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Garlic QandA

Food for Thought: "Science: Green Garlic Working on a pasta sauce recipe for an upcoming issue, test cook Erika Bruce noticed that fresh garlic cloves sometimes take on an odd blue-green shade when cooked with acid (tomatoes, in this case). Under acidic conditions, isoallin, a compound found in garlic, breaks down and reacts with amino acids to produce a blue-green color. Visually, the difference between garlic cooked with and without acid can be dramatic, but a quick taste of the green garlic proved that the color doesn't affect flavor." From America's Test Kitchen Newsletter, September 2004

Why is garlic sweet sometimes, and sometimes bitter? AH

If you are talking just about a fresh clove then I would suspect age. The older the garlic, the less sweet it would be. Some people say that the green sprout that garlic cloves sometimes have is bitter and should be removed but it would also indicate a clove that is less than fresh. Garlic can also become bitter by overcooking. Once it is browned, it's pretty much burnt.


I've scoured the internet and have yet to find a way to replicate garlic cloves the way I've had them at two separate restaurants, a French one and an Asian garlic steakhouse. I have no clue how they roast or fry their cloves, but they both made these wonderful golden (maybe slightly brown?) on the outside cloves with a crunchy chewy sticky texture throughout. This is NOT the same as the standard roasted garlic that results in soft mash-able cloves. Any clue on how I can replicate this in my kitchen? MC

That does sound like a delicious preparation. My guess would be that those restaurants are tossing the garlic cloves into a deep fat fryer. You could accomplish this at home by heating a small amount of oil (peanut oil works best for frying because of its high smoke point) in a deep saucepan to about 350 degrees (F). Be very careful, this is dangerous. Submerge the cloves in the oil until they are nicely browned.


I love roasting garlic and eating the "roasted" garlic like a candy. They are chewy, sweet and sticky plus delicious! But when I cook them slow, in the oven (separate the cloves and cook with olive oil on them) I am wondering if the quality of the health benefits are still present? I am hoping for both, a tasty and healthy combo! Thank you in advance, for your answer, VW

From what I have read about some of the latest research on garlic, roasting it diminishes the health benefits on two levels. To get the most from garlic, one should chop, press or the like and then let it sit for 5-10 minutes so that the beneficial active compound allicin can develop. Further, cooking at high heats or for long periods breaks down the allicin. So roasting is not the best vehicle for getting the health benefits of garlic. I came across another interesting fact about using garlic to enhance your health. Irradiated garlic has no fat-soluble compounds. Most garlic sold in supermarkets is from China and therefore irradiated. I always look for US grown garlic and now I'm doubly glad.


I have a recipe for roasted garlic dip and I am wondering if I could substitute the store brand jarred minced garlic for fresh garlic cloves. Would I have to roast the jarred garlic and how would I do

that successfully? LT

This seems like a bad idea to me. Trying to roast the already minced garlic would likely result in lots of burnt garlic. The idea behind roasting garlic is to cook it slowly in its own skin. It's not hard to do. Check out the article "The Great Garlic Roasting Experiment."


Pre-minced garlic often starts out with a rather mild flavor, but bought in quart sizes it will abruptly take on a dramatically intensified aroma after a few weeks in use. I find this preferable, and have almost never had a problem with spoilage - if spoilage implies mold. As a precaution, I tend to cook the more aromatic garlic by adding it to recipes earlier. The jars typically contain phosphoric acid as a preservative and remain refrigerated. Just what is happening to cause such intensification of aroma, and might it cause any problem? Thank you. RK

I'm no scientist, but I would guess that it is the allicin, a sulfuric compound in garlic, breaking down with the introduction of air into the jar. Be sure to keep an eye on the expiration date. Or, more preferable to me, use fresh cloves instead.



I love to mince garlic and fry in olive oil until golden. It is crunchy and good on shrimp etc. But, sometimes it is too bitter. What can I do to keep the bitterness down? thanks ACC

Garlic tastes bitter when it is burnt. There is a fine line between golden and burned so it's best to watch it carefully. You also want to mince it as uniformly as possible. It could be that while the garlic is golden as a whole, smaller pieces are burning and turning bitter.


I am trying to make a natural repellant for insects. In one of my recipes it uses garlic powder. My question is, how long is garlic powder good for if it is used as a repellant? How often should I change the garlic powder that is used outside the container to be effective as a repellant? VN

Seems to me that as long as the garlic powder is good for eating (that is, still has a strong scent) it would serve well as a repellent, too.


