We all know that garlic is good for you. But did you know that if you prepare garlic improperly, you may be destroying many of its health benefits?
Luckily, the fix is easy. And interesting. Because…..science.
Alliin + Allinase —> Allicin.
Fresh garlic contains a compound called alliin and an enzyme called allinase. These two work together to produce a magical ingredient called allicin. If you aren’t a complete toolbag you probably want some allicin in your life.
Allicin has antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties. Allicin even has antiprotozoal properties! I hear that vampires fear allicin. In nature, allicin protects the plant from a host of pests.
But Here’s the Problem
Unlike your terrifying stalker, allicin isn’t always just there. To produce allicin, you must smash together the two precursor ingredients (alliin and allinase). You can do this by chopping or crushing the garlic. Crushing is better.
From an evolutionary standpoint this makes sense. It’s physical distress which causes the anti-pest ingredient to kick into gear.
So when fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, allicin will form.
Heat Destroys Allinase
Allinase, the enzyme needed to produce allicin, is destroyed by heat. So if you crush garlic and throw it immediately into a hot pan or oven, you won’t get allicin.
Before you know it, you will be sad, old, and lonely – simply because you didn’t do garlic the right way. No one will be your friend, and no one will invite you to Mahjong.
If you eat raw garlic, you’re fine. The mechanical action of your mechanical teeth is enough to crush the garlic. And because you are not exposing the allinase to high heat before the allicin has a chance to form, you are not ruining your whole life by preparing garlic the wrong way.
But if you cook your garlic, Behold!
Simply crush or chop your garlic, then let it sit for ten minutes at room temperature before exposing it to heat.
During this time, the allicin will have time to form. Once the ten minutes are up, you can prepare your garlic however you want without destroying the health benefits. Just don’t complain to me about your bad breath because I will pretend I do not know you.
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7 thoughts on “Garlic: You’re Doing it Wrong”
I didn’t know that I should wait 10 minutes before putting it into my food! Thanks for that x
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I read it in a great book called “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson. It has a ton of tips like this – it’s just fantastic. I bought the audiobook and listened while I worked out 🙂
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been working my way backwards on your blog. And I’ve been lol’ing a lot, but for some reason the “mechanical action of your mechanical teeth” just KILLED me. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.
I also didn’t know that about waiting 10 minutes either, and I went to culinary school! Yay knowledge!
You have no idea how much this comment made my day!!! I even read it out loud to my roommate. I was very self-impressed by that joke 😛
I actually got the tip in this really interesting book called “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson. If you like these kinds of facts, definitely check it out. She goes into crazy detail on basically every fruit and veggie group – I bought the audiobook and listened to it while walking.
I just downloaded the audio book. I’m an amateur forager, so I think this is going to be right up my alley. Thanks for the tip!
Oh you’re going to love it!!! Let me know what you think.
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