfer to other food. Keep garlic away from other produce, including potatoes, onions or other fruits and vegetables. This can avoid any cross-contamination.

Can You Freeze Garlic?

Yes, you can freeze garlic, and it can last up to a year if stored properly. Freezing garlic helps to extend its shelf life, meaning you’ll have a longer period to use it. Here are some simple tips for freezing garlic:

Peel Garlic Cloves First

Before you freeze garlic, it’s best to peel the cloves. This will make it easier to use, and the garlic will defrost quickly.

Store Garlic in an Airtight Container

Place the peeled garlic cloves in an airtight container, or even a freezer bag, so that they don’t get freezer burns. You can freeze garlic whole or minced, depending on your preference.

How to Defrost Frozen Garlic

When you’re ready to use frozen garlic, simply take it out of the freezer and defrost it. You can defrost it in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave as well.

Summing Up

Garlic is a great ingredient, it adds flavor to any meal and has wonderful health benefits. However, if you don’t store garlic properly, it can go bad quickly, wasting both your hard-earned money and time. By following the tips mentioned in this article, you can preserve the freshness of garlic and enjoy it for a longer duration of time.

Common FAQs Related to How Long Does Garlic Last

  • Q: Can you eat garlic that has sprouted?
  • A: Garlic can still be eaten even if it has sprouted. However, the garlic will have a much milder taste, and you may need to remove the sprouts before use.

  • Q: How do you know if garlic has gone bad?
  • A: If the garlic has started to turn soft or mushy, it’s gone bad. Additionally, if it smells bad or has started to sprout, it’s time to replace the garlic.

  • Q: Can I store fresh garlic in the fridge?
  • A: It’s not recommended to store fresh garlic in the fridge as it can become too humid and your garlic may lose its flavor. Instead we recommend finding a cool, dry and dark place, like your pantry or cupboard.


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