Getting the Most Flavor From Various Forms of Garlic

Culinary scientist Ethan Chlebowski, who previously demonstrated the best way to slice an onion, explains the three fundamental flavor attributes of garlic, specifically aroma, taste, and physical attributes, and how best to use them.

The irony is that raw garlic is the most aromatic but it tastes awful, while cooked garlic loses much of its original aroma, its taste becomes more pleasant and the aroma becomes more appetizing. This is due to the presence of Allicin, which only develops after the cells are ruptured. And it starts degrading after ten minutes.

Allicin is an organic sulfur compound or a distinct sulfur-containing structure that is responsible for the signature aroma of garlic. But interestingly enough, allicin isn’t actually present in whole garlic but it’s formed through an enzymatic reaction when the cloves are cut crushed or minced.

Cutting Garlic

He then tested out three forms of raw garlic; fresh, jarred, and granulated. He put them into separate containers of Panzanella salad, blindfolded himself, and mixed them up. He strongly preferred the fresh and was very disappointed by the jarred garlic.

When he tested garlic substitutes after cooking, he found that dried garlic works best for home cooks.

I actually think the minced dried garlic might be the best option for home cooks. Let me explain. dried garlic products can be made by freeze drying or dehydrating garlic at low enough temperatures below 140 degrees so the allicin producing enzyme won’t be deactivated. ….true garlic powder is ground to a fine flower-like consistency and it spreads easily throughout the dishes however because of this it loses its aroma quickly due to more surface area being exposed to oxygen.

Processed Garlic

While other products work to an extent, Chlebowski highly recommends using fresh whenever possible.

So maybe unsurprisingly I think fresh garlic is not really replaceable …however I still learned a lot … I mentioned earlier two fresh garlic does have an aromatic quality that is unmistakable three granulated garlic does taste very garlicky but you have to be careful not to use too much and fourth granulated garlic could be used in combination with fresh garlic or garlic paste. 

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.