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Cooking Q&A: Green Sprouts in Garlic?

Every so often, the garlic I buy sprouts a green root, or there’s green in the middle when I cut it open. Am I storing it wrong? 

The green sprout is a sign that you’ve got an older head of garlic, but it doesn’t mean the garlic is bad or inedible. I think the sprout gives a bitter, almost hot flavor to any dish the garlic is added to (particularly if it’s left raw), so I usually just cut the clove in half and pluck out the sprout. When you’re in the store, take a closer look and try not to buy garlic that’s already showing signs of the sprout.

You can’t keep garlic from aging, but you can slow down the aging process by storing it in a cool, dark, dry place that gets some air circulating around it -- the same way you store onions and potatoes. I use the funky garlic-keeper my mom made for me, but a regular paper bag will do too.

Looking for something to do with garlic? I really like Giada’s Garlic and Citrus Chicken; plus, you can use my handy tips on carving a roast chicken!

Also, there's no greater bliss than eating cloves of roasted garlic on slices of baguette. Any time you’ve got the oven on 375 degrees or higher for an hour (like when you’re baking that chicken or roasting potatoes) try this: Cut the top 1/4 inch off of a whole, unpeeled head of garlic. Place the cut head on a large square of aluminum foil. Drizzle the head with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, then sprinkle on a teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt. Wrap the foil tightly around the garlic, then roast in the oven for about an hour or until the garlic is lightly browned and smooshy.

Once it’s cooled enough to handle, use a toothpick or tiny cocktail fork to coax the cloves out of their pods. Whenever I’m making a fancy cheese board, I throw a few heads of this roasted garlic on the platter, and it’s always the first thing to vanish.

-- Colleen Rush

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