Hi! I have always bought 1-3# containers of peeled garlic, slow roasted it in the oven covered with oil, then simply stored it in the refrigerator together until it was used up. Recently I decided to try and jar the roasted cloves in oil. But, as I was doing some research, I found out about the botulism issue!! I roasted a 3# bag this time and will never be able to use it all in such a short time period. Do you have any suggestions on storage? Is it possible to still jar it together if it is boiled long enough? Or maybe pureed like peanut butter without the oil, and the oil separately. Is the oil also a risk by itself? I suppose, I could always freeze it, but was leaving that as a last resort. Thanks...CG

I refer you to this very helpful article about preserving garlic from the University of California at Davis. Note that they suggest canning garlic will take away much of the flavor.


I like to make homemade brushetta. I use olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and basalmic vinegar. Question #1: If I store the leftover in the refrig am I asking for botulism? Question #2: When I eat the leftovers the following day or two it always has a much stronger bite than when first made...Why? BDL

If you eat up the refrigerated leftovers within a day or two, I don't think you are breeding any illness. The flavors will have longer to meld, making them taste more intense. Sort of like how lasagna and soups are often better the next day.


I grow my own garlic and after a couple months of storage in the basement, it begins to develop the green sprout in the middle of the cloves. There is still quite a bit of garlic left that I don’t want to be wasted (couple dozen heads). I was thinking that by chopping the remaining garlic (removing any green sprouts) and refrigerating in oil, it would keep for months. After reading a couple sites, it seems that due to botulism risk, this will only keep a week or two. If I were to freeze the garlic/oil mixture in an ice cube tray and then store the individual cubes in a freezer bag, would this eliminate the risk of botulism? Thanks! DZ

This is probably a good option. Just be sure to freeze it right after mixing and don't wait long to use it after it has thawed.


I was fixing garlic toast and when we eat it, it was metal tasting and bitter. How do I fix garlic toast without using garlic salt. My husband is on a low sodium diet. Thanks JH

Perhaps you should try using roasted garlic. Roasting garlic makes it more mellow and would provide a nice consistency to mix with butter for your toast. See the "Great Garlic Roasting Experiment" article for ideas.


I buy chopped garlic in water in a jar. I store it in a jar inside two plastic bags. The odor still permeates the refrigerator, working its smell into the ice cubes in our freezer. How can I store my garlic without stinking up everything else in the refrigerator? JR

Aside from an airtight container, something like Tupperware, my only solution would be to get rid of that smelly stuff and chop fresh garlic cloves as needed.


I have recently moved to Hawaii and for some reason every time I buy garlic it goes bad within a few days. How should garlic be stored in a very humid environment?? SW

You might do well to get one of those little terra cotta garlic keepers. Also, if you're like me, you just keep it in a basket on the counter. I wonder if you would have more luck if you kept it in a dark cabinet, maybe even wrapped in paper.


I have made pickles for years using a clove of garlic. I put the pickles in a brine solution of 1 part vinegar and 3 part water salt brine then can in pints or quarts using the hot water bath method. After jars are sealed they are stored in a basement closet until needed. Is it safe to use minced garlic in oil instead of fresh garlic cloves? AL

The National Center for Home Food Preservation doesn't recommend canning foods for a second time. I think your minced garlic in oil would qualify as already being canned once so you are probably better off with sticking to the fresh cloves of garlic.


This may be a stupid question but is minced garlic you buy in a jar in the produce section of the store cooked or is it raw? KP

I think it's a pretty good question. Jarred garlic is considered to be in the raw state.


If I put garlic in a container with oil and red wine vinegar, is there still a chance of botulism if unrefrigerated? TS

Yep, it's the garlic the creates the potential for botulism.


I didn't know that I'm not supposed to refrigerate fresh garlic. It's been in my refrigerator for about 4-5 days. Is it still ok to use? TS

This is more of a quality issue than a safety issue in that garlic and onions get soft and will sprout more quickly when refrigerated. If the garlic is still firm and unsprouted, it should be fine to use.


I have heard that garlic which is not ORGANICALLY grown is very bad for your health. Is there any truth to this and if yes why? BS

While organic garlic may have more health benefits than that grown conventionally, I can't imagine that all of the past studies that prove how healthy it is have used only organically grown bulbs.


