How Can I Tell If My Garlic Has Gone Bad?

How Can I Tell If My Garlic Has Gone Bad?

Faith Durand
Mar 1, 2010

Q: I've recently gotten a little braver about garlic and now I try to use it in several dishes a week.

But after buying a netted string of five garlic cloves a couple months ago, I'm beginning to wonder when and if garlic goes bad. What are the warning signs that I should refresh my stash?

Sent by KT

Editor: KT, we use our garlic unless it gets brown, mushy, or rotten in appearance or smell. Having said that, old garlic does get sharper and spicier, and sometimes it will begin to sprout. (A green sprout will grow out through the tips of the cloves.) This isn't a problem, though; we just peel away the sprout and use the clove as usual. But some people find older, sharper garlic not as pleasant.

Overall, though, the only time we would throw out garlic is if the cloves were totally rotten, or else completely dried out.

Readers, have you ever had garlic go bad? What did it look like?

Related: Knife Skills: How to Mince Garlic

(Image: Faith Durand)

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