Does Minced Garlic Go Bad? (And How Long Does It Last)

Does Minced Garlic Go Bad

Garlic is a staple in so many dishes.  Whether it’s sautéed, cooked, or added raw, it’s healthy and adds a distinct flavor.  While garlic is best when fresh, minced garlic in a jar saves time and smelly hands by allowing you to take a spoonful and add it to your dishes.

Minced garlic goes bad after 18-24 months when unopened and stored at room temperature in a pantry. Unopened minced garlic goes bad in just 3 months when unopened in a refrigerator. You can expect your minced garlic to go bad in 24 hours or less if you leave it uncovered.

Let’s explore garlic from the bulb to the jar; then, we’ll zone in on minced garlic in a jar.  If you’ve ever wondered how to store it, how long it lasts, how to tell if it’s bad, or if it will make you sick, you’ve come to the right place.

How Long Does Garlic Last in General?

While many people purchase minced garlic in a jar for convenience, it’s helpful to compare how long garlic in various forms will last.

  • Fresh garlic bulbs can be placed in a pantry and will last about six months. Some people grow them in their garden, twist the ends together, hang them in a cool, dark space, and use the garlic until the next planting season.  The paper around it keeps the air out.
  • Once you start to tear the cloves off the bulb, the life of the garlic goes down. Once a garlic bulb is broken down into cloves (but still in the paper), those cloves will last about ten days.
  • Peeling the garlic cloves then requires refrigeration. Place them in a bag in the fridge and use them within three weeks.
  • Minced garlic adds more air to the mix, and fresh minced garlic will go back in about seven days in the fridge. It can be frozen for 10-12 months.
  • Garlic bulbs can be peeled and canned as well.
  • A jar of minced garlic bought from the store will last about three months in the refrigerator. Unopened, in the pantry, that jar of minced garlic will last 18-24 months.  Check the best-buy date and stick to that for the freshest product.  If it goes past that by six months, open the jar and check to see if it has signs of spoilage.

Does Minced Garlic in A Jar Go Bad Over Time?

Oxidation and time will degrade minced garlic.  Manufacturers use preservatives to lengthen the useable time in the jar, but garlic will still not last indefinitely.

How Long Does Homemade Minced Garlic Last?

If you want the convenience of minced garlic in a jar, it’s very easy to make your own.  Instead of peeling one or two garlic cloves for each dish, peel a whole bulb.  Chop it in a food processor or with a knife, place it in a jar and cover it with olive oil.  Your garlic will be fresh and ready to use for about two to three weeks.  Keep it in the refrigerator tightly sealed.  You can avoid any preservatives, it will be much cheaper, and your food is local.

How Can you Tell if Minced Garlic in a Jar Has Gone Bad?

Minced garlic in a jar will last several months, but you should check for spoilage every time you open the jar to use it.

  • Open the jar and smell the garlic. If it smells odd, then it might have some issues.
  • Minced garlic in a jar should be a nice cream color. If there is a change of color to the garlic or the liquid, it is not as fresh.  Garlic can mold, so look for dark specks or fuzzy parts.
  • Finally, you can taste a little bit of garlic or oil. It should taste fresh.  Toss a little in a pan and sauté it if you can’t tell.  If it doesn’t smell right, you haven’t ruined your dish.

If there is any doubt, dump the jar and start with a new one.  Garlic can make a dish, but it’s not worth taking a chance.

How to Properly Store Jars of Minced Garlic

  1. Minced garlic in a jar is normally not refrigerated in the supermarket. You can store your unopened jar in the pantry or cupboard when you get it home.  Check the “best by” date and crack it open before that time.
  2. Once the jar is opened, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator tightly sealed. Air is the enemy of jars of garlic for two reasons.  Air and other particles can get into the jar and contaminate the garlic, or the garlic smell can permeate the rest of the items in your fridge.
  3. Use a fresh spoon when scooping minced garlic out of the jar. Any food particles can shorten the life of the garlic.
  4. Any time you go to use the garlic, look at it, smell it, and even taste it to make sure it is fresh.

Can you Get Sick from Eating Minced Garlic?

Bad garlic can make you seriously ill and give you food poisoning called botulism.  Garlic in a jar has salt and acid in the liquid, which adds some protection.  Heating garlic can kill the toxins as well.  We suggest erring on the cautious side and if there is any question whether garlic is good or not, toss it.  This goes for fresh and jarred garlic equally.