I see where a lot of people are asking about how long the big jars of garlic are good the ones you buy at Costco. I found that if I used a clean spoon EACH time there was never any spoilage...I actually used one of those big jars over a year's time and it was good till the end. The one before, I was not so careful with and it spoiled within a couple of months. RF

Using clean utensils is a good policy for every sort of jarred product.


Just wondering...what IS the difference (taste, advantages, disadvantages) between fresh garlic and garlic that's been hanging in the cellar for months?

Gourmet Garlic has an excellent article on this subject. You will find it under the heading "Making Good Garlic Last as Long as Possible."


I've been reading about the dangers of Garlic in Oil. Is it safe if you've cooked the garlic & oil together to a point of boil, then jar it? Refrigeration of course is a must. Just wondering if cooking it before hand makes a difference. Thanks for all the info! JH

As far as I can tell, the general guidelines of keeping garlic oil less than one week in the refrigerator stand for that which is cooked as well. Botulism is definitely not something to push to the limits.


If I eat garlic raw for health benefit only, and if I buy peeled garlic in a jar, ( vs. freshly peel right before I eat), does the garlic still has same amount of active ingredient? Meaning do I still get as much benefit from it? thanks. BYG

The latest research indicates that garlic that is crushed and allowed to sit for about 10 minutes yields the maximum amount of allicin. That said, if you are buying whole peeled garlic it should stand to reason the benefits  would be equal. I could only find one source that said chopped garlic frozen for three weeks still had the same health benefits.


Hi! I was going to roast a bulb of garlic today, but when I cut into it, the inner sprout was green. I have heard that this will lead to bitterness. The sprouts had not protruded out of the paper yet. Would these bulbs still good to roast, or should I look for some with no green? Thank you, CT

Cook's Illustrated did one of their big tastes tests on garlic with the green shoots left in or removed. They determined that the green sprout does indeed make a dish harsh and bitter.


Can you suggest a trick for storing garlic in a high humidity area (Hawaii)? It seems to go mushy pretty quickly. Thanks! SC

You might want to try one of the little Garlic Keepers that are available. They come in ceramic or terra cotta and have holes in the sides for ventilation as well as a lid to keep out light. People are giving them rave reviews on all the shopping sites I saw.


Short and simple question: If I roast a bunch of garlic, can I freeze it in airtight containers to be thawed and used later? If yes, how long can it stay frozen? Thanks! F

You could certainly freeze roasted garlic. You would probably want to use it up in 9 months to a year for the best quality.


What is the conversion of a fresh garlic clove to a dried garlic powder or salt? ED

One garlic clove is equal to 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder or 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic. They usually use granulated garlic in garlic salt so you might want to use a bit more than 1/4 teaspoon but be sure to cut the rest of the salt in the recipe.


Any idea what could be wrong with the garlic? I live in S. Fla and once a year in the spring, the garlic bulbs I buy don't smell/taste right. Smells almost like a very mild requiring a lot of smashed cloves, (Broccoli rabe, pesto, ziti) really taste bland using these bulbs. At times it's when the garlic has purplish red streaks in it and that is all the store has to offer. This time the garlic looks completely normal and white...I even purchased it from 2 diff. market and store.. and loose as well as small boxes...they are all the same. It's not just me or my husband and kids agree and notice the taste of garlic missing from recipes. I wondered if it is something with the crops...will have to use the jarred kind until new batches come in...your thoughts? thanks, KC

Here's my theory: At this time of year you are getting the more mild "stiffneck" variety. You are accustomed to the "softneck" type that is stronger and flavor and stores better. Next year, you might want to stock up on the garlic that you prefer to get you through or maybe even consider growing your own.


If I added some chopped fresh garlic to store-bought pickles, how long would it be safe to store them in the refrigerator. How about if I use the garlic in the jar?

I hesitate to say for sure because you are introducing the risk of botulism. Perhaps you could look for store-bought garlic pickles instead.


Should garlic (fresh from the produce department) be refrigerated after it has been opened or in the cupboard? Thanks for your help. E

If you mean the bulbs of a fresh head of garlic, they should be stored at room temperature. If you mean those jars of minced garlic, yes, they should be refrigerated after opening.


