How To Know If Garlic Is Bad?

As garlic doesn’t last forever, you must be curious about how to know if garlic is bad. Garlic is one of the popular must-haves in the kitchen! It is widely used in meals, bread, dressings, and more. Garlic is mostly known for its ability to reduce cholesterol and combat heart disease. It’s important to learn how to know if your garlic is bad. Garlic belongs to the amaryllis family along with onions, leeks, shallots, and chives. People can purchase garlic as the fresh and raw whole bulb, refrigerated cloves, and roasted garlic. You can keep on reading further to learn how to know if garlic is bad.

How To Know If Garlic Is Bad?

Buying a bag of garlic can make you curious about how to know if garlic is bad. Do not worry, I have got you covered in my today’s post. The best way to check if garlic is gone bad is to feel, smell, and examine the garlic.

Learn how to know if fresh garlic is bad by considering the following spoilage signs.

  1. Smell

Garlic is universally known for its spicy, pungent, and mellow scent. Your garlic is bad if it starts giving a distinct smell or sour scent. Such garlic is already gone bad and can contaminate other garlic bulbs.

There are two more spoilage signs you must know to learn how to know if garlic is bad.

  1. Look

Fresh, raw garlic is usually fresh and spotless white. On the other hand, spoiled/bad garlic develops brown spots on the cloves. After a while, it will become more yellow or brown instead of white. You may also notice the formation of green roots in the center of the clove. You can still consume sprouted garlic as they are not harmful but these roots taste very bitter.

You can keep on reading to learn how to know if a garlic clove is bad.

Click here – How To Know If Eggs Are Good?

  1. Feel

Good and fresh garlic feels firm to the touch but becomes soft over time. So, touch your garlic and check whether it feels mushy by peeling off a clove. If you notice liquid coming out through the peel then it has past its expiration date.

Thus, you should immediately through away such spoiled garlic at this stage in the trash!

Now, you must be wondering how to know if peeled garlic is bad. Peeled garlic can stay fresh for up to 7 weeks when kept in the refrigerator constantly. After 7 weeks, it will lose its spicy, pungent smell and begins to smell sour.

Being a cook, you may have a doubt regarding how to know if minced garlic is bad. Minced garlic can go bad fast if you do not store it properly. Spoiled minced garlic will give an odd smell and the color of the garlic/liquid also changes. You can even taste a bit of garlic to check if it tastes fresh.

Almost all Indian cooks use ginger garlic paste in their dishes! But how to know if ginger garlic paste is bad? The best way to determine whether your ginger garlic paste has spoiled or not is by tasting it! Taste a bit of the paste and see if it tastes normal. Sometimes, you may even notice mold growing on the paste.

Keep on reading further to learn more about how to know if garlic is bad and methods to store it.

Different Methods To Store Garlic 

Let’s say you’ve understood how to know if garlic is bad. There are a few things you can do to make your garlic stay fresh for longer. Your garlic can live a bit long only if you store it properly.

  • Room Temperature

Before storing garlic at room temperature, you must be aware of how long does garlic last at room temperature. Whole garlic bulbs can stay fresh for up to 6 months at room temperature. Whereas unpeeled garlic cloves can last for up to 7 to 10 days at normal room temperature. Ensure that you store it in a cool dark and dry place with good air circulation. 

You can keep on reading to know how long does garlic cloves last in the fridge.

  • Fridge

Leftover peeled garlic cloves can stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge. Make sure you store it in an airtight container and use it as soon as possible. Never keep chopped or peeled garlic in the refrigerator for a very time as it leads to garlic sprouting.

  • Freezer

Although freezing garlic is a great way to store leftover garlic. Finely chopped garlic can stay fresh in the freezer for about 10 to 12 months. You can freeze unpeeled garlic cloves by wrapping them either in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Remember that freezing garlic will change its stability.

You can keep on reading to find out what happens if you eat bad garlic.

Side Effects Of Eating Bad Garlic

After understanding how to know if garlic is bad, you must be aware of the side effects of bad garlic. Eating bad garlic can lead to botulism which can be serious and potentially fatal. The bacteria Clostridium botulinum causes this foodborne botulism. Lack of oxygen, moisture, and temperature can also cause botulism.

This bacteria can directly the nerves connected to the eyes, mouth, face, and throat. You may even suffer from nausea, vomiting, dizziness, double vision, difficulty in swallowing, and breathing. See your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

But do you know how to tell if garlic has botulism? You cannot see, smell, or taste botulinum as this toxin can be deadly. If the container spurts liquid or foam when is opened, it is spoiled.

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What Happens If You Eat Bad Garlic?

Consuming bad garlic can cause botulism. Foodborne botulism is extremely rare but can be serious and potentially fatal. Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism, forms normally inactive spores that can be found in low-acid vegetables like garlic. In certain conditions, these spores may become active.

Is It OK To Eat Old Garlic?

Obviously, you don’t want to eat moldy or mushy garlic, but sprouts cloves or even those that have browned or yellowed spots can still be used. Their taste might be slightly off, but removing the green sprout or trimming browned spots will make older cloves usable and keep them out of the trash.

What Does Spoiled Garlic Smell Like?

If your garlic starts to smell rotten or sour, then get rid of it. It’s also time to throw it away if it doesn’t smell like much of anything. Fresh garlic should have a pungent, slightly spicy scent. If yours is missing that, then that’s a sign that it’s too old to cook with.

Can You Tell If Garlic Has Botulism?

Danto says you won’t be able to tell whether the garlic has turned toxic: “It will not taste or look differently. It will not smell; it does not produce gas.” When it comes to pesto, Danto says, follow the same rule, keeping the mixture refrigerated and using the pesto within two days.

How Can You Tell If Garlic Is Bad Inside?

Of course you can touch your garlic, but it helps to tell if it’s gone bad too. If the garlic is soft, when you squeeze it, toss it. Garlic should be firm and crisp.

What Color Does Garlic Turn When Bad?

Garlic is naturally creamy white, but it can turn blue or green when exposed to an acidic environment.


In the above post, I’ve explained how to know if garlic is bad in detail. Unpeeled garlic can stay fresh for up to 6 months at room temperature. Once it is exposed to moisture and light, there are changes that mold will grow. If you notice patches of discoloration or any sprouts, your garlic has gone bad! You can even squeeze it a bit to check if is firm and crisp. But if you feel it soft, it’s gone bad too. Once you understand how to know if garlic is bad, you won’t cook with spoiled garlic again!