Garlic is one of the beloved seasonings and spices we use in our routine recipes. It seems like garlic is incorporated as a vital ingredient in a variety of savory foods. But have you ever tried or tasted raw garlic? If yes, then definitely garlic cloves sting your mouth and cause a spicy sensation to your taste buds. But why is garlic spicy?
Are garlic cloves spicy always? Or, if there’s any way to tone its pungent flavor down? Is it harmful to eat raw garlic cloves? All this and many more come right ahead. So, get your answers related to garlic flavor, let’s move on.
Why Is Garlic Spicy?
Garlic is so spicy to eat raw because of its strong pungent flavor. And its pungency is strongly associated with the activation of the alliinase enzyme. Alliinase reaction with alliin leads to the formation of allicin.
Allicin is a sulfur-containing compound and answerable for garlic spiciness. The more alliinase enzyme released from garlic, the stronger the flavor of garlic cloves. Thus, sliced garlic is not as much pungent as crushed or minced garlic.
Garlic cloves trigger the taste buds just like chilli flakes and mustard wasabi and thus cause a stingy or burning mouth-sensation.
The intense stingy garlic flavor limits the raw eating of garlic cloves, but it’s quite common as an aromatic and flavorful ingredient in a wide range of savory recipes.
How To Make Garlic Less Spicy?
There’s a number of ways by which you can tone down the strong flavor of garlic. To avoid overwhelmed garlic flavor in your dish, try to add creamy ingredients, sweeteners, or acidic ingredients to your food.
Besides this, cooking garlic cloves at low temperature also works well and tone down the overpowering flavor of garlic. Let’s discuss them in detail.
Add Creamy Ingredients
You can try creamy ingredients such as sour cream or heavy cream to lessen the garlic flavor. These dairy products will go well while cooking sauces or curries.
Non-dairy products include coconut milk or soy milk may also work for you. No matter whether you’re using dairy or non-dairy ingredient, it will round off the spiciness of garlic and make your food more palatable.
Add Acidic Ingredients
Turn your recipe flavor tone towards tartness rather than spiciness by incorporating some lemon or lime juice into your food dish.
The selection of right acidic ingredient for your favorite food is essential to make it perfect. But don’t make your dish too tart or sour to eat.
If you have mistakenly added too much garlic to your dish, and now the final recipe tastes much bitter, you can round off the whole flavor by using liquid sweeteners.
Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or vanilla bean paste go great in a wide variety of savory dishes. So, you can turn the unpleasant spicy flavor of garlic into something pleasantly sweet.
Use Whole Garlic Cloves
As you see earlier, minced or chopped garlic stimulates the alliinase enzyme that naturally occurs in garlic cloves. This enzyme produces sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin, which ultimately gives garlic its natural spiciness.
So, to avoid too much spicy flavor of garlic in a dish, use whole garlic cloves instead of chopped. This way, your dish becomes more palatable and better to taste.
Simmer The Dish Over Low Heat
Don’t sauté garlic over high flame as it will keep the flavor notch higher and pungent. Besides this, caramelize minced garlic over low heat. It will make garlic flavor more on the sweet side rather than spicy.
But don’t overcook it as it will ruin the whole flavor of your recipe. Additionally, you can add more dressing or mashed potatoes to the recipe to mask the strong garlic flavor.
Is Garlic Better Cooked Or Raw?
The exact answer to this question ends with what you like the most. It’s totally up to you whether you want to enjoy the spicy or pungent flavor of garlic or mellow and more on the sweet side.
Many people love to add raw garlic to their diet for its more potent and robust flavor. On the other hand, some people enjoy cooked garlic for its mellow sweet taste.
Additionally, pickled garlic has become pretty common among people nowadays. However, both cooked and raw garlic are best to eat and you can choose it according to your taste preferences.
Is Raw Garlic Assumed To Burn?
Garlic cloves are pungent and spicy to bite, but these will not burn your mouth at all. Rather than burn, biting raw garlic will definitely be a hot sensation for you.
Garlic cloves fire up your taste buds and sting your mouth strongly. Therefore, if you’re sensitive to raw garlic, stay away from biting raw garlic.
By the way, some people love to eat raw garlic and enjoy its natural spiciness. However, this flavor potency of garlic varies from variety to variety. So, if you still can’t wait for the next garlic hit, you may try it with some bread or mild cheese.
Is Raw Garlic Harmful To Eat?
Usually, there’s no side effect or harm in eating raw garlic except bad garlic breath. Additionally, raw garlic helps balance the blood cholesterol level and meets the essential nutrient requirement of the body.
Allicin is an antimicrobial compound and thus effective in limiting the growth of microorganisms within the body.
But, limit the use of raw garlic if you are suffering from heartburn or stomach disorders. In such critical situations, garlic can burn your stomach, cause gas production, stomach pain, and maybe excessive burping.
Allicin can cause severe stomach pain in people with the damaged stomach. So, limit the use of raw garlic if your first experience does not go well with it.
Read Also: Why Is Garlic Sticky?
How To Get Quick Relief From Garlic Spiciness?
If you try raw garlic to get its health benefits, but it tastes too spicy or bitter than expected, you can try some tricks to avoid the stingy sensation.
But if you think of drinking water immediately after eating raw garlic, you’re wrong. Water does not resolve the issue of bad taste here. And the reason is that the sulfated compounds are insoluble in water but soluble in fat or oil.
So, besides thinking of water, try some creamy or dairy products that are rich in fat. For instance, cream or milk can work great for you.
Moreover, you can try some bread or sweet baked items to mask the spicy flavor of garlic. Always remember, don’t use carbonated drinks after eating raw garlic, as these will fire your taste buds more and more.
So, Why Is Garlic Spicy?
Garlic spiciness is just because of the sulfur-containing compound that is allicin in the case of garlic. And, minced or chopped garlic is more potent and stronger to taste rather than sliced or whole garlic.
You can mellow down the garlic spiciness by cooking it or adding some herbs, sweeteners, acidic or creamy ingredients to the recipe. And, after biting raw garlic cloves, try some bread or baked items rather than water to get quick relief from garlic stingy sensation.