Does garlic go bad? BD

In my experience, garlic sort of dries up rather than going bad so to speak. It will sometimes sprout indicating it is past its prime but you can remove the sprouting center and still use the clove, if desired. Garlic is best kept at room temperature.


How many cloves are in a typical bulb of garlic? I have one source tell me ten, another more than twenty. TF

I don't think there are any hard and fast rule since they vary so much by size in both the cloves and the bulbs themselves. The one I have on hand right now has about 20.


Can you microwave garlic ? My husband is on the road a lot and cooks in his motel room. Can the microwave roast garlic ? Thank you very much. DB

You can buy little terra cotta garlic roasters that can be used in the microwave. I've never tried one before and I suspect you might get a similar texture as oven roasting but it will come out more steamed or baked than roasted.


My Boyfriend and I made green chili and he put like 4 cloves of fresh garlic in. The green chili came out really bitter. Could that be from the garlic? Maybe we should cook the garlic next time? Was the garlic not fresh perhaps? Or is there perhaps some other reason that it tasted so bitter? AH

Garlic will turn bitter if it is cooked too long and burns but since you used it raw I would say maybe it is old. Could it have been some other ingredient?


Whenever I chop, mince or work with peeled garlic cloves; by fingers get very sticky and I have to rinse them under running water so that I can continue. What can you do to prevent sticky fingers? On cooking shows they mince and chop garlic and do not rinse their hands afterwards. What's up with that? Thank you very much. PS

I've noticed this sticky situation pops in my kitchen sometimes, too. I have a couple of ideas for you. Invest in a garlic press and you won't even have to touch it or try spraying your fingertips with a little cooking oil spray. Just be very careful as you handle the knife that it doesn't slip out of your hand! As for the TV chefs, you never know, the part where they rinse their hands might have been edited out.


Hi…Does fresh pressed garlic in olive oil go bad? How long is the shelf life after you have pressed garlic into olive oil? AND once I have pressed it into the olive oil what is the best way to store it and for how long? Does it last long in the pantry or refrig? Thank you, GB

We have covered the safety of flavored oil recently on the Cooking Q&A Page. You will also find a link there for more information. Garlic is one of the main culprits for the introduction of bacteria into oils. It's best not to keep it for more than a day or two.


Hi. I would really like some help with this if possible. I have been marinating my own garlic cloves (peeled) in oil for a couple of years now and every now and then I end up with a batch where many of the cloves turning green after a week or so and the oil turns hazy. I then pick our the green cloves and throw them away. My question is Why do some turn green, are they off or poisonous ? I am too scared to eat them and I worry that the green ones might turn the oil bad or send the others green if I leave them in the jar. I hope this all makes sense to someone as everyone I have spoken to about this has no idea. Thanks for your help. EW

You probably read the explanation above of why garlic turns green. In this case, however, it could be that the garlic is actually growing some old fashioned mold. You don't say whether you are refrigerating your marinating garlic but if you are, that's why the oil is turning cloudy. It does that once it falls below room temperature. I do need to warn you that you are opening yourself up to the risk of botulism by marinating the garlic in oil. You shouldn't keep it on hand for much longer than five days in the refrigerator.


Hi, My wife's mother says never refrigerate garlic. We brought some garlic home from her house and it was much stronger than the garlic we prepare. Is it good to do this or is this or not? It's pretty strong!!! Thanks: Tom from an Italian family. TM

Here's a quote from the Garlic Store's website about how to store garlic: "A ventilated garlic keeper is fine, and looks good in your kitchen. Garlic stores well at room temperature as long as it is not sealed up. The ideal storage for garlic is at 55 degrees F and at 55% relative humidity. Never refrigerate garlic, or it will try to sprout prematurely. And never ever store garlic in oil at room temperature. It is a hotbed for botulism." Consider, too, that your mother-in-law may have a different variety of garlic than you normally use.


How long does jar a minced garlic keep after having been opened? EO

I can't find a definitive answer for this and I don't use it myself. If there isn't an expiration date on the jar, perhaps you should call the company that made it.


My father-in-law says that he uses the root of garlic to keep his blood pressure down. He says it doesn't have the smell or taste of garlic cloves, but he chops it up and puts it on his food. Do you think he means the onion looking part of garlic or is there actually a root (other than the bulb)? Thanks for your time! D

Garlic does have roots attached to the bulb and they are edible but, unless he is growing his own or knows of a local farm, I can't imagine where your father-in-law would get them.


