If you've ever seen sprouted garlic in your home, you've probably thought twice about eating it. We don't blame you: Those green shoots coming from the bulb don't exactly seem appetizing. But just because something on food looks strange doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad (we're looking at you, brown spots on cauliflower and white marks on baby carrots). So what's the deal with garlic that has sprouted? Is it still safe to eat, or should it go straight in the trash?
According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, experts actually urge people not to throw away sprouted garlic. Here's why: Sprouted garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than fresher bulbs. Wait, how can that be? Well, as you may know, garlic in general is known for having many health benefits. According to the Cleveland Clinic, garlic can boost your immunity, work as an anti-inflammatory food, improve heart health, and give you better-looking hair and skin. And past studies have shown that sprouted beans and grains have higher antioxidant activity, so scientists were naturally curious if the same would also be true for sprouted garlic.
As the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports, garlic sprouted for five days not only had higher antioxidant activity than fresh garlic, but also was able to protect cells in a lab dish from certain types of damage. While this info might be very exciting to anyone who wants to boost antioxidants in their meals, it's worth keeping in mind that sprouted garlic may not be the tastiest garlic you've ever eaten.
According to Berkley Wellness, the shoots of sprouted garlic tend to be particularly bitter in taste. So if you're not a fan of bitter flavors, you have the option of cutting out the sprouts and simply just using the bulbs like you normally would with cooking. And if weather conditions are favorable for gardening, you can even try planting cloves sprout side up in the soil to grow your own garlic.