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Sep 24, 2007 12:48 AM

Eat the fuzzy garlic?[Moved from Home Cooking]

At my local Costco, the large jar of whole peeled garlic cloves is almost the same price as the much smaller jar at my local supermarket, so I buy the former. I love garlic, use it often, so I end up using more than the small jar but not enough to use all the large jar's garlic before the cloves develop fuzzy white spots (mold).

If the spots aren't too numerous on a clove, I just trim them away. I haven't noticed any taste difference between clean (non-fuzzed) and the trimmed garlic (I toss any cloves with green in the middle.)

Is fuzzy garlic safe to eat (a la bleu cheese)? If I trim off the fuzz, does that make the garlic safely edible? Or am I better off just heaving the jar and getting new, fresher garlic?

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  1. I think I would chop up most of the garlic when I bought it (in the food processor?) and freeze it in small quantities, rather than eat it moldy later on. The garlic in oil gets botulism if not stored correctly, but I don't think you have the same problem with the dry garlic: however they sell frozen chopped garlic now, so why not? If you throw out the rest of the jar, you won't be saving any money! I'm not afraid of mold myself, but prefer to prevent it if possible, for quality reasons if not safety.

    1. Ya know...I'm pushing 65, been cooking since I could reach the stove and have probably (even happily at times) violated every single 'cooking police' thing out there, but eating fuzzy garlic kinda skeeves me out. I'd pitch it.

      I'd still buy big jars if I was into that, but next time when the jar was getting on the older side, I'd freeze whatever I know wasn't gonna get used soon. Wrap up in 2-3 clove packets (use Costco's great plastic wrap) or whatever quantity, freezer bag the packets.

      1. Garlic really never gets unsafe until you mix it with oil...

        "The trouble starts if you store homemade garlic-in-oil at room temperature, or if you keep it in the fridge for too long. These actions could result in contamination of the product by the bacteria spores that cause botulism." - I don't have the source for this but if you Google it you will find it.

        I have found that its both cheaper and more tasty to buy garlic by the head, and discard what goes green and sprouts. If your garlic goes fuzzy you are storing it wrong or for way too long.

        Garlic is best stored in a cool, dry place. That means in a cabinet and never in the refrigerator!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kevitivity

          Hmmm... Every time I'm in a grocery store (incl. Costco) and see any type of processed garlic from Christopher Ranch, it's in the refrigerated case. I would have thought refrigeration slows down physical reactions, and so would inhibit mold growth moreso than room temperature storage? But, now that I think about it, I have had garlic heads still in their paper that, parked on top of my fridge in a basket, have outlasted the peeled CR garlic cloves easily by a factor of 10:1. (My refrigerated garlic usually lasts about a month before beginning to mold.)

          BTW, Kevitivity, thank you for the timely link to the garlic-in-oil warning, as I've had a container of garlic infused oil on my kitchen counter for two weeks (as yet unused) and so I will toss it.

        2. Ya know, a head of real garlic keeps a long time in a cool, dark cupboard. Peeling and chopping a few cloves takes about 2 minutes. Why is any hound buying expensive, old, pre-peeled stuff? Don't do it!

          2 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            Why buy peeled cloves? Convenience, or at least the myth of it.

            What's not a myth are the few times I need serious garlic right now. When I make 40 Clove Chicken, it's far easier to open a jar of peeled cloves, trim and smash them than it is to chop apart a head and peel each of the little buggers. After peeling about 6-7 cloves, my fingers get sticky and garlic paper adhesion starts to become an irritation.

            But I do take your point--chopping and peeling one or two cloves from a head is no big deal.

            1. re: KenWritez

              Try separating the head of garlic into cloves. Put the cloves in a glass jar with a lid and shake like hell for 1 minute. You will be amazed.