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Very Useful Tips on Cooking with Garlic

Updated on August 15, 2015
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Penelope has three grandchildren, two girls and one boy- so far. They have beautiful names! She writes stories and she tells them stories.

Chopping Garlic for a Spaghetti Dish

Chopping garlic (and chili) for Pecorino Garlic and Chili Sauce for Spaghetti
Chopping garlic (and chili) for Pecorino Garlic and Chili Sauce for Spaghetti | Source

Garlic in Cooking

Garlic is fresh for such a short time. In Italy it's on the market stands in late spring. It isn't strong when it is new. It's vibrantly garlic, like a baby sister to big old bro'. It makes all the dishes that more fantastic for the two or three weeks that is so fresh, (like a superb minestrone, or a fresh fish soup).

Like everything that grows in our world though, it begins its aging process and becomes something else. It becomes the garlic we are more used to eating. (Please see the video). It is still very delicious but it isn't so vibrant. It's the 'big old bro' of tastes!

As time goes on in the year this garlic grows a shoot down the middle of each clove (from which new plants could grow - if planted and watered!). The shoot is green. It isn't poisonous or horrible, it's just got a slightly more bitter taste to it and folk with delicate tummies sometimes complain of indigestion.

It's best to take the green shoot out if you are going to be making meals -

  • with finely chopped or finely sliced garlic
  • roughly chopped or halved garlic
  • halved garlic squeezed on toast for bruschetta

On the other hand, if you're going to be making dishes with whole cloves, such as roast potatoes or garlic soup, or slowly braised meats, then you can certainly leave the thin film on and the shoot in and let the garlic get soft and ooze it's sweetness out!

Best not to use old garlic (if you can avoid it), which is soft and which is brownish when you peel off the thin film.

When to Use Chopped Garlic

Here are some very rough guidelines to when to use which differently sized chopped garlic. The meals here are general examples of types of meals, though your recipe will probably tell you "finely chop" or "slice" or "roughly chop".

When the recipe calls for "finely chopped" it's going to be for foods that cook quickly, such as vegetables or shrimp. If it's "roughly" chopped its for foods that will take longer to cook such as chopped chicken, so the flavor takes a longer time to exude.

When its "whole", it's going to take a while to impart its secrets. Whole roasted garlic is sweet to taste, not at all pungent or harsh

Here's my rough guide!

Tomato Sauce and Vegetable Sauce

Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce | Source
Stuffed Courgette in Tomato Sauce with Garlic
Stuffed Courgette in Tomato Sauce with Garlic | Source

Italian Pasta Sauces

'Tomato Sauce' for pasta or risotto (or other vegetable sauces):

Finely chopped garlic without the little green shoot is tasty when it's tossed in the pan with extra virgin olive oil and chili for a very short time before tomatoes (or other vegetables) are added and cooked together.

A tomato sauce makes for a flavorful way to cook lots of vegetables including courgette and also for cauliflower leaves as well as bitter greens such as chicory or chard. You would only need a few cloves of garlic, not too many.

It's tasty chopped very, very fine and heated in butter for garlic bread, which you slice, sprinkle with melted garlicy butter, then wrap in tin foil and bake in the oven for approx 15-20 minutes.

'Meat Sauce' for pasta:

Garlic chopped a lot more coarsely and mixed with finely sliced onion and chili make a good flavor for meats which are browned in extra virgin olive oil - as a preparation to cooking them for longer with wine or stock and herbs.

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore with Garlic and Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar
Chicken Cacciatore with Garlic and Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar | Source

Garlic in Cooking Meat and Fish

Roast meats and fish:

Whole or halved garlic cloves make some meat types tastier, especially inserted between the lean and the fat then roasted or tossed in the pan.

Pan, grilling or barbeque steaks have to be an exception! They taste better with just salt.

If fish is fresh, it doesn't need garlic. Okay shrimp and co love it!

I love fresh water fish such as trout with garlic (and sage).



Half slices of garlic (with the green shoot removed) squeezed onto hot toast then sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil and salt makes a tasty dish!

If you enjoyed this hub, please rate it! Buon appetito!

Roast Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary

Roast Potatoes just about to go in the oven with whole cloves of garlic and rosemary
Roast Potatoes just about to go in the oven with whole cloves of garlic and rosemary | Source
Roast potatoes out of the oven
Roast potatoes out of the oven | Source

Roast Potatoes and Garlic

Roast vegetables:

A roasting dish filled with halved, potatoes, extra virgin olive oil and with a handful of whole garlic cloves, (in their film and with the shoot in, though crushed by a bang with a chopping knife handle) and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary are hard to beat.

How do You Rate This Article on Using Garlic Without the Green Shoot?

