Garlic is a staple ingredient in cooking and has been so for ages. There is no competition for its flavor and aroma. Don’t believe us? Sauté a little garlic in oil and you’ll see what we’re talking about!
Instead of peeling and mincing garlic cloves every time the recipe calls for it, you can save some time by buying pre-minced garlic or making your own at home — just make sure you store it properly so that it doesn’t go bad.
So, does minced garlic need to be refrigerated? Yes, minced garlic needs to be refrigerated, especially once you’ve opened it or if you’ve made it at home. If stored properly and in the right conditions, it should stay good for a long time.
Read on to find out how to store minced garlic, how long it lasts in the fridge, how to tell if it has gone bad, and much more!
What Is Minced Garlic?
Fresh garlic provides a powerful flavor and aroma to whatever dish it is added to.
The way you add it to your dish matters a lot and can determine how flavorful the final dish will be.
There are several ways to use garlic in cooking — you can use whole cloves, slice them, dice, them, mince them, or turn them into a paste.
Minced garlic refers to peeled garlic cloves that are chopped into fine pieces that are less than 1/8 of an inch on all sides. It lends its flavor and aroma to the dish and is perfect for marinades, sauces, and toppings.
You can mince the garlic as finely or as roughly as you like. If you mind the small pieces of garlic in your food while you’re eating, you might opt for garlic paste instead.
Does Minced Garlic Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, minced garlic should be refrigerated, particularly if you’ve opened the jar.
Manufacturers use preservatives to lengthen the time the minced garlic will last, but as is obvious, it will not last indefinitely. Oxidation and time will cause its quality to deteriorate.
An unopened jar of store-bought minced garlic doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can be kept at room temperature away from direct sources of heat and light.
When talking about fresh, homemade minced garlic, it is even more crucial that you keep it refrigerated as it doesn’t contain any preservatives and can spoil at a much faster rate.
Minced garlic in olive oil or water must also be refrigerated as leaving it out at room temperature will most likely result in rapid bacterial growth.
How Long Does Minced Garlic Last In The Fridge?
The time that minced garlic lasts in the fridge depends on whether it is homemade or store-bought. If it is store-bought, it will also depend on whether the jar is opened or unopened.
Fresh, homemade minced garlic can last for about 7 days in the fridge in an airtight container. If you wish to store it for longer, you can freeze it for 10-12 months.
On the other hand, a jar of store-bought minced garlic will last for about 3 months in the refrigerator. If unopened, it can be left in the pantry where it will last for 18-24 months.
How To Tell If Minced Garlic Is Bad
If kept in the right storage conditions, minced garlic will last for several months. However, if not stored properly, it can spoil very fast and can cause a type of food poisoning called botulism.
To prevent falling sick from consuming bad minced garlic, we suggest you keep checking the jar for any signs of spoilage:
- Open the jar and give it a good whiff. Fresh minced garlic should have a strong smell. If it starts to lose its distinct smell or smells sour, chances are that it has gone bad. You may even toss a little in some oil and sauté it to check its aroma.
- Minced garlic should have a nice cream color. If you notice any color changes or see any mold growth, it is not edible and will make you sick upon consumption.
- Lastly, you can taste the minced garlic to check if it is still fresh. We don’t recommend this method — just discard the jar of minced garlic if it doesn’t smell or look right to you.
You may also check the “best by,” “best before,” or “best if used by” date that most commercially packed minced garlic bottles come with.
These aren’t guaranteed safety dates, but rather the manufacturer’s estimate on how long the minced garlic will stay fresh and retain its best quality.
How To Properly Store And Use Minced Garlic
To ensure the best quality for the maximum possible time, it is very important to store and use minced garlic so that it stays free of contaminants and spoilage.
Here is how you can properly store and use minced garlic:
- Since jarred minced garlic sold in stores is not normally refrigerated, you can keep the unopened jar in a cool, dry place in your pantry or cupboard.
- Once the jar is opened, keep it in the refrigerator and make sure it is tightly sealed to prevent air from entering.
- Use a clean, dry spoon to scoop the minced garlic out of the jar to avoid any food particles from contaminating it.
- Keep a close eye on the freshness and quality of the minced garlic. Discard it if you have any doubts and either buy a new jar from the store or prepare a fresh batch at home.
How To Make Minced Garlic At Home
If you wish to make fresh minced garlic at home, you can easily do so! All you need is a few peeled cloves of garlic and a food processor or blender to process a large batch. For smaller quantities, you may use a knife, garlic press, or grater.
Here are step-by-step instructions for making minced garlic at home using a food processor:
- Take pre-peeled garlic or purchase fresh garlic cloves and remove their skin.
- Wash them and make sure to dry them completely before proceeding to the next step.
- Place the peeled garlic in a food processor and add a little bit of olive oil and salt to it.
- Give it a few quick pulses, depending on how fine you want it to be, and scrape down the sides as you go.
- Transfer the minced garlic to a dry glass jar leaving a little space on top for olive oil.
- Store it in the refrigerator and use it whenever it is required.
Here are step-by-step instructions for making minced garlic at home using a knife:
- Peel the garlic cloves and slice them length-wise.
- Use a sharp knife to get thinner slices.
- Next, turn the clove 90 degrees and thinly slice it once more to create a fine mesh.
- Keep mincing depending on how fine you want the garlic to be.
- Repeat these steps for the rest of the garlic cloves.
- Use immediately or store it for later use.
Can You Freeze Minced Garlic?
You can freeze garlic in many forms, whether it is whole, crushed, or minced. It is very easy to freeze and is one of the few foods that retain their quality and stay just as fresh when frozen!
Here are step-by-step instructions for freezing minced garlic:
- Scoop out a teaspoon of the minced garlic at a time and put it on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours.
- Once the minced garlic has frozen solid, transfer each little frozen ball to a freezer-safe bag.
- Label the bag with the date and freeze it for 10-12 months.
- When you wish to use it, simply take some out and add it directly to your dish.
You can also use freezer-safe Tupperware, aluminum, or ice trays for freezing. Whichever container you use, make sure you freeze the garlic in airtight and moisture-resistant packaging so that it stays fresh.
While you can freeze minced garlic for 10-12 months, we suggest using it within 3 months for the best flavor. You may use frozen minced garlic for a variety of recipes such as soups and stews, garlic bread, and stir-fries.
Now that you know all about minced garlic, whether it needs to be refrigerated or not, and some of the best ways to store store-bought and homemade minced garlic, here are a few questions we thought you might have.
What is the best way to peel garlic?
You can smash the garlic clove with a knife, peel it by hand, or shake it in a mixing bowl to easily get rid of the skin. You can also microwave the cloves for 20 seconds and the skin should fall right off.