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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

How Long Does Garlic Last in a Refrigerator?

Updated: Jan 12


Groeat farm.  short term storage of garlic in a refrigerator
While we're not fans of refrigerating whole heads of garlic (it can trigger sprouting), the fridge is a great place for whole peeled cloves, sliced or minced garlic. Let's say you sliced a bunch of garlic for a recipe and have extra, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Use it within 2-3 days.

Garlic is a perishable item and will eventually spoil, regardless of where you store it. However, there are some things you can do to extend its shelf life. Unfortunately, the refrigerator is not a good place to store garlic.

Garlic is best stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. The refrigerator is not ideal for storing garlic because the cool, moist conditions can cause it to sprout, get soft and lose its flavor. Additionally, when garlic is stored in the refrigerator, it is exposed to ethylene gas from other fruits and vegetables, which can make the cloves spoil faster. To store garlic properly, keep it in a cool, dark, and dry place. You can store it in a paper bag, a mesh bag, or a garlic keeper. If you want to store garlic for a longer period of time, you can freeze it. To freeze garlic, peel the cloves and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They will keep for up to six months in the freezer. Here are some tips for storing garlic:

  • Store garlic in a cool, dark, and dry place.

  • Do not store garlic in the refrigerator.

  • Keep garlic in a paper bag, a mesh bag, or a garlic keeper.

  • Freeze garlic for long-term storage.


"It was a rainy spring day, and I was in my mom's kitchen, making a pot of soup. I reached into the fridge to grab a head of garlic, but as soon as I touched it, I knew something was wrong. The garlic was soft and mushy, and it smelled like it was starting to rot. I sighed and knew that this precious garlic must be thrown away. I knew that garlic is supposed to last for a month or two in the fridge, but this one had gone bad in just a week. I wondered why that was. I did some research and found out that there are a few reasons why garlic might go bad quickly in the refrigerator. One reason is that garlic is a perishable vegetable, and it can start to rot if it is not stored properly. Another reason is that garlic can be exposed to moisture, which can also cause it to rot. There is also the possibility of ethylene gas from the apples we store there.


I purchased more hardneck garlic from GroEat Farm in Montana and I decided to be more careful with my garlic in the future. I made sure to store it in a cool, dry place, and I checked it regularly to make sure it was still fresh. A few months later, I was making another pot of soup, and I reached into our pantry, which was a cool, dark place, away from sunlight. This time, the garlic was hard and firm, and it smelled delicious. I knew that this garlic would last me for a few more weeks. I was so happy that I had been more careful with my garlic. I learned my lesson, and I will never store garlic in the fridge again."


Your recipe calls for four cloves of garlic. You open the fridge and start shuffling around the vegetable drawer and you find a whole garlic bulb next to a honey crisp apple. The garlic bulb is a little soft and squishy. "How long has this been in there?" you ask.


How long does garlic last in the refrigerator? Maybe you stored garlic bulbs or cloves in a ceramic garlic vessel for the last year. Maybe you placed whole, garlic heads next to your apples and oranges in the vegetable drawer? Maybe you placed a few bulbs on the top of your refrigerator for the past six months. Maybe you have a bunch of cloves in a plastic bag, stuffed in the freezer compartment? But are they still good?


groeat garlic farm.
While we're not fans of refrigerating whole heads of garlic (it can trigger sprouting), the fridge is a great place for whole peeled cloves, sliced or minced garlic. Let's say you sliced a bunch of garlic for a recipe and have extra, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Use it within 2-3 days.

A full garlic bulb (with the cloves intact) could last a few months in the refrigerator. Individual peeled cloves will last a month or so in the fridge, and chopped garlic will last for a shorter period of time unless it is sealed in a jar and/or has preservatives. Individual cloves, separated from the bulb, if kept unpeeled, will last a little more than a month in the fridge. Once the skin is removed, garlic begins to degrade more quickly. If possible, always buy whole, bulbs of garlic. Whole bulbs (also called heads of garlic) are made up of individual, unpeeled cloves. Peel only as many cloves as you're going to use at one time. Minced garlic at the grocery store is appealing, though likely that jar of garlic has been sitting on the shelf for a while and it has lost that beautiful, robust garlic flavor. In the right environment, your garlic should live a long and comfortable life in your kitchen pantry.


Ideally, don't store garlic in the refrigerator. The best practice is to purchase fresh, whole garlic bulbs and store the garlic in a cool, well-vented space, away from heat and direct sunlight. Definitely do not store whole garlic in a plastic bag. Storing garlic in a brown paper bag or mesh material is fine. Your garlic will last longer and retain that tastier flavor for longer. It's all about how garlic is stored. Bulbs of garlic are alive. They like to continue to live in a fairly dry, cool, well-ventilated, and dark environment. That is not the inside of the refrigerator. Garlic should be stored closer to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, away from any heat source. Heat rises and storing garlic on top of your refrigerator is not always a good idea.


How Long Does Garlic Last in the Refrigerator?

Garlic is a popular kitchen staple that can be used in a variety of dishes. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. If you are like most people, you probably store your garlic in the refrigerator. But how long does garlic last in the fridge?


The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including the type of garlic you have, how it was stored, and how often it is used. In general, garlic will last for about 2-4 weeks in the fridge. However, if you have hardneck garlic, it may last for up to 6 weeks.


