Is Garlic Spicy? See The Whole Truth!

Garlic is everywhere! It is one of the most common ingredients in savory dishes and is amazing at bringing meals to life and unlocking different flavors. However, garlic is known for being an extremely powerful herb, and many people are put off by its strong aroma and taste. In this article, we are going to explore what garlic tastes like and if it is spicy!

Is garlic spicy? Garlic is spicy! But not like chili or pepper. Garlic is spicy like onion but even more intense because it is high in allicin, an organosulfur compound. Garlic is particularly spicy when it is raw and crushed.

So you are not crazy if you think garlic is spicy! However, you can’t really compare it to chili as the type of spiciness is very different. Let’s dig a little deeper into the garlic and explore why this magical herb is spicy, how you can decrease its spiciness and some other interesting facts!

What Is Garlic?

Garlic is a herb that is closely related to onions, leeks, and chives. Garlic is one of the most popular seasonings in the world and has been used for thousands of years. China is by far the biggest producer of garlic and is responsible for over 70% of the world’s supply.

Garlic is famous for its pungent odor and intense taste, which is caused by its high allicin content. Garlic bulbs are white and are covered in a thin skin, which must be removed. Inside garlic bulbs are up to 20 gloves which are also covered in thin skin.

See also: Why Are Walnuts Bitter?

Is Garlic a Spice or Vegetable?

Garlic is a vegetable and, if you want to be extra technical, a herb. Garlic is not a spice because it is a fresh bulb, even though we use it more like a spice than a herb. 

Spices are made from the dried root, stalk, seed, or dried fruit of a plant. While herbs are made from fresh parts of a plant. As garlic comes from the fresh bulbs of the garlic plant, it is undoubtedly a vegetable and herb, not a spice.

The confusion with garlic being a spice is that garlic is often used similarly to spices. Garlic is used to add flavoring to and enhance the aroma of a dish. So you can be forgiven for making this mistake!

Why Do People Use Garlic?

Garlic is used to add flavor to food. It also has many health benefits, such as reducing oxidative stress and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Garlic is even used in traditional medicine to treat a range of conditions, including bronchitis, hypertension, and tuberculosis.

Garlic is one versatile herb! Even though it doesn’t do any favors for your breath, it can cure all kinds of ailments and boost your overall health.

Even if you aren’t a big believer in garlic as a healing agent, you can’t deny that it adds some incredible flavors and aromas to meals. Garlic can add a spicy, nutty, creamy, and unique flavor to your food that compels your mouth to take another bite! Garlic can transform the blandest dish into something downright scrumptious.

Is Garlic Spicy?

Garlic is spicy and can even burn your tongue and mouth. Its spicy flavor is different from chili and tastes more like a very hot onion. Raw crushed garlic is the spiciest type, while cooked garlic tends to be much milder.

Garlic’s spiciness depends on the form the garlic is in (chopped, crushed, cooked, raw), the level of allicin, and whether or not the garlic has been combined with anything. Crushed raw garlic with a very high allicin content can be extremely spicy and cause your mouth to feel like it is on fire!

If you run into this unfortunate situation, do not reach for a glass of water. Milk is a much better option and will more effectively neutralize the spiciness.

See also: Are Wild Bananas Edible? What Do Wild Bananas Taste Like?

Is Raw Garlic Spicy?

Raw garlic is the spiciest type of garlic. Cooked garlic is not nearly as strong as raw garlic because the heat during cooking disperses the allicin (the chemical compound responsible for garlic’s spicy flavor). 

If you are susceptible to garlic’s spicy flavor, avoid raw garlic! It can really knock your socks off and burn your tongue. Despite the intensity of raw garlic is often added to pickled vegetables and different oils and marinades to get some additional flavor.

Is Crushed Garlic Spicy?

Crushed raw garlic is the spiciest form of garlic. When garlic is crushed, the allicin is further activated, resulting in some serious heat!

After a big dose of crushed raw garlic, you will be begging for a giant glass of water to try and rid your mouth of a horrible burning sensation. People will also be able to smell you from a mile away because not only is raw garlic spicy but it has an incredibly powerful odor.

How To Make Garlic Less Spicy?

To make garlic less spicy, you should chop it and cook it with butter. The heat and the butter will radically reduce the spiciness and transform your garlic into a creamy and nutty herb with only a mild kick.

To cook butter with garlic simply:

  1. Peel and chop the garlic cloves
  2. Preheat it for 2-3 minutes over medium heat
  3. Add a knob of butter
  4. Add chopped garlic
  5. Cook for 30 seconds

The result will be a smooth mixture still loaded with lots of garlic flavor but without an overdose of spice!

What Is the Best Substitute For Garlic?

The best substitute for garlic is garlic powder or garlic flakes. If you want to avoid garlic altogether then grab some onions, chives, or leeks.

Even though garlic is closely related to onions, chives, and leeks, garlic has a unique flavor. These substitutes won’t mimic garlic’s taste but they are the best options we have. If you can’t access fresh garlic, instead of buying onions, chives or leeks, grab some garlic powder or flakes.

Does Garlic Burn Your Tongue?

Garlic can burn your tongue, especially if you eat too much raw garlic. Garlic actually works just like chili can cause your taste buds to become irritated. If this happens, grab a glass of milk and gargle!

Even though garlic has a different kind of spice compared to chili, it affects your taste buds in the same fashion. A big dose of raw crushed garlic can really irritate your taste buds and leave you with a burning mouth. To avoid this situation, be careful with how much raw garlic you consume!

How to Stop Garlic Breath?

One unfortunate side effect of eating garlic is the horrible things it can do to your breath! Garlic breath is truly one of the worst things in the world. But how can you avoid it?

To stop garlic breath, you should:

  • Gargle with milk
  • Brush your teeth
  • Grab some mint gum
  • Have a swig of mouthwash

Even the strongest garlic will be defeated by the above regime! Don’t avoid garlic just because it can alter your breath. Some mouthwash and a quick brush of your teeth will have your breath smelling fresh.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, garlic is spicy. Garlic’s spiciness is caused by the herb’s high allicin content and is different from chili spiciness. However, garlic, just like chili, can irritate your tastebuds and cause a burning sensation in your mouth. To reduce garlic’s spiciness, simply slice it and cook it for 30 seconds with butter!

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