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Don't Throw Out Old, Sprouting Garlic

Rachel Tepper Paley
February 27, 2014

Photo credit: StockFood

Stop! Don’t chuck that garlic you have kicking around the pantry, even if green sprouts are peeking through its papery skin. It might be good for you.

In a study published online by the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” researchers found that garlic sprouted for at least five days had higher antioxidant levels than fresh, young garlic. That’s exciting news, since—although there’s a lot of hype and not enough study on the subject—antioxidants might help protect you against everything from cancer to heart disease to acne.

The only downside to sprouted garlic is its bitter flavor, which some people find unpleasant. Fine Cooking isn’t a fan, and Food Republic advises that you toss the whole bulb if the sprouts coming out of it are too long. Pastry chef and food writer David Lebovitz even went so far as to test sprouted garlic against fresh garlic, concluding that the latter was much tastier.

But hey, if you don’t mind a little garlicky bitterness—and you’re looking to up the antioxidants in your diet—sprouted garlic might just be for you. Eat a raw clove, if you dare (one chef we know swears this lunchtime routine is the secret to his longevity), bake garlic bread, or whip up some garlic mashed potatoes. Permission for bad breath granted.