Hi, I have been reading about garlic turning green when cooked with certain things but I have tons of garlic growing in the garden, after I harvest it and it begins to dry the cloves turn very green. I have always thrown it away because I was afraid to use it. Is it o.k. to cook with? Thanks, J

The What's Cooking America site has some Garlic Tips that might give you an idea of why this is happening with the garlic from your garden.


Dear Sir/madam, I read the following article on Garlic and it was quite interesting: "Q: Is there a way to fix garlic without getting bad breath from it. My husband loves garlic and I don’t like to have bad breath for 3 days? CN" "A: Cooking garlic will take away some of the breath-killing properties. For some longer cooking recipes, you might also try adding whole garlic cloves that can be be removed before serving." Is it not true that when you roast garlic there is no smell or after effects? I have heard people who eat roasted garlic and it doesn’t seem to smell. If this is the case you may want to update your site. Kind Regards, C

It's true that roasting garlic may diminish the bad breath effects since it is a method of cooking it. I've noticed sometimes it doesn't affect my breath and other times it does--perhaps it is due to the length of roasting?


How long does garlic that is canned (glass container) stay good after opening it and putting in refrigerator? SS

Oh, I'm tempted to say it wasn't good to begin with because fresh cut garlic is always better but you might find that rude. Your glass jar should have a use-by date on it.


I have tried cooking with a couple of heads of garlic, switching pans and methods each time, and for some reason these seemingly perfect cloves give off a strong paint smell. What could cause this? The only difference is that the skin is purplish but I thought that could be normal. I am using the same method as I always do, it smells fine minced and then when it starts cooking...BAM shot to the nose. It tastes the same, like cooking spray paint or something. Thanks for the help. B

Do other people smell this same odor? It could be just the way your olfactory system processes this particular variety of garlic. There are many different varieties, perhaps you should stay away from the type you have been cooking and see if you can find one that is more pleasing to you.


How much of 1 teaspoon of liquid garlic equals how much in powder form? Thanks M

One half teaspoon liquid garlic is equal to one clove of garlic which is equal to 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic.


Our garlic bulbs are stored in a dark, cool place but they are sprouting in abundance. is there a better way to store them and is it still good to eat this garlic? and the sprout? thanks! TS

Your garlic may have been a bit old when you bought it. Our friends at Cook's Illustrated have done tests on sprouted garlic. They report that the sprout is bitter and should be removed but that the rest of the clove is fine. They also discovered that garlic is best stored at room temperature in paper bags or a ceramic garlic keeper.


We bought a 3 lb refrigerated tub of garlic -ha - and it has been about a couple of months , it has turned a little darker yellow color , so we froze some ???? not sure if that was a good idea and now the rest of it is even darker yellow and has a really strong do you know when garlic goes bad.... JJ

Well now, that's quite a bit of garlic, isn't it? I suppose the best indicator of it going bad would be mold. Aside from that, your supply sounds a little icky--go with the old adage "when in doubt, throw it out."


What is the difference between a button of garlic and a clove of garlic? Thanks, H

No difference, just different ways to express it.


Is there such a thing as "old garlic?" If so, what is the difference between regular garlic and old garlic? T

The answer is age as far as I know. Kept properly, garlic will last for quite some time but fresh, younger garlic will have more flavor. In the article "Herb of the Year 2004: Good Old Garlic," the 'good, old' part means reliable.


Does cooking garlic take away from its health benefits? I heard from a friend that if you cook it fully (sautee, brown, etc) you will not get the full benefits. Is this true? Thanks!!

Check out this article from the Garlic Central website: Garlic Health Benefits: Summary.


Can you tell me where to find recipes which use pickled garlic in them? Would pickled garlic be useful in certain meat dishes? Thanks! LAK

Now that you mention it, I've never seen a recipe that actually called for pickled garlic. I think it would make an acceptable substitute for fresh garlic in recipes like salads and salad dressings, relishes, sauces and, yes, many meat dishes. Think of pickled garlic along the same lines as you would capers and you should find lots of ways to use it.


If I cook shrimp scampi with minced garlic will it turn to liquid? If not how do I make scampi like they do in restaurants? EJ

The liquid in shrimp scampi is usually a butter sauce. You will find a link to a scampi recipe in the article "Herb of the Year 2004: Good Old Garlic."