Alternatives to Jarred Minced Garlic

Spice World Organic Minced Garlic

Spice World, ORGANIC GARLIC - LARGE Container - 32 OZ This jar contains organic garlic, water, and citric acid.  The citric acid will keep it fresh and prevent it from changing color as it oxidizes and is a harmless ingredient.  There are no preservatives; it is non-GMO and kosher.

If you use a lot of garlic, this is a good way to go.  If you don’t use a lot of garlic in your foods, check the label’s expiration date and consider a small jar.  Spice World sells this in 4.5 oz, 8 oz, and 32 oz containers.

Goya Minced Garlic

Goya Minced Garlic -- 4.5 oz This smaller jar of minced garlic contains garlic, water, and phosphoric acid.  The phosphoric acid regulates the acidity of the garlic, and some might question its health benefits or dangers.  Small quantities are deemed safe by the food industry.   This jar is small enough to last a few weeks.

Emperor’s Kitchen Condiments Chopped Garlic

Emperor's Kitchen Condiments, Chopped Garlic, 4.5 oz This brand has garlic, water, citric acid, and salt.  If you choose a brand that uses salt in the brine, keep this in mind when incorporating it into the rest of your recipe.  Salt in the minced garlic might also alter the taste of the garlic just a bit.

This is also organic and gluten-free.  Emperor’s Kitchen also makes an organic pureed garlic for those dishes where you don’t want the chunks.

Iberia Minced Garlic with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Iberia Minced Garlic with Olive Oil, 8 ounce (pack of 1) Much minced garlic are packaged in olive oil.  When sautéing garlic, one often uses oil, which saves that step.  If you use this minced garlic in other dishes, don’t forget to adjust your recipe.  There are a few more preservatives in this jar as well.

Ingredients are water, garlic, olive oil, citric acid, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate.  Keep these in mind when adding to recipes to ensure you know what taste will result.  They recommend it in dressings, marinades, egg dishes, or sautéing or roasting vegetables.

Green Garden Freeze-Dried Garlic

Green Garden Freeze-Dried Non-GMO Minced Garlic, 0.95 Ounces, 2-Pack When fresh or jarred garlic is unavailable, it’s good to have some dried garlic for flavor.  You can dry roast garlic in the pan to impart flavors or add it to liquid ingredients.  Freeze-dried garlic is a single ingredient, safe to use, and will last quite a while in your pantry.  This brand is gluten-free and non-GMO.

Dorot Gardens Frozen Garlic

Dorot Non-GMO, Kosher Crushed Garlic 2.8 punces (Pack of 16) For convenience and farm-fresh flavor, try frozen garlic.  This one is raw, vegan, gluten-free, and easy.  Ingredients are garlic, water, canola oil, and sea salt.  They claim to flash freeze their garlic in 1 clove equivalent cubes within 90 minutes of harvest.  It has a two-year shelf life – pop one out of the tray and add it to your dishes.

Amore Garlic Paste

Amore Garlic Paste, 3.2 Ounce (Pack of 1) Garlic paste in a jar is more crushed than minced garlic, but it’s really convenient.  This one does have extra ingredients, including garlic, sunflower oil, salt, olive oil, and citric acid.  The tube is small enough to use in a few recipes – squeeze into sauces, and you’re set.

Related Questions

Is Minced Garlic in a Jar Healthy?

Garlic minced in a jar contains more than just garlic.  Citric and phosphoric acid are pretty inert and used as a preservative, but they will affect the taste of garlic.  Fresh is always best.   Processed garlic is also pasteurized to kill any microorganisms.  Minced garlic in a jar usually comes from Australia or China.  It has to travel a long way through varying conditions to reach your plate.  You can actually grow garlic in a pot on your windowsill.

How Much Minced Garlic Should I Use?

Suppose your recipe called for one clove of garlic; substitute one teaspoon of minced garlic.  Three cloves of garlic equal one tablespoon of minced garlic.  12 cloves of garlic equal ¼ cup of minced garlic.  Minced garlic in a jar might not be as potent as fresh garlic, so you might need to adjust your recipe depending on your taste.

Can I Eat Minced Garlic From the Jar Raw?

Minced garlic from a jar does not need to be cooked.  You can add it to fresh salad dressings or eat a spoon from the jar if you like.

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Choosing Nutrition Team

Here at Choosing Nutrition, our goal is to help people with making smarter food choices. Whether you're wondering about vegan, keto, paleo, or other diets, we'll help you determine which options fit your nutritional lifestyle. Our staff is composed of registered dieticians, nutritionists, and health-conscious individuals.

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