Food & Wine Photo Credit: CostaPPPR/Wikimedia Commons

Garlic: “One of the Most Dangerous Ingredients in Your Kitchen”

Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts Chef Julian Bond talks food safety tips.

Forget sharp knives and open flames—garlic is one of the most dangerous things in your kitchen.

In a private demonstration at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, chef and instructor Julian Bond took Western Living staff on a harrowing journey through food safety and the many unassuming dangers in the kitchen—the first stop? Garlic.

See sprouts? Run the other way!
See sprouts? Run the other way!

Watch Out for Sprouts

When a garlic clove sprouts even the smallest green shoot in its centre, it’s now unsafe for eating. “It’s a perfect garlic if you want to grow garlic,” says Bond. “But this sprout, if moisture gets in here in any shape or form, it’s actually a mild form of salmonella will grow in there and give you an upset belly.” The chef explained that often when diners get an upset stomach after a meal, it’s the garlic—not suspect meat—that’s to blame.

The Dangers of Diced

As Bond explains, chopping garlic is a pain in the butt. “It’s painful, it’s hard, you have to peel it and dice it”—nobody likes to do it, he says. As a result, people might be inclined to save the excess chopped garlic for later, but if it ferments in any way, it will grow botulism. “And botulism will kill you,” says the chef. “Not to be scared of garlic!” he adds.

No shoots, no problem.
No shoots, no problem.

Shopping for Garlic

Make sure when you buy your garlic, it’s tight and sealed. Bond said there shouldn’t be any signs of growth, with the ends twisted up tightly.

Best Place to Store Garlic

Garlic sprouts because of sunlight—it wants to grow. In light of this, Bond has found the perfect storage method: bamboo steamers. “You have airflow … you can cover them so sunlight doesn’t get to them,” he says. And thanks to the vents dry shells simply shake off the garlic and exit through the bottom. The chef recommends bamboo steamers for storing garlic, shallots and even potatoes—with one caveat. “Never put onions and potatoes together, because the onions will germinate the potatoes and start the potatoes to grow,” says Bond. “So always keep them as far away from each other as possible.”

Put those bamboo steamers to good use!
A new way to put those bamboo steamers to good use!

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