Hi! I looked over your very informative website but couldn't find an answer to my query. My father grows garlic but it doesn't look like the garlic you buy in the's not cloves, per se, it's more like an onion. It smells garlicky, though maybe not as strong, and it works out fine cooking, but we are baffled by it's "looks". Any thoughts? Thank you very much, MW

Are we sure that your father isn't growing shallots? They are similar to garlic in shape but peel like an onion. Read more at "All About Shallots."


Why does garlic turn brown when pickled ???? MS

Not all of it does so I suspect some sort of preservative is being added.


Is there a way to fix garlic without getting bad breath from it. My husband loves garlic and I don’t like to have bad breath for 3 days? CN

Cooking garlic will take away some of the breath-killing properties. For some longer cooking recipes, you might also try adding whole garlic cloves that can be be removed before serving.


What is the difference of Minced garlic and fresh garlic and can you use minced instead of fresh when cooking? TAH

"To mince" is a technique rather than a type of garlic. Minced garlic is fresh garlic chopped fine. You can accomplish this with a knife or a garlic press.


Is it possible to eat too much garlic ? I eat alot of it. JM

I offer you this link to information about garlic from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center so that you can decide, based on your own health.


I have never roasted garlic and am planning on trying your "experiment" with the slow cook method. Does roasted garlic need to be used immediately or can you tell me how long it can be stored and is there a best storage method? Because of the energy consumption it makes sense to roast several heads at once. Thank you for your help. LRC

I've never been able to keep roasted garlic around for very long but I don't think I would try to hold it much longer than a week in the refrigerator. Be sure to wrap it airtight or squeeze out the roasted cloves into a small container and cover with a thin layer of olive oil.


My doctor spoke of the wonders of garlic butter. She said she cooked raw garlic in the oven and then used it like butter. Can this be done in the microwave? What are the temps and times? thanks! KC

Check out the article "The Great Garlic Roasting Experiment" for many different ways to make your garlic spread like butter.


I got some strange garlic from the supermarket the other day. It looked fine on the outside, but seemed a bit mealy when I started to mash it. Instead of a pungent garlic aroma, it smelled weak, with a very faint whiff of ammonia. I didn't use it, so I don't know if the flavor was affected. This has happened twice recently. Has anybody else experienced this? Any explanation? B

I wouldn't have eaten this garlic either. Most likely, the garlic has been dried and/or stored improperly causing it to go bad. I haven't experienced this myself; anyone else out there?


I have read about garlic turning green. Mostly, the green is stated to be coming from acid. Over the many years, I have made garlic butter for our crab, and it hasn't turned green. Now, my garlic is turning green, and I don't use any acid. I have not changed my pot or utensil. I agree that it doesn't change the taste, but it's not appealing. I used the same garlic in a tomato base dish, and it didn't change color. Why all of a sudden is the garlic turning green in my butter? TH

This landed in my mailbox recently and may answer your question: "From the Food site. Practices -- Cooking. Why does garlic turn blue-green when cooking with butter and lemon?

Garlic contains sulfur compounds that might react with copper to form copper sulfate, a blue or blue-green compound. The amount of copper needed for this reaction is very small and is frequently found in normal water supplies. The other sources of copper might be the butter or lemon juice. The garlic is safe to eat. To prevent this in the future, do not refrigerate garlic and store the bulbs in dry air for 32 days at above 70 F to 80 F before use to prevent formation of the green or blue-green pigments. PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004"


Hi, I use garlic but not to often, how do I store unused garlic? and what is a clove of garlic, thxs AF

You can get fancy little "garlic keepers" which are ceramic jars with holes in the sides to allow for air circulation but I find garlic lasts for weeks along with onions and shallots in the basket I keep on my kitchen counter. When you break a bulb of garlic of garlic it will fall into many cloves. More on garlic: "All About Garlic."


Hi, I want to dehydrate a pound or so of garlic. I have been told by others that this can be done in the microwave. Can you tell me more about this technique? KL

Although some people say that you can dry herbs in the microwave (others say this is a good way to start a fire), seems to me that garlic wouldn't be a good choice for this method. Garlic is really a vegetable and it would more likely cook than dehydrate. An electric dehydrator would be a better method.