5 out of 5 stars from 4 ratings of Garlic Without the Green Shoot in Cooking

© 2013 Penelope Hart


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    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thanks for your vote sister garlic lover.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      lol. We rarely eat garlic with shoots because I'm always so excited to see the next year's crop getting a headstart. It takes months for our homegrown garlic to form a shoot however. I wonder if it is the variety or the climate that makes a difference.

      Voted up +

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Wow! Garlic in your garden would be fantastic! Thanks for such an enthusiastic comment.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      6 years ago from New England

      Yummy ideas for cooking with garlic! I grow it in my garden and love the taste in varying states of freshness.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Nice! Thanks. Hope you enjoy it much more now.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      These tips are helpful and and I found a simple understanding to the video

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      I do appreciate your angels, thank you.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida


      My first experience with the little green shoot came the other day and I wished I had realized I could pamper it and grow a new I know.

      Love garlic...and thank you so much for all of these helpful tips.

      Bookmarking to add to my cooking files.

      Sending you Angels today :) ps

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thanks Kaltar

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      And many thanks to you.

    • Gypsy48 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very helpful hub, love the video. I didn't know about the green shoot. Voted up and helpful. Thanks for sharing:)

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Glad you enjoyed the tips and many thanks L.L.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      I wouldn't worry Susan! Enjoy those shoots, of course enjoy them. I'm so pleased you've voted and shared, thanks so much!

      missolive. A short video is possible isn't it? I think if they get any longer they can be too demanding. Anyway, so pleased you liked the video and thank you so much for your comment about it and all the other kind things you said. Appreciated.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Ah, I am always open to any tips about the use of garlic in cooking and found some new ideas here. The videos added nicely to the content.

      Great hub; voted up and Shared.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Hello GoodLady, what a lovely and easy to understand video (I adore your voice). You hub is wonderful and full of all kinds of goodies. Thank you so very much.

      I had no idea the green shoot caused the bitterness, this is great to know.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You know how much I love and use garlic. This is a very useful hub. Should I be worried though as I like the taste of those green shoots.

      Voting and sharing.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Not sure about that, but certainly a shoot of anything must good for you! It is more indigestible though, so that's a minus on the digestive system.

      Removing the shoot out of garlic is like removing those shoots that grow on potatoes or other root veggies; they could be good for you but they certainly aren't very appetizing.

      Thanks for your comments. Appreciated.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Interesting hub.

      I had no idea the green shoot tasted different to the rest of the clove. Do you know if you still get all the health benefits if you remove the shoot?

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      You have a beautiful morning on your hands and mind!

      Of course you will be fine if you leave the green shoot in, though you could try without and see if you prefer????

      Thanks fro dropping in here! Appreciated greatly.

    • epigramman profile image


      6 years ago

      I leave the green shoot in - will I be okay? Love raw garlic cooked in everything I eat - like I do with olive oil - this is another world class cooking seminar and awesome hub presentation - thank you so much for your efforts, your research, homework and enlightenment for tips in the kitchen and beyond ......sending you warm wishes with a blowing furnace and Vivaldi playing with first cup of coffee and a clear morning sky although still dark with beautiful stars shining over the lake - at lake erie time ontario canada 6:39am

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Your evening meal sounds wonderful, buon appetito! Home grown garlic, how great is THAT. Thank you for your comments Angie J.

      Austinstar. Nice to find you here among the comments and many thanks for dropping in.

      So we're garlic lovers as well as Hubbers! Pleased you liked the video!

    • Austinstar profile image


      6 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

      I never knew about the green shoot in garlic cloves! Wow, learn something new every day.

      I would probably eat it anyway because I love garlic in just about everything.

      Nice video!

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      I love your cooking hubs, GL !

      Tonight we are having freshly made tagliatelle alla tonno, my own speciality with my own home-grown garlic :)

      I love making tagliatelle … it puts me touch with my (would like to have) Italian side.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Minced garlic is lovely in quickly cooked things I think because it cooks quickly (and then the flavor dissipates), but if you're making something that takes a while to cook, then it's probably more flavorful to have larger bits of garlic. Hope your and your husband enjoy - and many thanks for your kind comment.


    • GiblinGirl profile image


      6 years ago from New Jersey

      My husband loves garlic and I always just end up using minced garlic, but I'll definitely have to try out your tips so I can get even better flavor.

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      So pleased you liked the video! I wished I'd put some hand cream on when I saw it - perhaps ruining great garlic taste though!

      Many thank yous for your kind comments and for sharing. So appreciated Teresa.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Penelope, I never knew what created the more bitter flavour. Great video. Thanks for the tip. I will be using this and sharing!

    • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      So appreciate your vote and comments dear Italian friend. Thank you and enjoy your garlic much much more! Penelope

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Penelope. Really interesting. Always wondered about the green shoot. I've always just chopped it up with the rest of the clove? Now I know how and when to remove. Really enjoyed the video. Great job. VU and sharing.


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