Garlic is a key ingredient in everything from Chinese to Italian cooking. However, it is difficult to find good
garlic, a challenge to store and hard to prepare properly. Here are the biggest mistakes everyone makes when
cooking with garlic. We’ll explain why these are mistakes and how to avoid making them yourself.
You Are Not Blanching It
Garlic has an intense taste. That’s one reason why it is so popular. However, not every garlic recipe calls for
the intense taste of raw garlic. In these cases, blanch it. Blanching is when you scald the vegetable in boiling
water or steam. This sterilizes it if it was recently pulled out of the ground; that’s why blanching is standard
for frozen vegetables and should be done if you’re going to freeze your extra garlic. Blanching garlic in
water or milk will moderate the flavor, making it suitable for addition to pesto, salads and humus.
You Use the Wrong Tools
If you ask someone what they’re using to cut up the garlic, they’re probably using the same dull knife and
used cutting board they used for all the other vegetables. In reality, you want to use a sharp knife so that it
cuts cleanly and won’t damage cell walls. You can use a sharp chef’s knife, though you’ll want to wash it
after using it to cut carrots and potatoes before it touches garlic. That’s enough to cut up the garlic. You
should use a paring knife to trim leaves or cut garlic into small slivers to maximize the flavor.
You Don’t Grow It Yourself
If you love cooking with garlic, you’re making a mistake by not taking it to the next level and raising your
own. It allows you to know where the garlic came from, harvest it at peak freshness, and eliminate the
environmental costs of transporting it to the store. This is why many do grow it themselves. Yet many fail to
do this because the plant the garlic too early, killing it. Garlic should be planted between Halloween and
Thanksgiving. Others kill it by planting it upside down, though the plant might live but be harder to harvest.
You Are Using All the Garlic
This is the cooking equivalent to “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. Just because
you have a garlic bulb does not mean that you should add the entire thing to the recipe. Only use the amount
of garlic called for in the recipe. Others enjoy garlic’s versatility and don’t want to waste it, so they add
garlic to dishes that really shouldn’t include it. Then there’s the mistake of adding the germ to the recipe,
though you should remove that during prep. Don’t overuse the garlic because you think you have to use all
You’re Making It Look Ugly
Garlic contains sulfur. When it is exposed to copper – often found in lemon juice and butter and water from
homes with copper water pipes – the garlic can turn blue-green. It is safe to eat when this happens. However,
it is ugly. You could make the garlic change colors like this by heating the garlic too slowly. This change
can also happen if you refrigerate it. Garlic can turn green when you leave it out too long before you cook it
or added acidic ingredients to the meal before you added the garlic. And you can easily burn the garlic,
turning it dark brown or black. Start it on low heat before increasing the temperature, and turn down the heat
when the garlic is golden-brown.