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Raw Garlic - How Do People Do It?

I like to enjoy Caesar Salad and other raw-garlic foods, but HOW do people STAND the garlic-taking-over-your-mouth-for-a-day syndrome? It is so overpowering that it is distracting to me for a really long time. Does this happen to anyone else? I've suspected for a long time that I'm a super-taster - is this a "symptom" of that?

Garlic is a great food and I use it frequently, but when it isn't cooked......WOW!!!!!!!

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  1. You may be super sensitive to raw garlic. (though keep in mind that the finer you grate it the more potent it gets).
    You may just sautee' the amount you need as it mellows the heat and flavor.

    Roasting is a snap also whenever you happen to have the oven on for something else.
    And it keeps well too.

    Easy to grow too. Just take some from the grocery store...break it up..stick in some dirt....water...and away tbey go!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dandbuilder

      Yeah, cooked is fine. I've even been known to boil whole cloves to make garlic butter.

      I just don't understand the appeal of raw!

      Raw onions are pretty much the same for me...

    2. Parsley. Chew some parsley. Preferably flat leaf, not curly.
      And spoon full of sugar also helps.

      3 Replies
        1. re: Gastronomos

          Last night the garlic was in a sort of pesto, with mint, cilantro, and basil. Still was horrid in my mouth hours later.

          1. re: sandylc

            it was the oil and garlic mix. the oil dissolvable part of garlic... a fresh sprig or two of parsley... or a sugar cube... or those puffy mints that are pure sugar with the red stripe.... same thing...

        2. Chinese garlic sucks. It is very strong in not a good way. California garlic even is iffy. Once you've grown your own its very hard to go back to commercial. Try a farmers market. There are lots of different kinds of garlic that are all quite different. It shouldn't last all day.

          1. Try elephant garlic, I seem to remember that it is less harsh than regular garlic.

            10 Replies
              1. re: John E.

                Elephant garlic isn't actually garlic, it's a type of leek, with a slightly garlic flavor.

                1. re: JMF

                  Aha! That explains why I don't care for elephant garlic. To me, it tastes a bit soapy, and so do leeks. I know cilantro-haters describe it as soapy, which I don't perceive, though I too hate it. To me it's just nonspecifically anise-like and anything with that flavor profile is a no-no. Maybe there's a genetic distinction in leek perception, as there is with cilantro.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    These sort of concepts, when applied to all food, really make me curious about what others are tasting all of the time when they eat everything. Then it makes me think about how people often use the same words as one another to describe what they are tasting. Then it makes me wonder if the same description words mean different things to different people. Then my brain hurts.

                    1. re: sandylc

                      My brain hurts just reading that...

                      1. re: sandylc

                        I often think the same about colors. I get the brain hurting part!

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          Yes, I have pondered tastes, colors, smell, touch... is what others are experiencing the same as what we do? Or do we just use terms to describe them so we can relate?

                          1. re: JMF

                            I have a friend who DVRs Jeopardy every day. She told me that a recent contestant's backstory is that he is completely color blind and sees everything in black, white, and various shades of gray. A person with that condition has no concept of color at all. Of course it's better than being blind, but I can see how it could make life challenging.

                          2. re: ttoommyy

                            I have a friend whose parents on purpose taught him the wrong names of colors....then there are those of us who could easily name the crayolas in the 72 box...

                            1. re: betsydiver

                              Were his parents experimental psychologists? Why???

                  2. My tzatziki sauce always sucks because the raw garlic is so strong. My death-by-garlic Caesar salad is powerful. Cooked garlic I enjoy in vast quantities.

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: Veggo

                      if faced with having no garlic in tzatziki, I make talatouri, a no garlic tzatziki with fresh mint instead...

                      1. re: Veggo

                        I've boiled the garlic cloves for tzatziki sauce with very good success.

                        Boiling it mellows it out without adding the additional flavors that roasting does.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          works well for onions in greek salad too if people find them to strong. boiling water for a min or two, then back to cold salted water, rinse. they stay nice and crispy not nearly as acidic.

                          for tzatziki just use less garlic and make a day ahead. Garlic takes awhile to work threw. again out with chinese garlic ruins everything.

                            1. re: daislander

                              Salting the garlic or onions, or doing a quick pickle with vinegar and salt mellows out the bite, too.

                              1. re: linguafood

                                Yes, exactly right. I always soak raw onions in vinegar now, for use in everything. Helps immensely.

                              2. re: daislander

                                I use that trick too. I put the onions in a colander and pour boiling water over them, then cold water to stop the cooking.

                                1. re: daislander

                                  Tessa Kiros has a Cypriot salad in one of her cookbooks that uses raw red onion. She says to salt the sliced onion and set it in a bowl of cold water for half an hour or so, and darned if it doesn't work. Onion flavor but no bite, and no waking up the next morning with it either.

                                  I think Mediterranean folks have an aversion to raw onion and garlic. When my sister lived in southern Italy and Mom and I went for a visit, some neighbors invited us to lunch one day. My mom reciprocated by making a "typical American" warm-weather meal of fried chicken and potato salad. They adored the chicken, but refused the salad after a bite (politely) because they couldn't abide the raw onion in it. Too bad Mom didn't know the salt-and-cold-water trick.