Hi! Since I cook a lot of meat in which I like to put garlic paste for flavor- I often make a paste of garlic (grind it in food processor) and store it in the fridge. it usually lasts a week or two. but this time I stored it in a glass bottle (with a tight lid) and it turned green and that too in a matter of hours. I am wondering whether to use this garlic or not. what do you say? thanks, s

See the explanations above for why garlic turns green. You should also be advised that this isn't the best method for storing your garlic since it is a good candidate for botulism. It would be safer to freeze your garlic puree in small packets or containers.


Recalling that prisoners chewing garlic while carting away bodies did not succumb to the Great Plague leads me to consider that perhaps garlic could also be effective against bird flu. My query is this:-What is the most effective way to buy and store garlic, in its most powerful form, for just such an eventuality? Thankyou SJ

Interesting food for thought there. I refer you to Garlic where they cover nearly every aspect of garlic including health benefits and storage.


When a recipe calls for roasted garlic, can you substitute minced garlic in olive oil (store bought). What exactly is the difference? Flavor? What about garlic mashed potatoes? Should I use roasted garlic? DJW

Roasting garlic gives it a more mellow taste and takes away that familiar bite of heat. What you use depends on the flavor that you want. Raw garlic has more of a presence than cooked or roasted garlic. Many folks simply boil whole garlic cloves along with the potatoes for garlic mashed potatoes but you could also add roasted garlic as you mash them.


How do I store fresh chopped garlic and how long will it be good for? Is it ok to put it in the fridge in a jar? thank you!! JR

Garlic is best used just after chopping. It could be (and should be) stored chopped and submerged in oil in the refrigerator for a week or two.


Hello everyone:  About roasting garlic. Your ways sound wonderful albeit a lot of energy used for such a small mass. We also love garlic in nearly everything. Consequently I came up with such a simple method. Try it, bet you'll like it. Just take a full head of garlic, or more, clean the cloves, put them in a micro wave friendly container. I use a Corningware cup or glass custard cup. Cover the garlic with virgin olive oil...cover with something, like waxed paper, parchment, or just plain paper towel, folded as necessary and microwave for one minute, depending on the amount of garlic and the power of your microwave. Let stand a few minutes. This leaves you with soft garlic that can be tossed into sauces, potatoes, vegetables...wherever you like it. The bonus is some lovely garlic flavored oil that can be used anyway you wish.  Your site came up as I went hunting for info on annatto....what a treasure to stumble upon. Thanks, E

Thanks for sharing your idea for a quick-roast garlic. Glad you like the site!


I just read the above message about green garlic. My garlic, cooking with lemon and chicken, in a dish I have made before, with utensils (all stainless) turned an unreal turquoise green-not a plant color-I threw out an entire chicken because this was very scary looking. I have been cooking forty years, including a professional stint as a sous chef. This is a new one on me.

New one to me too! I think I would have done the same thing.


I am not much of a gardener, but I would like to be! I have a garlic bulb that I have not pulled apart or used and it is starting to sprout in my kitchen window. I would love to plant it in a pot if at all possible, but I am not sure how to start or if I can do it at all. Do I pull it apart? Do I plant it with anything? Do I leave it outside or in? Oh and just FYI I live in Texas where the weather changes all of the time--if not just plain HOT. Currently- 60 degrees outside. JM

Since it is so widely available I haven't really tried to grow garlic. Your experiment sounds like fun, however, so I encourage you to try it! In a nutshell, you should pull the cloves apart, plant them about two inches deep with the end that is sprouting pointing up. Keep the pot in full sun and water regularly but don't keep it soggy. Find lots more of the information you need at the Garlic


While searching the net for an answer to my green garlic, I stumbled upon your garlic q&a. I roasted plum tomatoes that were with sliced in half and mixed with sliced garlic, salt, sugar and dried thyme. After roasting the tomatoes for two hours, I noticed that the garlic turned green. I'll continue my search for an answer. N

I finally found the answer to this puzzling situation. Here is the quote from the "More Tips" page: Food for Thought: "Science: Green Garlic Working on a pasta sauce recipe for an upcoming issue, test cook Erika Bruce noticed that fresh garlic cloves sometimes take on an odd blue-green shade when cooked with acid (tomatoes, in this case). Under acidic conditions, isoallin, a compound found in garlic, breaks down and reacts with amino acids to produce a blue-green color. Visually, the difference between garlic cooked with and without acid can be dramatic, but a quick taste of the green garlic proved that the color doesn't affect flavor." From America's Test Kitchen Newsletter, September 2004.


