Does peeled garlic go bad (+3 ways to spot)
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does peeled garlic go bad” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of peeled garlic when stored in different mediums. Moreover, we are going to discuss what affects the shelf life of peeled garlic, what is the optimum temperature to store peeled garlic, the ways to tell if garlic has gone bad and if bad garlic can make you sick.
Does peeled garlic go bad?
Yes, peeled garlic actually goes bad faster than whole garlic and will last only a week in the refrigerator. However, you can freeze peeled garlic to extend its shelf life for 10 – 12 months and use it in recipes that do not rely on its texture (1,2).
Like every other food, garlic does have the ability to go bad after a certain time. Depending upon its storage conditions, the time for which it will retain its freshness before going bad will vary.
Peeled garlic will go bad after 1-2 days if it is left to sit at room temperature. Afterward, it will significantly lose moisture and become harder (1,2).
Does peeled garlic go bad in the fridge?
Yes, peeled garlic goes bad in the fridge. So once you have peeled the skin of the garlic, its rate of deterioration will significantly increase than that of unpeeled garlic. Individual peeled cloves of garlic can stay fresh for as long as one week and that too in the fridge as the cooling of the fridge decreases the rate of degradation of the garlic (2,3).
While talking specifically about the freshly peeled and chopped garlic, it retains its freshness all day long, and for increasing its shelf life significantly more, you can dip it in gingelly oil to lock its freshness for 3 to 6 days (4).
Does peeled garlic go bad in the freezer?
Yes, peeled garlic goes bad in the freezer. When garlic is frozen, the water inside it expands and can cause the cloves to become slightly mushy when thawed.The fresh peeled and chopped garlic can last for as long as 12 months in an air-tight container in the freezer without going bad (1,5).
What affects the shelf life of peeled garlic?
Temperature of storage
The storage temperature is critical for keeping peeled garlic fresh. Peeled garlic should be stored in a cold, dry place, ideally between 32°F (0°C) and 41°F (5°C) (1).
Store peeled garlic at room temperature or in warm places since higher temperatures might hasten deterioration.
Moisture and microbe infection
Peeled garlic should be stored in a dry area to avoid mold and bacterial infection. Excessive moisture can turn peeled cloves squishy, slimy, or moldy. Before storing garlic, make sure it is completely dry and avoid storing it in a humid environment.
Penicillium rots (Pencillium corymbiferum and other spp.) are common problems in stored garlic. Fusarium basal rot (Fusarium oxysporum), which infects the stem plate and causes cloves to shatter, is a less common storage decay concern, as are Botrytis allii dry rot and bacterial rots (Erwinia spp., Pseudomonas spp.) (1,6).
Air exposure can cause peeled garlic to deteriorate. Because oxygen promotes the growth of germs and enzymatic processes, garlic spoils faster. Store peeled garlic in airtight containers or resealable bags to reduce air exposure, expelling as much air as possible before closing (7).
Mechanical peeling results in broken and damaged pieces, and damage is a key cause of degradation and quality loss of garlic during storage (1).
Peeling garlic cloves diminishes their shelf life due to weight and scent losses, surface discoloration, and microbiological deterioration. Peeled garlic cloves are prone to spoilage due to tissue damage, increased surface area, and the potential of microbiological contamination (2).
What is the optimum temperature to store peeled garlic?
Optimum storage temperature to store peeled garlic is at 0 to 5 °C (32 to 41 °F). Garlic has a 2- to 3-week storage life if maintained at 5 °C (41 °F) or lower.
Temperatures over 5 °C (41 °F) in storage cause pink and brown discoloration on damaged regions and promote root and sprout growth (1).
How to tell if your garlic has gone bad?
There are a few indicators including appearance, texture, and color that will point towards the fact that the garlic has gone bad (8).
If you see some dark-colored patches or spots on your garlic then they are the signs of rot or microbes growth on your garlic and that pretty much means that your garlic has gone bad and the best thing you can do is to get rid of it.
Moreover, if you see some green sprouts on the surface of your garlic it indicates that the garlic has started to lose its flavor and it won’t taste the same if you consume such garlic. The new sprouts will have a sharper and bitter taste and should be eliminated from the center of the cloves leaving behind a milder flavor.
A fresh clove of garlic should be firm and solid in its texture. So, you can touch the garlic to see if it has gone bad or not. If you feel something soft or slimy then the garlic surely has gone bad.
The healthy and fresh clove of garlic is white with a hint of yellow so a different color specifically having a brownish tinge or a more yellowish touch to it points towards the fact that the garlic has gone bad.
Can garlic go bad and make you sick?
Yes, garlic, like any food, can go bad and potentially make you sick if it is spoiled or contaminated.
However, the green sprouts growing on the garlic changes are bitter themselves and they change the overall flavor of the garlic, but consuming it does not pose any serious health implications (9).
But sometimes the garlic that has gone bad is also associated with botulism or food poisoning caused by Clostridium Botulinum as low acid foods are more in the risk zone for the production of spores and its immersion in olive oil also increases the chances of spores formation on garlic that has gone bad (10).
Harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli can also cause food illness. Symptoms of food poisoning include (11):
- Stomach pain
When garlic spoils, it may develop molds like Fusarium species which can produce hazardous mycotoxins to human health (12).
In this brief guide, we answered the question “does peeled garlic go bad” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of peeled garlic when stored in different mediums. Moreover, we discussed what affects the shelf life of peeled garlic, what is the optimum temperature to store peeled garlic, the ways to tell if garlic has gone bad and if bad garlic can make you sick.
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7. Sethi, S. Effect of modified atmosphere packaging on functional quality and shelf life of minimally processed garlic cloves. Inter. Conf. on Agric. & Hortic. Sci., 2014, 2,4.
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9. Zakarova, A.et al. Garlic Sprouting Is Associated with Increased Antioxidant Activity and Concomitant Changes in the Metabolite Profile. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2014, 62(8).
10. Gibbs, P. (2007). Clostridium botulinum and Botulism. In: Ho, P., Vieira, M.M.C. (eds) Case Studies in Food Safety and Environmental Health. Integrating Safety and Environmental Knowledge Into Food Studies towards European Sustainable Development, vol 6. Springer, Boston, MA, 29-32.
11. What You Need to Know about Foodborne Illnesses. FDA, 2022.
12. Brand, A.D.V., Bulder, A.S. An overview of mycotoxins relevant for the food and feed supply chain: using a novel literature screening method. RIVM letter report , 2019, 0223.