                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    Thanks for the tip! I love raw onion but could do without the serious bite..... and sometimes, you just don't want pickled onion. You want raw.

                                    I'll give that salt & cold water thang a try soon.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      my moom usually grated an onion or part thereof to put in potato salad. this would sort of pulverize it into juice and about a Tbs. of actual onion "meat" this gave the salad just enough flavor without the bite.

                                    2. re: Will Owen

                                      <<"I think Mediterranean folks have an aversion to raw onion and garlic.">>

                                      never heard of such a thing. no one I know from the Mediterranean suffers from such and raw onions and garlic are used widely throughout the Mediterranean. Maybe it was just a select few that you and your mum encountered?

                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                        I know that I've never had any raw onion served to me there, either in Puglia, where mom and I were visiting, or in the seaside (La Spezia) or Tuscany, and believe me I got every insalata mista I could lay hands on. Lots of fennel, but no oniony things of any kind. The method of killing the bite I described was presented, it seemed to me, as the common way of making raw onions edible amongst the Cypriots … and I know the ancient Greek comedies would parody barbarians (i.e. any non-Greek) as ignorant louts who ate raw onions and garlic.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          OK. I see.
                                          Your experience for onions not served raw was from "Puglia, La Spezia or Tuscany", not what I would call a cross section of a broad term "Mediterranean" , but your experience is just that, your experience.

                                          This isn't ancient times. Hasn't been for quite some time ... Ancient Greeks would also parody barbarians as "milk drinkers". Ancient Athenians would mock some northerners for serving fish with cheese. etc. long bygone days of yore.

                                          As for Cypriots, assuming we are talking Greek, they love raw onions. A bowl of soup with raw onion wedges to munch on at every table. Much more than other Greek islands or the mainland of Greece for that matter.

                                          And I see you like to do a lot of reading.
                                          Too bad much of what is written is written by no account foreigners looking at only what they immediately see, and perhaps read by other no account foreigners. But that's my experience, as a "Mediterranean". YMMV

                                            1. re: Gastronomos

                                              The only thing I know about raw onions and Italians is the Scott Conant, who has a few Italian restaurants. He used to be a frequent judge on Chopped and complained whenever there was raw onion in the food.

                                    3. re: sandylc

                                      what additional flavors are you talking about?

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        Roasted garlic has a browned/caramelized flavor. Nice, but not always desired in a dish.

                                    4. re: Veggo

                                      Would love to know what is in the 'death by Caesar salad'..
                                      l am a raw garlic chica but I can take it too far and the garlic hangovers are wicked..but I'm never sick.
                                      Fresh mint is your friend.

                                      ¡Viva 9¹6!

                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        I cheat a little bit with my death by garlic salad. I start with Paul Newman's Caesar dressing and I turbocharge it with plenty of pressed garlic, mashed anchovies or anchovy paste, lemon juice, and grated parmesan. I tend to only make it for friends who are garlic freaks.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          Damn, that sounds really good. I just added the dressing to my grocery list.

                                    5. I love raw garlic. I used to press some garlic cloves and spread it on buttered toast before school. It kept vampires away....and apparently.....potential dates :/

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sedimental

                                        "HOW do people STAND the garlic-taking-over-your-mouth-for-a-day syndrome?"

                                        I just stand it, I don't mind it.

                                      2. Sandy, I'm with you 100%. I love the garlic while I'm eating it, but can't stand it later. I come from a Greek family and dinner often included entire heads of raw or barely cooked garlic. I would wake up the next day still tasting it. No amount of tooth-brushing and gargling mouthwash would take it away.

                                        I no longer will partake in raw garlic. Just not worth it to me. I think some people must be more sensitive to it than others.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                          I used to be able to eat raw garlic with ssam, but now it's ano-go. So tempting, with the ssamjang, chilies and the salt/pepper sauce I can't remember the name of but is always excellent.

                                          Though, I think it was a pasta dish that first ruined the fun.

                                          1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                            I enjoy ssam... what some Chowhound might not realize is that ssam is served with whole cloves of garlic (!) that are wrapped in lettuce along with other ingredients - so this is kind of the ultimate 'raw' garlic' experience.

                                        2. I don't use very much. 1/3 of a clove crushed into paste using salt . I use my knife or mortar and pestle. Then add to my salad dressing. It's easy to use to much of it when cooking or using raw. A little goes a long way.

                                          1. there is an italian neighborhood restaurant near my house that puts oil with chopped raw garlic on every table for dipping the bread and pouring over all their food.

                                            although i find the approach yucky, they have about 3 successful outposts of the place, all using the same approach, within a 5 mile area.

                                            other than the raw-garllc-in-oil gimmick, their food is completely unexceptional, so this must be what everyone else goes there to get.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              Alejo's? Loved the raw-garlic-in-oil gimmick, but BOY did I pay for it later. Once was enough.

