Last Updated on June 18, 2023 by Shari Mason
Garlic is a staple ingredient in many kitchens, but what happens when you cut into a clove and find it green in the middle?
As a home cook, I’ve encountered this situation more than once, and it can be confusing to know whether the garlic is safe to use or if it’s gone bad. So is it bad if garlic is green in the middle?
I’ll share my firsthand experience and knowledge about it to help you determine whether it’s safe.
Is Garlic That Is Green In The Middle Safe To Eat?
Yes, garlic , which is green in the middle, is safe to eat.
While the green color can be a bit unusual, it’s caused by a natural chemical reaction between the garlic and its amino acids and is not harmful to humans.
“ You can never have enough garlic. You can eat The New York Times with enough garlic.”– Morley Safer, Canadian-American Broadcaster
Green garlic can still be used in recipes, although you may want to remove the green sprout in the middle to prevent bitterness.
Why Does Garlic Turn Green In The Middle?
Garlic can turn green in the middle due to a chemical reaction between the garlic and its natural amino acids.
This reaction occurs when garlic is exposed to high heat or stored under certain conditions, such as in a humid environment.
When garlic is heated, the amino acids break down and produce a compound called alliinase, which reacts with other compounds in the garlic to form a green color.
Similarly, moisture can cause the same chemical reaction when garlic is stored in a humid environment.
While the green color may be a bit unusual, it’s harmless and does not affect the flavor or quality of the garlic.
Does Green Garlic Taste Different?
Green garlic may have a slightly different taste than regular garlic due to the presence of chlorophyll, which gives it a green color.
The chlorophyll may give the garlic a slightly bitter or grassy taste, but this difference is typically not significant enough to impact the overall flavor of a dish.
“Green garlic may look like something out of a sci-fi movie but don’t be afraid to embrace the color. With some knowledge and creative cooking, green garlic can add a unique twist to your favorite dishes.”– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
Some people enjoy the taste of green garlic and seek it out specifically for its unique flavor.
If you find that the taste of green garlic is too strong or bitter for your liking, you can permanently remove the green sprout in the middle before using it in your recipe.
Can You Still Use Green Garlic In Recipes?
Yes, you can still use green garlic in recipes. While the green color may be unusual, it’s harmless and does not affect the flavor or quality of the garlic.
However, remove the green sprout in the middle before using it to prevent bitterness in the dish. Some people enjoy the taste of green garlic and seek it out specifically for its unique flavor.
How Can You Prevent Garlic From Turning Green?
- Store garlic properly: Garlic should be stored in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. Avoid storing garlic in a humid environment or direct sunlight, as this can cause it to turn green.
- Use garlic promptly: Fresh garlic should be used within a few weeks of purchase to prevent it from turning green. If you don’t plan to use it immediately, store it in a cool, dry place or in the fridge to help preserve it.
- Avoid high heat: Garlic can turn green when exposed to high heat, so try not to cook it at too high a temperature. Instead, cook it at a moderate temperature  and remove it from the heat as soon as it’s done cooking.
- Cut out the sprout: If you do find that your garlic has turned green, you can still use it in recipes. Cut out the green sprout in the middle to prevent bitterness in the dish.
Can you freeze garlic?
Yes, you can freeze garlic. Freezing garlic is a great way to preserve it for later use and is a valuable technique for those who want to keep garlic on hand but use it sparingly.
To freeze garlic, peel, chop, or mince the cloves, then place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Alternatively, you can also freeze whole garlic bulbs.
What are the signs that garlic has gone bad?
Discoloration, mold growth, and a soft or mushy texture show garlic have gone bad.
Green garlic may look unusual, but it is safe and can still be used in recipes. The green color is caused by a chemical reaction between garlic and its natural amino acids and is not harmful to humans.
While green garlic may have a slightly different taste due to the presence of chlorophyll, it does not significantly affect the overall flavor of a dish.
Store garlic properly in a cool, dry place with good air circulation to prevent it from turning green, and avoid exposing it to high heat.
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