Garlic is an important component in many recipes. However, you could have some concerns with its color change. If your garlic has turned purple, you might be asking yourself, “Has it gone bad?” The answer to this question is no. Garlic can indeed turn purple in some situations, but this doesn’t mean that it is unfit for cooking.
So, what causes garlic to turn purple? And is this something you can avoid? This article will cover the different types of garlic, why your garlic may turn purple, and whether this is a sign that it has gone bad. Additionally, you will also learn some tips on storing garlic and how to prevent it from turning purple.
Types of Garlic
There are two types of garlic: white and purple. White garlic is the most common garlic, and as its name suggests, it has white cloves. This is what you are likely to find at your local grocery store.
Purple garlic tends to have purple skin, but the purple color is only on the outer skin. Otherwise, its cloves are white and safe for cooking. You are more likely to find this garlic in a farmers’ market.
What Can Turn Your Garlic Purple?
At first glance, garlic is white. So, when it turns purple, you might think that it has gone bad. If your garlic seems to have turned purple, you can rest assured that nothing is wrong with it. Moreover, purple garlic tends to have a stronger flavor.
Garlic will turn purple when you mix it with acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice or vinegar. Cookware made from tin, copper, iron, or aluminum may also contribute to your garlic turning purple.
Garlic has alliin, which is an odorless sulfur compound. It also has an enzyme known as alliinase. When you chop or crush it, these two compounds mix and produce allicin-a compound that is responsible for the unique characteristics of garlic.
And when you introduce an acidic ingredient or metallic object, a reaction occurs that leads to the formation of purple pigments.
Don’t forget; you may also buy the rare purple garlic and think it has turned purple.
How To Tell That Garlic Has Gone Bad
If you store garlic properly, it should last for months. But of course, it will eventually go bad. So, how can you tell that your garlic is no longer fit for consumption? Several things will change as garlic loses its freshness. For instance, it will not smell the same. Instead, it will lose its spicy and pungent aroma.
On top of that, it may produce an unusually foul smell.
Also, garlic that has gone bad will lose its firmness. When you squeeze it, it will feel abnormally soft. And when you peel it, you will notice a strange liquid.
Brown spots on your garlic mean that it is not fresh. And if it has started to turn yellow on the inside, it should go straight to your compost pit. If you cook it, it is going to produce a bitter taste. Fresh garlic should be white inside, and any other strange color should raise the alarm.
When you store garlic for a long time, it may produce a green sprout but don’t sweat it. It only means that the garlic is growing. It is still in good shape, and you can cook it.
How to Prevent Garlic from Going Bad
Although garlic stays fresh for a long time, the way you store it may determine how long it will last. Keeping it in a cool, dry, and dark place will keep it fresher for longer. However, avoid putting it in the fridge for long because this can actually encourage rotting or the growth of mold.
Having said that, minced garlic is more likely to go bad than whole garlic, and storing it in the fridge is your best bet. However, you must put it in an airtight container to increase its lifespan.
Freezing is also not a good idea as It may lead to your garlic losing its taste, potency, and aroma.
Garlic Turned Purple—Has My Garlic Gone Bad?
If your garlic has turned purple or blue, it is still safe to cook. You only need to ensure that the garlic smells fresh and is not soft. Also, when garlic turns purple, it does not lose its spicy and delicious taste.
Is Purple Garlic Better Than White Garlic?
Purple Garlic has a strong taste and odor. It also leaves you with an aftertaste. In terms of nutritional value, purple garlic and white garlic are the same. The answer to this question narrows down taste and preference.
If you like purple garlic, you might argue that it is the best, while someone who prefers white garlic may have a contrary opinion.
How Can You Prevent Garlic from Turning Purple?
Preventing garlic from turning purple can be challenging. However, here are some tips that are worth trying:
- Only use stainless steel or enameled utensils and cookware
- Store garlic in a dry and cool place away from direct sunshine
- Use kosher or sea salt when preparing garlic
- Pickle garlic with distilled water
Unless you are incredibly keen, you may not avoid all the above conditions. If you fail and your garlic turns purple, don’t throw it away. Eating it will not cause you any problems.
How Long Does Garlic Last?
If you store garlic in a place with adequate ventilation and cool temperatures, it can last up to six months. Removing the clove from the garlic head reduces its shelf life to three weeks. And if you peel the cloves and store them in the fridge, they will only last for a week.
Does Garlic Paste Go Bad?
If you prepare and preserve garlic paste well with white vinegar, it can last up to six months. But without using a sound preservation method, it will go bad in just five days.
The next time your garlic turns purple, do not panic. Remember that it is a series of natural chemical reactions that have led to the color change. And so long as your garlic does not have yellow spots or a foul smell, it is perfect for cooking.
Here are some commonly asked questions about garlic and its consumption.
Should you eat bad garlic?
When garlic goes bad, you should throw it. Eating it may lead to botulism, a severe illness resulting from toxins attacking your nerves.
Should you refrigerate garlic?
Refrigerating garlic is a viable preservation method for the short term. If you leave the garlic in the fridge for a long time, it will start sprouting.
How should you store fresh garlic gloves?
It would be best to store fresh garlic cloves away from direct sunshine and moisture. You can put them in an open basket or paper bag.
When should you throw garlic away?
There are several reasons why you should throw your garlic away. For example, if your bulbs turn brown and yellow, it is time to get rid of them. Also, when garlic becomes squishy and begins to produce a foul smell, it is an indication that it has lost its freshness.
Is sprouted garlic bad?
Green shoots signify that garlic is growing. Your garlic is okay if there are no other alarming signs that your garlic has gone bad. However, sprouted garlic may have an undesirable taste.