                                            2. The only time I experience *serious* garlic mouth is after a night at the local hot pot place. You see, they have this lovely buffet of sauce ingredients for your cooked product, and one of the jars is full of raw, chopped garlic.

                                              As it is an integral part to how I like my sauce, I just suck it up.

                                              But yeah, I'll taste that for the rest of the night. 's ok.

                                              1. I spend a lot of extra calories trying to get the taste of raw garlic and raw onion out of my mouth. I try to avoid it when I can.

                                                1. The brother-in-law used to take a whole bulb of garlic to munch on with his lunch.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                    Sounds like a healthy guy. Friendless, but healthy!

                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      Yep, a perfect description. Never been troubled by vampires, either.

                                                    2. re: Harters

                                                      Harters > now that's a brave soul

                                                    3. I also cannot eat raw garlic because of the taste it leaves in my mouth for the next day or so. For pestos, I have been heating the cloves in their skins in a frying pan until the outside becomes somewhat charred. I find that by this time, the garlic itself has mellowed and I have no problem with it at all.

                                                      1. Raw garlic is potent. I remember spending some time at the Gilroy Garlic Festival when the kids were little, and eating everything from pasta to garlic ice cream. When we got back in the car the next morning, the upholstery still reeked from our breath the previous day.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                          I'm sooo looking forward to the Gilroy Garlic Festival again!

                                                        2. Hi! If you use an untreated wooden bowl for your salad, try this: Instead of chopping & eating the raw garlic, rub a clove around on the wood of the salad bowl. Subtler, but also longer lasting as your wood will become infused.

                                                          1. "Supertaster" is a very unfortunate term for a distinction that has no value distinction. As soon as it hit the media, everyone needing to bolster their egos claimed to be one.
                                                            Nobody wants to be a "non-taster", the other end of the spectrum. See this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/603685 or google "supertaster sweet-n-low saccharine" for other links on how to do a quick at-home check to see where you fall on the taste bud spectrum.

                                                            I don't like uncooked garlic, and I much prefer cooking my garlic in granulated, powder, or jarred crushed form. In roasts studded with garlic, even the cooked cloves taste a bit sharp to me..

                                                            1. I don't think the problem is raw garlic. It's too much raw garlic. A little goes a very long way.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                For me, the problem is definitely the raw garlic, and not the amount. The standard one cloveof garlic in a substantial batch of pesto and I taste it for at least 24 hours.

                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                  I do too, though pikawicca's comment made me think about garlic bread... If I mince up some garlic and spread on bread with oil or butter and toast in the oven, I will taste it well into the next day. But if you just rub a clove on some crusty bread, it doesn't bother me as much. Similar to a comment above about rubbing your salad bowl with a clove before adding in your greens.

                                                                  That provides plenty of garlic flavor without all the issues later.

                                                                  Sometimes I'll add whole garlic cloves to dishes that need to braise or roast, then fish them out prior to serving. I didn't even think of this when I first read the thread, but it does infuse your dish with lots of garlic flavor (at least IMO) without killing your mouth.

                                                                  Not sure how this method would translate for things like pesto though.

                                                                  On another note, I had a friend years ago who got Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion in the 80s. He'd been perfectly healthy all these years, but started getting sick around 2004. His doctors wanted him to start interferon treatments. He made a decision overnight to stop eating processed foods, and embarked on this insanely regimented all natural diet/lifestyle. All he ate for 6 months was fish, raw greens, fruit, and nuts. All throughout the day, he would chew on raw garlic cloves, curley parsley, and oregano. He smelled 24/7 like a Greek chicken roast. There were other assorted tinctures and sublingual potions involved, but long story short, after 6 months he went into "remission" and had built antibodies to the Hepatitis.

                                                                  I'm not advocating this by any means, but it was really amazing. I went with him to his appointment where they told him he was in the clear and it was amazing. But boy, did he stink.

                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                    "But if you just rub a clove on some crusty bread, it doesn't bother me as much."

                                                                    I have had to stop doing this because of how insanely long the raw garlic taste stayed with me. i guess it just affects people differently.

                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                      Check your garlic clove. Fresh garlic will not have a green sprout in it (these things are bitter). If your garlic has this green thing, remove it before grating/chopping, etc.

                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                        Yes, I know all that. Still, it bothers me.

                                                                1. re: mariars

                                                                  Ha. I did try tea tree oil mouthwash the other night. Didn't put a dent in it.

                                                                2. I love it raw.

                                                                  Eat peeled cloves like jelly beans.

                                                                  That slow burning tingling sensation that seeps a bit into your nasal cavities if you inhale deeply is just lovely.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    You know how to make a person shudder. ;-/

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        I take it you don't get kissed often, huh Ipse? :)

                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                          Buffy will pucker up anytime I ask.

                                                                          And sometimes I don't even have to.

                                                                          Ask, that is.

                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          Ipse, for a good nasal tingle try snorting powdered wasabi!

                                                                          1. re: Veggo


                                                                            I mix wasabi powder in my nasal spray.

                                                                            Easier delivery method.

                                                                            And it doesn't alarm my DEA friends.