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Does Garlic Powder Go Bad?

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Your spice rack should contain everything you need to cook all sorts of wonderful meals. After all, spices play an undeniably important role in the way you make your kitchen truly your own.

Each of these spices helps enhance your dish and imbue it with their distinctive flavor profiles.

Does garlic powder go bad? The short answer is no, garlic powder doesn’t go bad. However, this does not mean that you should keep using it years after it has expired, as there will still be a noticeable change in intensity and flavor. 

To delve deeper into this question, we highly recommend that you keep reading. This way, you will be better informed on how to properly store and use the garlic powder in your spice rack.

How Is Garlic Powder Made?

Garlic powder is an incredibly popular ingredient for all kinds of recipes and is different from garlic salt.

The flavor profile it has is incredibly versatile, as it blends particularly well with meats, vegetables, and other snacks like nuts and popcorn.

It is unsurprising to see that garlic powder is also used as a usual component for many spice blends and dry rubs for barbeques and steaks.

As you may have guessed, the primary purpose of using garlic powder is to brighten the dish’s flavor profile.

Its ubiquity as a prime component for countless dishes has made it an essential addition to any kitchen. This is also precisely why most people buy it in bulk.  

Needless to say, this serves as a cause of concern for a lot of people, as no one would want their large bottle of garlic powder suddenly turning on them and going to waste.

Longevity becomes an issue, especially if you are stockpiling ingredients in your pantry.

That said, we need to take a closer look at how exactly this spice is made. After all, the production process will often have a great impact on how long certain ingredients can last. So, you may be asking, is this true for garlic powder?

To make this powder that we conveniently use, garlic cloves are put through a drawn-out process of complete dehydration before being ground into fine particles.

As you are probably aware, there is a noticeable difference between fresh garlic and its powdered form. It’s less pungent and powerful. 

However, aside from the flavor differences, garlic powder has another distinct advantage; it doesn’t go rancid. This is because of the dehydration process, which makes it nearly impossible for bacteria to thrive.

That said, there should be no confusion as to why there is an expiration date on the bottle. This is because the intensity of the spice will inevitably fade over time.

So, while it won’t turn bad and spoil your stomach, your garlic powder will lose its punch and become useless if left too long. 

How Long Does Garlic Powder Last? 

There is no spice more distinctive and integral as garlic powder. It is nothing short of magic dust. Its usage is as ubiquitous as they come as there is no shortage of recipes that are improved by a dash of this wonderful powder.

But if you’ve had a bottle of garlic powder sitting in your pantry for what seems like generations, you’re probably wondering if it’s about time you get another one.

So, how long does it last? Unfortunately, there is no precise and definitive answer to that, as it depends on several factors pertaining to how you store your spices.

Just remember, if stored properly, your garlic powder should retain its best quality for as long as 4 years.

However, it will inevitably vary depending on how well you keep them. It should be stated here that the storage conditions of your garlic powder play a major factor in terms of its prolonged freshness and flavor. 

As a general rule, you will want to store your spices, including garlic powder, in a cool, dark space using containers with air-tight lids.

The cupboard serves as one of the top places to ensure its optimal longevity. At the same time, you should also make sure that your powder is kept safe from direct exposure to heat and sunlight. 

Is It OK to Use Expired Garlic Powder?

Another matter surrounding garlic powder that needs to be tackled is the matter of food safety. Specifically, whether or not to use the garlic powder after it has gone past the expiration date stated on its label. 

So, before we delve into the matter of expiration dates, we highly recommend that you look at the state of the garlic powder and its packaging before you start using it.

After all, while it wouldn’t go rancid, you run the risk of ingesting potentially dangerous materials if the packaging has been damaged or if there has been mold growth on the powder itself.

If you notice any signs of damage, be sure to throw it out. 

That said, the different labels that come with commercially-packaged garlic powder will vary. Some may have a best-by date. However, the thing with garlic powder, as already stated, is that it doesn’t spoil. 

Now, you may be asking, if that is the case, then what are those dates for? They are there to serve a specific purpose though not necessarily to ensure food safety rules.

Rather, these dates provide consumers with the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the contents of the bottle will be able to retain their peak quality.

Remember, while garlic powder won’t suddenly turn poisonous or spoil, it will start to lose potency over time. So, you wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors by using garlic powder that has gone way beyond its expiration date.

This is made especially true if the powder hasn’t been kept in the best conditions.

How Do You Know If the Garlic Powder Is Still Good?

While using expired garlic powder is unlikely to cause you harm, it will inevitably be detrimental to the dish that you are cooking.

The quality of your dish will most likely suffer because you won’t be able to get the optimal level of flavor from the garlic powder that you are using.

That said, the date on the label shouldn’t be the ultimate factor in how you decide to use the garlic powder on hand. After all, if the garlic powder hasn’t been kept as it should, then it may also lose its potency prematurely.

With that, you need to be able to tell the difference. Luckily, the process is as straightforward as it can get. Even inexperienced home cooks should have no trouble doing it.

You just have to take a small amount in your hand and rub it. Then, smell the powder to check that its aroma is still nice and strong. Finally, give the powder a taste.

Like with every other ingredient, these key elements give you an idea of whether or not the powder should be replaced or not. If the aroma and the taste have faded, then it is time to throw it out.

Should Garlic Powder Be Refrigerated?

Now, there is a common misconception that freezing or refrigerating your spices serves as an effective way to ensure that your spices last longer.

Unfortunately, this simply isn’t the case. The reality is that it is even counterproductive to your ultimate goal. 

Now, you may be asking: what is wrong with keeping garlic powder in the fridge? Isn’t increasing the food’s shelf life the entire purpose of refrigerators?

While technically correct, the problem with refrigeration isn’t the idea of storing it in the cold. Instead, it has more to do with what happens to your garlic powder once you take it out.

Once taken out of the temperature, your garlic powder will start rising. The problem starts when it starts adjusting to room temperature, as condensation will inevitably occur.

It should be stated that dampness is the bane of spices like these, as they effectively shorten the shelf life of your garlic powder and negate the antibacterial property of dehydration.

So, another consequence that may arise due to post-refrigeration condensation is the growth of mold. Needless to say, if you see any mold growth on your garlic powder, don’t hesitate to throw it out. 

Proper Storage Tips

Be sure to take full account of how you keep your garlic powder. Make sure to take note of the following as they give you a great idea of how to best store these spices:

  • Tightly sealed containers 
  • Dry environment
  • Cool and dark area (preferably the cupboard)
  • Away from direct sunlight
  • Far from potential heat sources (stovetop, dishwasher, etc.)

Garlic powder is one of the most highly-utilized spices around. So, it would serve you well to ensure that it is kept in the best possible conditions to extend its longevity.

Up Next: 9 Best Garlic Keepers

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