To degerm or not to degerm? Interesting and possibly controversial question. And what exactly is the germ anyway? It’s the sprouty thing in the middle of a clove of garlic. The older garlic gets, the bigger the germ. It’s sometimes even greenish and sticking out of the bottom. Gross. Why remove it? It can add bitterness to your dishes. But that’s not the only reason.
I was taking a class at ICE (www.iceculinary.com) when I first heard about all this germaphobia. The class wasn’t even about garlic either. It was about pizza dough. But the chef gave us a few tips on chopping onions and garlic before we got started. She claimed that classically trained chefs are taught to remove the germ from the garlic. Why? Because that’s the little sucker that causes heartburn and makes garlic repeat on you. Interesting. That’s all it took for me to try it out.
Foodies everywhere may cringe at the thought of throwing away a perfectly good portion of the garlic clove, and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE garlic and put it in almost everything. But I think this little trick actually works. If you can’t always buy young garlic (which shouldn’t have any germ issues to begin with) then I think degerming is the way to go. Simply cut the clove in half and remove it carefully with the tip of your knife. I’ve noticed a difference. So why not give it a try and see if it works for you?