The Simple Way To Tame The Strong Taste Of Raw Garlic

Garlic is one of nature's most splendid gifts — especially to the foodie! For over 5,000 years (per Medical News Today), it has added a special flavor and nutrition to foods as traditional as pasta dishes and as unusual as ice creamBritannica describes garlic as the bulb of a perennial plant in the allium family, along with onions, shallots, and chives. MasterClass explains that garlic's flavor is partly attributed to sulfur compounds, which have the added benefit of repelling potentially predatory insects (per Farmer's Almanac). Over time, humans have learned to love the spicy, oniony notes that garlic lends to our cooking — potentially hindering spoilage, according to Gastropod (via Rob Dunn), and inspiring cooks.

But sometimes, garlic can be overbearing, and once it's been added to a dish, there's no undo button. Different people have different tastes, and some might not enjoy garlic at the level that you and your fellow diners do. Plus, given the labor it takes to prepare garlic for cooking, it would be a shame if it turned against you. Luckily, for garlic lovers and newcomers alike, there's an easy way to temper garlic's fire and make it more user-friendly — no gadgets or pro skills needed.

Wash it or cook the cloves

To mellow out the intense, oft-fiery flavor of garlic, you can either rinse it off or cook it, according to J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats. The powerful compounds remain in the water — just be sure to dry it off before you use it, López-Alt adds. The more time it spends in the water, the more mellow the garlic will get. If you decide to calm garlic down by cooking it, its flavor does transform — just don't overdo it, because burnt garlic can be acrid and bitter. Be sure to store your garlic properly to keep it fresh, too.

America's Test Kitchen also explains that the signature "hot" flavor of garlic is attributed to allicin, which becomes more concentrated the more the garlic is processed. You're damaging the cell walls of the garlic and it defends itself by chemical warfare. Therefore, they recommend keeping your garlic cloves as intact as possible for a mellow taste and chopping them finely for maximum flavor. However, you can also blanch your garlic in water or milk for a few minutes or even microwave it.

Easy garlic recipes

There are many reasons to incorporate garlic into your regular diet. Not only is it delicious, but it's also extremely nutritious. Healthline touts possible benefits ranging from disease prevention, cholesterol improvement, performance enhancement, and even longevity promotion. The United States Department of Agriculture (via Acta Horticulturae) adds that garlic has antifungal, prebiotic, and other properties. Martha Stewart comes to the rescue when you need to get garlic's stubborn smell off your hands – and there are even ways to combat garlic breath.

But you don't have to work hard to utilize garlic in the kitchen. Ree Drummond's roasted garlic recipe renders the bulbs into a sweet, soft "spread" you can add to bread, rub on meats, or mix into vegetables — or eat them alone; no judgment here. Ina Garten's garlic bread demonstrates how garlic's flavor is sharpened when you chop it up, and on Babish Culinary Universe, Andrew Rea whips up swoon-worthy pasta aglio y olio inspired by "Chef," where garlic is very much the center of the cooking cosmos. If you're a true connoisseur, try chicken with 40 cloves of garlic from Food Network's Test Kitchen. These are all great ways to try out all the ways you can soothe its assertive flavor!