Is garlic with green inside okay?

Garlic is a spice used in everyday cooking in kitchens across the world. In general, a garlic clove opens to a nice, creamy centre. However, sometimes you may notice something tiny and green inside, and you may be wondering whether or not to add this green part of the garlic clove to your cooking. Well, this article walks you through what it is, where it came from, and, of course, more significantly, whether you can consume it.

green sprout

Table of Contents

Is garlic with green inside okay?

Yes, garlic with some green inside is safe to consume. Typically, the green inside a garlic clove indicates that it is starting to sprout. This phenomenon happens when the garlic is quite old. And, it’s not always that the green you see is because the garlic is old. The green could also be due to the excess chlorophyll produced by the plant, especially if the plant is exposed to too much sunlight.

Why does garlic turn green?

Garlic could be turning green for several reasons, including:

  • Too much exposure to light has caused it to start producing chlorophyll, the green pigment.
  • Could be getting old, and hence is investing its energy into sprouting, which is generating new growth.
  • Garlic has been heavily fertilized.

Let’s get into the details to learn more. Garlic cloves are typically modified leaves, where the plant stores part of its energy beneath the ground. These modified leaves tend to swell up in order to hold extra nutrients; besides, they are white, because there isn’t any chlorophyll in them. As they are below the ground, the plant has no reason to produce chlorophyll there.

When the garlic is taken out of the soil and exposed to the sun, it responds to the extra light and starts generating chlorophyll, thereby imparting a green colour to the inside of the garlic clove. The same could happen if a garlic plant is heavily fertilized and receives too many nutrients.

The garlic bulb may also turn green in the centre, as it is trying to generate new leaves. This green part will usually seem like a separate sprout developing within the clove; perhaps, you could simply pull this part out. However, sometimes, it might be attached more firmly. This generally happens if your garlic is getting old and should be used up.

green sprout garlic

Is it safe to consume sprouted garlic?

Sprouted garlic is quite safe to consume, while mouldy garlic is not. You can see bright yellow or bright green shoots in the centre of the cloves in a sprouted garlic clove. Sometimes, they will poke out of the outer part of the cloves.

Consuming this kind of garlic is considered safe. Green garlic will not do any harm, but you’ll see that its flavour is quite bitter. A few people don’t really like the taste of green garlic and, hence, choose to cut it out before cooking or consuming it. Well, this is because of the chlorophyll. The more chlorophyll in the garlic, the more bitter it will taste. You may not find any noticeable difference with a hint of green, but if the garlic has turned too green, note that its flavour may have changed.

However, if you notice any bluish-green discolouration that is dusty-looking or fuzzy, on any outer part of the clove instead of the centre, it indicates mould, and you should discard this garlic right away.

healthy gut

Does sprouted garlic taste different?

Sprouted garlic is not as fresh or young as the unsprouted ones, so the flavour is certainly impacted. As it is a little older, sprouted garlic is likely to have lost its brighter notes, and the “bite’s” intensity can increase. Moreover, the sprouts themselves taste bitter. So, you’d better remove the sprout when you notice it before you continue with the recipe.

If you’re intending to use just one or two garlic cloves in a large batch of stew or soup, you don’t have to really remove the sprouts, because the bitterness of these small sprouts is likely to get lost in the combined flavours of the entire dish. On the other hand, if you’re making a dish in which garlic is one of the main ingredients, say, for example, 25 cloves of garlic, or a recipe where you intend to use raw garlic, it is recommended that you remove the bitter sprouts-the green inside the garlic.

sprouted cloves

How can you prevent sprouting?

Sprouting is a sign that garlic is actually losing not only its flavour but its nutritional value as well.

  • To prevent sprouting or the green growth in garlic, you should store it in a cool, dry place that has a good amount of air circulation.
  • It is a great idea to store garlic in a dark, cool pantry or in the refrigerator, either in a container with sufficient holes for air circulation or in a mesh bag.
  • Remember that you shouldn’t store garlic near fruits and vegetables that emit ethylene gas, for example, tomatoes, potatoes, or apples. The gas can lead to the early sprouting of garlic. Moreover, don’t store your garlic in damp or warm places, such as a stove or oven.
  • Another trick is to not store the garlic for too long and instead use it as soon as possible. If you’ve got a large quantity of garlic, try separating the cloves and storing them in small amounts. This way, you can use the garlic before it sprouts.
garlic can have a bitter flavor

How to choose garlic?

Choosing the best garlic is the first thing you should do if you want it to last longer. When you shop for garlic, buy heads that are firm, with smooth, tight papery skin on the outside. Make sure the heads feel a bit heavy for their size. Moreover, the outer part of the cloves should not feel hollow or soft. Also, don’t pick garlic that is discoloured or mouldy in appearance.

How long does garlic generally last?

When you store garlic properly, it can last for a long time. The whole garlic bulb, when stored in a dark, cool, and dry place with sufficient ventilation, can last up to even six months! Storing garlic in airtight containers is not recommended. Consider storing the garlic bulbs in a ventilated storage container, an open basket, or a plain brown paper bag for them to last longer.

green sprout and rotting garlic


Is garlic with green inside okay? I’m sure you’ve learned that garlic with green inside is safe to consume; however, if you notice a bluish-green hint or a mouldy appearance, you should discard the clove. Let me do a quick recap of the important points for you:

  • Garlic turns green because it has started sprouting.
  • The green inside garlic is largely due to the presence of chlorophyll due to a lot of light exposure, being heavily fertilized, or the garlic getting old.
  • If you’re using just one or two garlic cloves in your recipe, you can ignore the green part; but, if there are a lot of them, you’d better remove the sprouts so that the flavor of the dish remains intact.
  • Store garlic in cool, dark, and dry places with adequate ventilation to prevent sprouting.
  • Make sure it isn’t exposed to warm temperatures and moisture.
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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