Have you ever wondered why one recipe calls for minced garlic over crushed or a paste over whole cloves? It’s all the same ingredient, after all, and taking the time to finely chop those cloves can be a tedious (and smelly) job. It turns out, though, that prepping your garlic as instructed really affects the flavor of the dish.
According to Food Science
Garlic contains a specific enzyme, alliinase, that’s activated when a clove’s inner flesh is exposed to air. This sulfuric compound is responsible for that signature garlic smell and much of its taste. The more you slice (or dice or mince) garlic, the more of this enzyme gets released, creating a stronger, more pungent flavor.
This means dishes that rely on that bold garlic flavors, such as these honey-garlic glazed meatballs, often call for minced garlic. By comparison, whole cloves are great for imparting subtle and even sweet flavors, such as those found in our favorite roasted winter vegetables.
Customize to Your Liking
This bit of science can help you tailor your dishes to family taste preferences. If you’re looking for a more mellow flavor, consider replacing garlic paste or minced garlic with a few slightly crushed cloves. On the other hand, if you’re a real garlic lover, mince your garlic as finely as possible for maximum impact.