No matter what cuisine you follow, you must have heard of garlic, one of the gracious gifts to mankind from heaven. It is a spice with a strong pungent taste. But it didn’t stop it to be one of the superfoods with undisputable medicinal and food value. Unless you are Queen Elizabeth II, it is very unlikely that you don’t have garlic in your house. Yes, she can’t stand garlic at anything.
Although the raw taste of garlic is very difficult to take for an average common joe, it can make a real difference in cooked foods. Garlic is full of organosulfur compounds, which are the main reason for its strong aroma, flavor and health benefits. After crushing garlic cloves an enzyme called alliinase is released which causes the formation of allicin that is responsible for forming organosulfur compounds. However, most garlic is generally cooked before eating which reduces many of its medicinal benefits.
One of the practical benefits of garlic is its long Shelf life. If stored properly, which we will talk about later in this article, garlic with intact bulbs can stay good for 5 or 6 months in the pantry or 12 months in a freezer.
Garlic Shelf Life – How Long Does Garlic Last?
Well, like all other vegetables, raw garlic doesn’t have any specific production date or expiration date. Its shelf life mostly depends on factors like climate, storage temperature and the state of the garlic bulb. If the garlic bulb remains intact, garlic can stay good for a longer period of time. However, if the garlic bulb gets broken the shelf life of garlic can change dramatically.
A whole garlic can stay good for more than 5 months if stored in a proper place. On the other hand, unpeeled and separated garlic cloves can stay good for only two or three weeks.
When it comes to processed garlic, minced or chopped – it can stay good for 2 or 3 weeks in the refrigerator and 10 months in a freezer. There are many forms of processed garlic in the market such as minced, powdered and dried form. All these processed garlic has a specific production date and garlic expiration date, which should be followed exactly. But in case of processed garlic, some preservatives such as citric acid to ensure longer shelf life. That is why it is recommended to make your own garlic paste at home. After mincing or pasting garlic at home you can soak it in virgin olive oil do stretch its shelf life. This way, the garlic paste can last 2-3 weeks. Otherwise, normally peeled or chopped garlic can last 1 week in regular temperature or up to 6-7 months if stored in a freezer.
Best Way to Use Garlic in Cooking
Previously minced garlic or chopped garlic is very useful for those who have very little time in their lives such as working moms. But to enjoy the flavor and the health benefits of garlic to the fullest, it is recommended that you mince or chop the garlic 10 or 15 minutes before cooking them. It is important to leave the paste or chopped garlic for 10 or 15 minutes. This will give time to release allicin which forms organosulfur compounds.
How to Identify IF Garlic Gone Bad?
Can garlic go bad? Oh yes! But, It is very easy to spot bad garlic, using any of the three primary senses, look, smell and feel. Here is how to tell if garlic is bad or not.
Garlic is usually white when they are in good form. If you spot any green or unusual brown or yellow garlic color on the cloves then they are not in a good state. However, green marks indicate sprouts and you can use them in cooking, although they are extremely bitter in taste. You should remove them before cooking.
Garlic has its own unique pungent taste. It is very easy to remember garlic’s usual smell once you have smelled it. If the garlic you are using has any unusual sour smell, your garlic has probably gone bad. You should immediately remove the bad garlic from the lots to prevent any kind of contamination to other garlic bulbs.
Garlic cloves normally feel firm to touch. They start to get mushy over time when they start to rot. It is recommended to feel the garlic cloves before using. If it feels mushy or soft garlic, you should discard that clove.
How to Store Garlic Properly?
We have talked about how to identify bad garlic earlier. Now you should know how to store garlic properly to complete the circle of knowledge.
- Garlic should be stored in a dry and dark place. Exposing to light and moisture can create mold in garlic.
- Store your garlic in usual room temperature. Hot temperature can ruin the quality of garlic cloves. On the other hand, cold temperature can promote sprout development which affects the taste of the garlic.
- The container you are using to store garlic should have good air circulation. A wire mesh basket, nut milk bags should do fine.
- You can freeze garlic to store garlic for the long term. But freezing may cause the garlic to lose the original texture and flavor. Before freezing it is better to wrap the whole unpeeled garlic bulb in aluminum foil or plastic wrapper.
- If you are storing minced or chopped garlic, it is better to soak them with olive oil. But you can also freeze them in an airtight container if you don’t want to use oil.
Garlic is one of the most useful crops of our planet. It is very crucial that we all know the benefits and uses of garlic to use this super plant to our benefits.