Is It Okay To Use Sprouted Garlic?

Make no mistake: we're not talking about delicious green garlic — a true springtime treat — or the seasonal delight that is the garlic scape. We're talking about that head of garlic you haven't touched in a week or two that's suddenly gone sprouty on you. Can you eat it? Will you eat it? What will happen to you if you eat it, besides predictably pungent breath?

Sprouted garlic won't make you sick. It's perfectly safe. Unfortunately, those sprouts are incredibly bitter and will impart their off-flavor to whatever you're cooking. If the sprouts are very small — let's call it a quarter-inch or less — you can lop them off at the tip, slice the clove lengthwise and pull out the shoot in the middle. If they're longer than that, you'll probably want to discard the whole business and buy more garlic. It's not expensive, which can't necessarily be said about some of these cool garlic gadgets.