Three garlic questions

Joined Dec 7, 2009
I tried to find the answer with a quick search and got another question:

1. Net says dont crush garlic too hard it will oxidize and get bitter. I thought oxidation occurred in contact with air, maybe wrong, but it it goes right in a soup or stock when does it oxidize? On the cutting board?

2. Must I remove garlic peels when making stock? They must leave a bad taste?

3. My google search produced this final question: I read Wild Garlic causes the body to make mercury water soluble I believe which would be a health benefit. Does anyone in this community use Wild Garlic? Why would Wild Garlic have a pronounced health benefit as opposed to commercial garlic?

One of my bosses once said I am a person that needs to know WHY.

Its the way I roll.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Myth. You do get a stronger garlic flavor and sulfur compounds which some may perceive as bitter, but a good mince does just the same.

No. But they might add some color which isn't necessarily bad but not always desirable. and they might not be as clean as you'd like.

This one strikes me as pseudo science as a money making venture. Run far far away from it.
Joined Aug 18, 2007
Just my 2 pennies

Re.garlic in skin... When you halve a bulb or 2 and stick it in the roasting pan with a chicken, the sweetness and flavour is amazing... no bitterness. You simply squeeze those delectable little cloves out and enjoy.

If you crush garlic, you release so much and produce an intense flavour that you dont get from simply chopping

IMO bitterness comes from cooking too hard/burning

If your garlic has a green shoot in the middle, get rid of it.It will be bitter
Joined Oct 16, 2008
1. oxidation happens over time with exposure to Oxygen not from being crushed to hard.
2. You dont have to remove the peels, some chefs will tell you that they may impart a bit of bitterness but I dont think they have any effect good or bad
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Nothing important to add, but it's nice to hang out with my betters.

1. Yes, but... The smaller the pieces of garlic or garlic mush, the greater the surface area and the quicker and faster oxidation -- in the mise bowl or the board, not submerged -- will occur. Practical answer is, "yes, but not much." If you want micro-brunoise or completely mushed garlic -- because it's better in your dish, or just because it works faster -- do it, and don't worry about it. As a wise man once said, "Live."

2. If you don't remove the peels from the garlic cloves before you putting them into whatever it is they're going, there's a chance you'll be fishing them out of whatever it is you cooked later. Check for clean, first. If you're smashing them peel on, make sure whatever peel's still attached is firmly attached. Otherwise, whatever's easier and best suits your fancy.

For some not well thought out reason I always peel.

3. Like a lot of "health-food/ nutiritionist science," it's meretricious junk.

Joined Feb 26, 2007
1 & 2....I agree with all the above
3....Mercury is a toxin. Leave that one well alone!!!

I leave skin on if adding garlic to a tray of roast veg, as it is great fun to squeeze it out of its skin when done, but take skin off in a soup. Just because :)

Love the stuff. I do have a question tho for anyone who may know:
Do you have to actually eat the garlic for its nutritional benefits, or as in with some recipes, include it for flavouring then remove before serving? Will that still yield the benefits? Curious on that one.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Wow! This must be an historic event. Virtually all respondents are in essential agreement. If that ain't a first at Cheftalk it sure comes close. :peace:

Anyway, as a long-term grower and user of garlic (a day without garlic is a day without sunshine!) I add my "yea" vote to everything that's been said. But a few comments.

1. Whoever said that needs to be taken out behind the barn. Oxidation is what makes garlic taste like garlic. The suphurides that give it its flavor are activated by oxygen. The smaller you make the individual pieces, the more surface is exposed, and the greater the garlic flavor. Hint: That's one way of making the garlic in a dish contribute a stronger or weaker taste.

2. Garlic paper is virtually flavorless, and does not contribute either a good nor bad taste. As others have said, however, it can effect color. And if the garlic is being left in the dish, you still have to fish out the paper. For anything being strained, such as stock, this is not an issue.

3. Reading this I thought my pants would never dry. Junk science at best. However, there is some evidence that wild garlic may be toxic in certain situations. So a word to the wise. If you're going to eat it, start slow, and monitor any side effects that might appear.

If your garlic has a green shoot in the middle, get rid of it.It will be bitter

Bughut, I'd heard variations of that for years, and spent a lot of time dutifully digging out and discarding the green shoots. Then I decided to taste it. Could not, after several tries with several garlic varieties, detect any bitterness. So now I just use the clove as usual. I'd no more discard those green centers than I'd throw away the scapes.
Joined Nov 5, 2007
I feel like I need to pipe up and contradict everyone just to be ornery, but...

Those green shoots are just really young and tender garlic chives waiting to happen. By the time the cloves sprout, though, they are a little older and less pungent, but still usuable if that's what you've got on hand. And I'm hoping many folks here have made use of garlic chives at one time or another.

In a lot of my long braises I don't bother peeling the garlic, just make sure there aren't too many big clumps of dirt on the roots. Whole cloves that have been roasted or slowly simmered provide a different sort of garlic flavor than that which has been minced, crushed, chopped, whatever.

I'd love to find the original source of this quote:

Garlic is the catsup of intellectuals

Joined Feb 26, 2007
I agree that the only bitter taste you could get with garlic is if you burn it. I've prepped garlic 5 hours before making a stir fry (minced), covered with cling film, in fridge, tasted good. Just don't get the oil at too high temp. Toss your garlic in, then straight away the onions or whatever veg you are using next in line. It cools the pan a little to avoid the garlic burning, garlic won't burn, you get all the flavours working.

You can, of course, saute the garlic in the oil till it's fragrant, then remove the garlic and use the infused oil to continue with the dish.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
I just read an authoritative-looking site (which I've forgotten) that garlic, after being sliced/crushed, needs ten minutes before being exposed to the heat of cooking for the chemical compounds to mix and react to create the famous healthful attributes. Otherwise, according to this "authority" the touted anti-cancer, etc. benefits do not accrue.

Anybody have any references on this?

Also, I've mentioned that if I need quite a bit of minced garlic, I throw the peeled cloves in my Mini-Prep processor and grind them up. When the pieces get to a fine mince, they stick to the sides of the bowl, away from the blades, and so don't turn to mush or liquid. Fast and uniform.

Joined Dec 7, 2009
I like allrecipes stuff and commend their squash soup and veg broth info but look them up on peeling garlic to see about oxidation.

More important what do you do. Pull them over and nicely ask them to stop providing misinformation. Some action should politely be taken right.

I am the new kid on the block and dont want to make waves in the industry and again commend allrecipes but is there a right and wrong?
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Keven, all of those recipe dump sites suffer from several faults; one of which is that in their desire to appear encyclopedic, accuracy often suffers. You can see this both in their general information---which is often outdated or flat wrong---and in how many of the recipes are presented.

This certainly isn't confined to cooking. It's a problem you find all over the net. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about it except ask people who are more likely to know the facts---as you've done here at Cheftalk.

Now, in terms of the garlic, you can easily test that yourself. Start by cutting a thin slice of raw garlic. Taste it. Then lightly crush half the remaining clove, and taste it. Finally, crush the heck out of the balance, and taste it.

Then you tell us if you detected any bitterness as a result of how you handled it.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Garlic shouldn't take that long in the pan to become aromatic - ten minutes seems extreme. Don't go by the clock - go by your nose, once you can smell it, you are ready to move on to the next step.
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