No matter where you are from in the world, every household that cooks will almost certainly have garlic around. Sure, it might be a random piece that you found under the table, but nevertheless, it’s there.
It is always so difficult to make a call about whether your garlic piece is still fresh, especially if you store them already peeled.
So, how long does peeled garlic last? Peeled cloves of garlic will generally last up to a week in the refrigerator if stored properly, depending on whether they are cut or just peeled. If the garlic has been peeled and chopped, it will also last about a week if stored in oil.
In this article, we will discuss how long peeled garlic lasts in different forms as well as the factors that affect its shelf-life.
Lately, there has been a huge spike in pre-prepped food. By that, we mean that you buy already-peeled and cubed vegetables, already-chopped lettuce, and peeled (or chopped) garlic.
We’re not complaining though. It does save a lot of time at home during meal prep.
Garlic especially is an ingredient that is always required (if only in our hearts), but always irritating to peel. Even if you don’t buy it pre-peeled, you might peel then during weekly meal prep before you store them in the refrigerator.
However, it is always difficult to judge how long the peeled garlic will still be at its prime freshness.
Correct Peeling and Storage Methods of Garlic
When looking at what happens to the cloves when garlic ages, the first thing people will notice is how it dries out.
This is because the peel (skin) protects the flesh from the elements (like air) to prevent the loss of moisture. Once the skin is removed, the shelf life will decrease drastically from months to only a week.
When peeling garlic, there are numerous methods that people follow.
Some cut off the bottom (pointy side, not the flat root side) of the garlic bulb and then proceed peeling the cloves individually. For storing peeled garlic cloves, we would not recommend this method.
When you slice the clove, exposing the inside (flesh) to oxygen and light, the clove will dry out even faster. Try peeling the clove without damaging the flesh.
Another popular method to peel garlic is to place the unpeeled cloves in ice water. This method does work great as the peel hardens and the flesh contracts, making it easy to remove the peel.
However, if you do not dry the peeled cloves completely, they will have excess moisture on them. If they are not stored properly, be susceptible to bacteria and rot.
Here’s a neat trick: place the individual unpeeled cloves in a hard bowl, cover it with another hard bowl, and shake vigorously. This will help the peel and flesh separate and peel much faster without affecting the flesh or moisture.
Regardless of the peeling method, whole peeled garlic cloves should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Do not store garlic with other foods or out of a container. It has a very aromatic and pungent smell that will infuse other items in the fridge.
Peeled Garlic Shelf-Life
Unpeeled garlic bulbs can last anywhere between 3-6 months if stored correctly. Of course, once you remove all those protective layers, the shelf life will decrease drastically.
Garlic that has been peeled using the slicing method, will last between 3-5 days before becoming noticeably hard due to moisture loss.
Garlic that has been peeled using either the ice water or bowl shaking method, if completely dry and stored properly, can last between 6-9 days before drying out too much.
If you have peeled garlic and then sliced or pressed the whole clove, the shelf life will be around 2-3 days.
Here is another trick: to make peeled garlic last longer in the fridge, you can store it in oil. The oil protects the garlic flesh from the elements. It acts as a barrier to prevent the cloves from drying out.
Signs That Peeled Garlic Has Gone Bad
Even when your garlic starts drying out, it can still be used (to a certain extent). The longer you keep the peeled cloves, the less flavorful they will be.
The first sign if your peeled garlic cloves have gone past their prime, is to check their moisture level. Feel the peeled clove. If it hasn’t gone hard yet, you can still use it.
The second sign is to look at the skin of the flesh of the clove (not the peel, the actual outside layer of the flesh). If it begins to shrivel, it will not be useful in the dish anymore.
You can also look out for brown spots that start to form on the cloves as well as a color change of the clove itself. If the clove starts to show yellowish-tan colors, it has gone past its prime.
When green roots, called sprouts, start to form, the garlic has gone far beyond its shelf life and should either be discarded or replanted to create a new bulb.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Peeled Garlic?