Here are some tips for storing garlic in the fridge:

  • Store garlic in a cool, dark place in the fridge.

  • Do not store garlic in the crisper drawer, as it will become soft and mushy.

  • If you are not going to use garlic within a few days, wrap it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

  • Check garlic regularly for signs of spoilage, such as mold or discoloration.

If you find that your garlic has gone bad, you can still use it in some dishes. For example, you can add it to soups or stews. You can also use it to make garlic bread or garlic oil.


How to tell if garlic is bad

There are a few things you can look for to tell if garlic is bad:

  • Mold: If you see mold on garlic, it is not safe to eat.

  • Discoloration: If garlic is discolored, it may be starting to rot.

  • Softness: If garlic is soft and mushy, it is not safe to eat.

  • Strong odor: If garlic has a strong odor, it is not safe to eat.

If you see any of these signs, it is best to throw away the garlic.


How to Tell if Garlic has Gone Bad. There are a few ways you can determine if your garlic needs to be thrown into the compost or garbage. First, give the individual cloves or the entire garlic bulb a gentle feel. Does it feel soft and squishy, or does it feel firm? If garlic feels soft, likely it has gone bad. Often, garlic stored in the freezer will result in a softer, less rigid structure; It is okay to use garlic removed from the freezer that feels a little soft. Second, give the garlic a visual inspection. If you see a blue or green mold on any part of the garlic, toss it. If you see brown or patches of odd-colored discoloration, likely your garlic has gone bad. Garlic needs to be handled with care and not dropped or thrown around. Brown spots can be a bruise from handling or a bruise caused by heavy soil. Bacteria can get into the bruised clove and quickly discolor it. Spoiled garlic forms brown spots on the cloves and turns from the usual white to a more yellow or brown color. If your garlic has started to send up green sprouts, you can still use the garlic, though the taste of the garlic will have changed and will likely taste more bitter. Sprouted garlic is still safe to eat.


Other Storage Options for Garlic. By far, the easiest way to store garlic for the long term is to freeze garlic quickly as individual peeled cloves. We peel the garlic cloves prior to freezing, as they are easy to grab and use for a quick meal. All you need is fresh garlic and a glass storage container. Plastic is made from petroleum; Avoid using plastic for long-term storage. Just separate the cloves, remove the outer paper skins, and place the peeled garlic in a freezer-safe airtight container. Seal and Close. Ideally, use a CHEST FREEZER, not an upright freezer. An upright freezer can rob food of moisture and cause freezer burn. Freezer burn happens when moisture is lost from the food item, leaving discolored patches and dry areas on your food.



groeat farm.  refrigerator is not a good place for garlic
do not put garlic in the refrigerator for more than a few days


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A Fun Story and Mary, who learned her lesson, as to not store her garlic in the refrigerator.


There was a woman named Sarah who kept garlic in the refrigerator. She was a very particular woman, and she had her reasons for doing everything she did. She kept her garlic in the refrigerator because she believed that it kept it fresher longer. She also believed that it helped to prevent the garlic from sprouting.


One day, Sarah's friend, Mary, came over for dinner. Mary was young and she didn't always follow the rules, and she loved to experiment. She was in college now and loved Biology. When she saw Sarah's garlic in the refrigerator, she was shocked.


"Why do you keep your garlic in the refrigerator?" Mary asked. "Everyone knows that you're supposed to keep it in a cool, dark place."


"I know," Sarah said. "But I like to keep mine in the refrigerator. I thought it keeps it fresher longer, because it is cool in there."


"But it's not supposed to go in the refrigerator," Mary said. "It will make it go soft quickly."


"I've been told by my neighbour to do it," Sarah said. "Well, it's my garlic," Sarah said. "And I'm going to keep doing it the way I want to."


Mary rolled her eyes. "Fine," she said. "But don't come crying to me when your garlic goes bad."


Sarah just laughed.


And sure enough, Sarah's garlic went bad and got soft within three weeks. It did not stay fresh and delicious for months, as she thought. Sarah was eventually forced to admit that Mary was right.


"I guess you were right," Sarah said. "Garlic does NOT keep in the refrigerator. I paid so much for this garlic and I don't know what to do now"


"I know," Mary said. "I told you."


"Well, I'm glad I learned my lesson," Sarah said. "Now I'll never keep my garlic in the refrigerator again."


"Good," Mary said. "Now, let's eat dinner."


Sarah eventually dried the garlic cloves and made powder, and decided to never store her garlic in the refrigerator again. Luckily the dried garlic, prevented the garlic from going to waste.





Quick facts: Garlic grows best in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil with pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Plant cloves in the fall, usually one or two weeks after the first killing frost. Unless you control weeds early, they can easily overtake young garlic plants. Insects are not a major problem with garlic, although onion maggot is a potential pest. Depending on variety and climate zone, harvest garlic between late June and late July.


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Jere Folgert is the owner of GroEat Garlic Farm in Bozeman, Montana. GroEat Farm is a small, sustainable family farm located in the beautiful Hyalite Foothills, in the shadows of the Gallatin Mountain Range. The hardneck varieties that they grow on their farm flourish, due to the combination of the cold winters, temperate summers, moist spring, and the dynamic alluvial soils, washed down from the Gallatin Range.



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