Garlic after a certain period of time begins to sprout. It is very clear to see a thin green sprout poking out of the garlic cloves.
It is still safe to eat garlic that has had a sprout shoot up through it. The cloves themselves are still firm and crisp. They have also retained almost all of their moisture, flavor and aroma.
The word most was used because once garlic starts to sprout it tells you it is aging. The garlic itself is still good and has a nutty yet mild flavor we are all used to. The sprout on the other hand can be bitter and change the way the garlic clove flavors foods.
It is beast to use up the cloves that have sprouted first. When slicing, chopping or mincing these cloves the sprout should be removed first to avoid the bitterness it offers.
In time the garlic cloves will start to shrivel and then soften. Sometimes dark spots will appear on the cloves as they age and sprouting becomes more rapid.
When these changes happen the garlic has gone bad. It won’t make you sick if it is used within a few days after softening and shriveling up. The flavor it emits can change from mild to one that is a lot hotter with bitter overtones.
By this time it would be best to make the trip to the market and replace the garlic in your kitchen. The garlic bulbs when purchased should be fat or plump as well as firm.
Always keep garlic in an open container stored in a cool place in the house. It isn’t good to store fresh garlic cloves in the refrigerator. Storing garlic in the refrigerator actually encourages and accelerates the sprouting process making its shelf life a lot shorter. The garlic will go bad faster if not used fast enough.
Enjoy cooking with garlic!
© 2013 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved
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