Garlic infuses delicious flavor into dishes and preparing it in certain ways can boost both its flavor and health benefits. Find out how to prepare and cook with garlic to for maximum potency and how to cure garlic breath and get rid of garlic smell on hands.
Allicin, a healthy compound in garlic, is most potent in fresh cloves. Japanese researchers found that crushed garlic stored in water lost about half its allicin in six days; stored in vegetable oil it lost that much in under three hours.
Cutting a garlic clove breaks its cells and releases stored enzymes that react with oxygen. That triggers healthy sulfide compounds, such as allicin, to form. Letting the chopped garlic stand for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking allows the compounds to fully develop before heat inactivates the enzymes.
The more you damage garlic’s cell walls the more sulfide-transforming enzymes you release—and with them, more pungent garlic flavor. Since crushing breaks the most cells, crushed garlic cloves taste harsher, sliced or coarsely chopped garlic cloves milder. Intact garlic cloves are mildest of all. (Cook’s tip: Mashing minced garlic with a pinch of coarse salt helps tame the harsh flavor.)
To get rid of garlic breath, brush, floss, nibble parsley—and drink milk: its fats and water help deodorize volatile compounds.
To get rid of garlic smell from your hands, rub garlicky-smelling hands with a lemon wedge, salt, baking soda or maybe even a piece of stainless steel, like your kitchen faucet (molecules in steel are thought to block odor-producing reactions). Rinse hands well with water.