Warning Signs Your Garlic Has Gone Bad

The smell of a few garlic cloves sizzling away on a stovetop is enough to make many people go weak in the knees. While this overpowering ingredient may be your worst enemy on a first date, garlic has the power to amplify so many savory dishes. Aromatic, potent, and savory, this small but mighty bulb adds an extra flavor profile to soups, vegetables, pasta sauces, meats, and more (via Taste of Home).

Whether you like to smear it on a slice of bread, use it as a secret ingredient in tomato sauce, or bathe your seafood in garlic butter, this versatile bulb can be used in so many dishes and found in most pantries across the globe (via Spruce Eats). For that very reason, many people have had the unfortunate experience of finding a moldy clove of garlic hidden beneath the bulb's papery skin. The last thing you want is to add a clove of garlic to your recipe after its already gone bad. To prevent this occurrence, there are a few tell-tale signs to watch out for.

Feel, look at, or smell garlic to test its freshness

From its powerful savory flavor to its intoxicating aroma, there are so many things to love about garlic. But one of the biggest perks of this beloved bulb is that it can last a long time in your pantry before going bad. According to Bon App├ętit, whole garlic heads can last up to six months. That is, if you abide by the best ways to keep your garlic fresh. After the protective outer layer has been removed, all bets are off. To compare, unpeeled cloves will only remain edible for about three weeks, even if covered by their flaky outer shell.

There are three ways you can tell that your garlic has started to turn. You can conduct a look, smell, or feel test, according to Street Smart Kitchen. First, look at your garlic clove. If it has any brown spots, green sprouts, or your clove is more yellow than it is white, then it is no longer in prime condition.

Next, conduct your feel test by giving your garlic clove a slight squeeze. You want your garlic to be firm, not soft. Lastly, give your garlic a whiff. Do you detect any sour notes? If your garlic smells slightly off, then that can also be a tell-tale sign that it's time for it to be tossed.