Garlic FAQ

On this page I've included answers to some of the commonest questions asked about garlic. In many cases these questions are answered more fully on other pages on this site.

Garlic Q&A

  • What is garlic?
    Garlic is a bulbous plant of the genus allium, which includes leeks, shallots and onions. The most commonly used garlic is allium sativum.

  • What's the difference between a bulb and a clove of garlic?
    Garlic is sold in bulbs (or "heads"). The picture at the top of this page shows a single bulb. Each bulb can contain up to twenty individual cloves.

  • How do I store garlic?
    In a cool place, away from direct sunlight and with good air circulation, ideally in a specially made garlic keeper.

  • How do I prepare garlic?
    Almost any way you want! Garlic can be roasted whole, sliced, chopped, crushed or even eaten raw. Most recipes call for crushed garlic. If you are short of time you can use prepared minced garlic and/or one of the many garlic gadgets available.

  • Which method of preparing garlic gives the strongest taste?
    Raw crushed garlic. Delicious when used sparingly in salads, on a cooked pizza or in a sandwich. In general the smaller the cut and the less the cooking, the stronger the taste.

  • Which method of preparing garlic gives most health benefits?
    See the answer above! The most powerful medicinal compound obtained from garlic is allicin. This is released when garlic is crushed and is broken down when the garlic is cooked.

  • Are there dangers associated with garlic?
    Yes. As with anything strong, it can cause problems. It can also cause botulism if incorrectly stored. See the warnings page.

  • Can I freeze garlic?
    Yes, but I don't recommend it. See the frozen garlic page.

  • Why are vampires afraid of garlic?
    The most likely theory is the association between vampirism and mosquito bites - see the pages on vampires and on garlic as a mosquito repellent.

  • How do I avoid "garlic breath"?
    You can't, however chewing parsley can help. For more information see our garlic breath page.

  • What is "elephant garlic"?
    Despite it's appealing size, elephant garlic doesn't have a very strong flavour and is no substitute for ordinary garlic. See the elephant garlic page for more details.

  • Why is garlic called "the Stinking Rose"?
    Good question, no-one's really sure. See the Stinking Rose page for some ideas.

  • Can I grow my own garlic?
    Definitely! Many people around the world do just that. See the growing garlic page.