I have been making a spicy salsa which contains lots of garlic that is mashed into a paste. I wanted to bottle this as part of a gift basket for family and friends. After heating the salsa for bottling purposes, the significant "bite" of the salsa has disappeared. What can be done to safely bottle my salsa without losing the raw garlic appeal. JJ

The processing of canning is cooking the garlic, as you suspect, and I don't know of any way around that. Maybe you could make an attractive decoration for the lid with heads of garlic and suggest that recipients chop it up and add it to the jars after opening.


I know it sounds impossible, but I got too much garlic in the soup I was making. I know if you get too much salt cook potatoes in the broth and that absorbs salt any hints on too much garlic? DH

The only remedy I know for this problem is to make another batch of soup without garlic and mix the two together.


My garlic is in the flower or blossom stage right now. The blossoms (not the scapes) look like miniature garlic cloves, each about the size of a piece of orzo pasta. I tasted one and it was a delightful garlic taste. My question: Can I use these blossoms in cooking or salads?

Okay, I confess, I've never seen blooming garlic! The general rule is that all herb flowers are edible so I'm certain you can cook with yours. You might want to take caution that you don't overpower a dish if the flavor is strong like that of chive blossoms.


Hi, My neighbor gave me a whole bunch of garlic that he had already peeled - I have about 60 cloves of garlic. How do I store them - I am a single parent whose son is off at college and don't cook that much anymore - any suggestions - I would hate to have them rot or spoil. thanks D

Gee, that's a lot of garlic. It isn't going to keep very long. You might want to pickle it as in the recipe at "All About Garlic" or make it into garlic butter as described in "Compound Butters Rescue Plain Foods."


Who first brought cultivated garlic to the New World and in what part was it first grown? Thanks, P

I can't find the exact answer to your question but I did discover that Christopher Columbus brought onions to the Dominican Republic in 1494. Soon they were introduced to Mexico and Central and South America. From there they made it to North America. I don't think it would be such a leap to think that garlic followed the same trail.


I have bought some Garlic in a pot and have planted this within my herb patch, in the garden. How do I know when to dig it up to use it? Also I have planted some Chervil in the same area but it is starting to go a red colour. Before planting it I broke up some of the roots in case it was a little pot bound and I am also keeping it well watered. Any Ideas??

After the plants shoot up flowers you will want to cut the stalks back to allow the heads of garlic to use all that energy to develop. Leave a couple of flowers as a guide; when they begin to brown and wilt you know they are almost ready. Stop watering for a few days and then pull the heads out of the ground. Allow to dry out of the sun for a few more days. One reference book tells me that chervil does not take well to transplanting and doesn't really like full sun. Perhaps your plant is experiencing shock that it may or may not recover from or it's just getting too much sun? Can you check back with the place you bought it from to ask questions?


I have several recipes that call for a "garlic button". What-the-heck IS a garlic button? I would appreciate your input. Thanks. C

Cloves of the garlic head seem to go by many names. I've never heard them referred to as buttons but I have heard them called "toes" or "buds." These must all be regional references.


Garlic is good but the after affects are not so good on your breath and body. Does powdered or pickled garlic have the same affect as fresh garlic?

Garlic really is the seasoning we love to hate! Although recent studies are showing that garlic may help reduce blood cholesterol, block certain cancers and reduce risk of infection, there is still the pesky problem of bad breath. Jean Carper of (4/2/95) reports that all forms of garlic, even powdered, can have health benefits. "Garlic infuses your blood and lungs," she writes, and may give off odor for 4-18 hours depending on your body's individual reaction. I have found that cooking garlic seems to lessen the negative effect on your breath. Pickled garlic is cooked briefly so it probably falls into a middle range between raw and powdered. You would use far less powdered garlic so I consider it less potent. Should you find yourself with garlic breath, you might try one of the suggestions found at They recommend eating fresh parsley, a coffee bean or a bowl of lime sherbet. But Carper warns these or other measures only serve to dim the problem. You have to let it run its course.



Here's one that's full of our favorite recipes because we wrote the book! It is also full of information, helpful hints and ideas for using herbs and spices in your kitchen.

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