Degermed garlic

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.

Garlic germ

I was taking a class at ICE ( 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?



  1. Yea, I think it helps too. Yes it adds a few more seconds to your prep, but makes a difference. And I personally like the feeling of yanking out those germs 🙂

    • Isn’t it great how you can take out your aggression on a little clove of garlic? I love smashing them and throwing out those germs too. It’s cooking therapy.

  2. Thanks for the tip!!! I never knew about that. How are the classes at ICE, I’m thinking of signing up for one next year??? Not sure which yet. Have you taken many?

    • They are a lot of fun. The instructors are really knowledgeable and the classes are laid back. The pizza making class was catered to beginners, so there was plenty of wine and snacks and no pressure. It’s a fun night out. I definitely recommend it.

      Another cooking school I really like is the Natural Gourmet ( They are all about healthy cooking. I took a vegetarian tapas class there that was amazing. Very hands on. It felt like being in a restaurant kitchen!