Garlic is a ‘flavor enhancer’. Translation: It makes food tasty AF and that’s why we are GARLIC GIRLZ. For some dishes it’s subtle, for others (like pesto) it’s the focal point. Most recipes recommend a modest amount but you can always add more. The question is, how much is too much when you are a garlic girlie?
Some of your friends will say that there’s no such thing as too much garlic. Raw, diced, sauteed, or roasted, they can’t get enough of it!
Wondering where that point is? It may differ depending on your taste buds, but there are some quick points to consider so you don’t use too much in your next dish.
Negatives of Garlic
Garlic is a favorite for many because of its rich flavor and pungent aroma. Stews, sauces, and pasta dishes are enhanced by its qualities and even dips and appetizers find a kick from this spice. Of course, with all the benefits come a few negative side effects, which should be considered when considering how much to use.
The flavor, aroma, and even health benefits of garlic come primarily from the sulfur compounds. Those same compounds may cause your breath to smell nasty AF, especially when eaten in large amounts. It’s worse with raw garlic mostly because cooking reduces the content of the sulfur compounds. Some recommend eating chocolate as a dessert after a meal with garlic because it coats the stomach and aids in moving the sulfur through your system. Fact or fiction? Who TF cares? It’s chocolate!
Garlic, onions, asparagus, and leeks are high in fructans (a type of carb) that may cause bloating, gas, and even stomach discomfort. If you’re fructan-intolerant, any amount of garlic may be too much. How will you know? You’ll know! And so will anyone who lives with you!
If you experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn is a common complaint after eating garlic-rich meals. The reason is that garlic may actually trigger acid reflux. The only way to find out is a trial!
Minimizing Side Effects
Think about your favorite pesto recipe. Most call for five raw cloves, but we all know that person who substitutes bulbs (yep — the whole f-ing white thing) for cloves. The result smells heavenly but might be a big mistake. Because the truth is, while garlic is a good thing, too much of a good thing is still too much!
Reduce the Amount
If you, or someone you’re cooking for, experiences any of the negatives from garlic, you can try minimizing the amount used in a recipe. While most recipes only call for modest amounts, try cutting that amount in half and then increasing if everyone is happy AFTER the meal!
Cook or Roast the Garlic
Raw garlic is far more pungent than cooked or roasted garlic. Both cooking and roasting help to reduce the sulfur in the garlic, which significantly reduces the negative effects. It also alters the flavor. Cooked garlic is a bit spicy while roasted garlic takes on a nutty flavor. Consider which will enhance the dish you are preparing before you choose your cooking method.
The Final 411
Knowing how much garlic is too much is really the result of trial and error. And while some of your friends can pound garlic like tequila shots, others will be doubled over in the corner after their first bite. When you don’t know err on the side of caution. If all goes well, double down.
Have any thoughts on how much is too much? Share them in the comments section below!