What Is A Clove of Garlic?

If you don’t know what a clove of garlic is, the chances are you’re just starting out in cooking, or your quite new to the garlic flavor.

Whichever the reason, learning about cloves of garlic is essential to being a versatile cook. Cloves of garlic are used in many recipes because it adds such a unique flavour.

From pizzas, to burgers to even salads, the possibilities are endless. So what exactly is a clove of garlic? And what else do you need to know about garlic?

What Is A Clove Of Garlic?

Garlic cloves

A Clove of garlic is one segment of a head of garlic. The head of the garlic, also known as the “bulb” contains multiple cloves of garlic.

The clove of garlic starts off thin at the centre of the head, and as it gets further and further away from the centre, it also becomes wider.

The outside of a garlic clove is covered in skin, this is usually in multiple layers and must be removed for cooking, unless a recipe specifically calls for the skin to be used.

As garlic cloves age, they begin to sprouts in the centre, like potatoes. The sprouts of the garlic clove provide a bitter taste, so most cooks remove them.

What Is Granulated Garlic?

Dried granulated garlic

Granulated garlic is dried garlic. But don’t get this confused with garlic powder. The main difference between garlic powder and granulated garlic is how fine the grains are.

Garlic powder is extremely fine grains, just like a powder.

Granulated garlic is coarser, kind of like rock salt. It also combines quite well with liquid based recipes like salads, sauces, soups and stews. But you can also use granulated garlic as a seasoning for different meats.

What Is Garlic Powder?

Dried Garlic Powder

Unlike granulated garlic, this form of garlic comes in extremely fine grains.

It’s made by dehydrating the garlic, and then processing it through machinery, or home based appliances which turn it into a powder.

Garlic powder is primarily used as a seasoning to enhance the flavour of different foods, it’s mainly used to season meats.

What is Minced Garlic?

Minced garlic

To use garlic, many recipes require mincing the garlic, this can either be done using a garlic press, or a cutting board. Personally I use a cutting board as it’s quite easy to do and comes at no extra cost to my wallet.

To mince your garlic clove, simply place an unpeeled garlic clove on your cutting board, lay a knife flat on top, and press down on the knife as hard as you can. This will squash the garlic. Remember, you are not using the blade as this will cut the garlic.

Now the garlic is squashed, the skin should peel straight off, and then finely chop it vertically, and then horizontally.

You should know have a small amount of minced garlic.

How Do You Get Cloves Out Of Garlic?

Getting out a clove from the garlic head is quite easy. All you need to do is hit the garlic head against a hard surface, this will lose the garlic cloves inside, and then use your hands to separate the garlic clove segments from the garlic head.

The skin will still be on the garlic cloves, but to peel them easily, put as many garlic cloves as you want in a jar and shake the jar for around 20 seconds. All the skin should have come off the garlic cloves now.

How Long Is Fresh Garlic Good For?

Cloves of garlic can last from 1 day, to 6 months depending on it’s form (See below) and how you are storing it.

Garlic needs to be stored in a dark, dry, well ventilated place. This is done best by keeping them in garlic keepers.

Garlic Head

If your cloves are all in the garlic head still, this will last around 6 months assuming you are storing it properly. The garlic head creates a health environment for the cloves and the skin on the cloves adds a layer of protection from the outside environment, which keeps the garlic fresh for up to 6 months.

Garlic Clove

Once the clove is removed from the garlic head, assuming the skin is still intact, it will remain fresh garlic for around 3 weeks. Notice how even with the skin on, once the head is gone the storage time drops quite rapidly. Unfortunately there is no replacement for it’s original body.

Peeled Garlic Clove

A garlic clove without the skin on will last for around 1 week when stored properly in a garlic keeper. Improper storage will lead to it degrading quite fast and will lower the time it remains fresh garlic for by a few days.

Mince Garlic

Chopped garlic will lose it’s freshness very quickly, normally within 1-2 days. You should never attempt to chop garlic and save it for another day as it won’t bring your recipes justice at all.

Always chop garlic when you are cooking, and if you have too much, then try to use it later that day. You can slightly expand the lifespan of chopped garlic by storing it in olive oil, as this helps to keep it fresh garlic for possibly an extra day.

How To Tell If Garlic Is Bad

It’s sometimes hard to tell if garlic has gone bad, especially if it’s in it’s early stages as it’s no exact science.

However, there are some indicators that can tell you if your garlic has gone bad.

Yellow Tint

As fresh garlic loses it’s freshness, it becomes to darken. This turns the garlic clove from a fresh white colour to a darkish yellow tint. Kind of like the colour it develops when you fry it.


As with potatoes, garlic sprouts. When garlic sprouts this is a strong indicator that the garlic has gone bad. However, if it’s in the early stages of sprouting, a lot of chefs tend to just cut the sprouts out of the garlic and use it in their recipes.

The sprouts are located at the centre of each clove, so you will have to cut them open to find out if they have gone bad.

If your struggling to see any sprouts, then keep reading.

Bitter Taste

With some foods, we smell them to see if they have gone bad, but unfortunately this does not work with garlic due to it’s overpowering scent.

Once a garlic clove has gone bad, it will develop sprouts, and these sprouts are very bitter. So you can always taste your garlic if your struggling to see any sprouts.

If it’s bitter, then it’s gone bad and now is the time to get another garlic clove.

How much is a clove of garlic?

A clove of garlic can be measured in different ways depending on the form it’s in. From minced garlic, to garlic powder.

Below I have covered the most common questions when to measuring a clove of garlic.

How Much Minced Garlic Is Equal To 1 Clove?

Garlic mince has a lower volume, so you need around a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic to get the same effect as one clove.

So a full bulb of garlic, will yield around 5-7 teaspoons of mince garlic.

If your mincing garlic yourself instead of buying it minced, then this amount can vary depending on how finely you mince garlic.

The more finer it is, the lower amount will be needed on the teaspoon to equal one clove.

How Much Garlic Powder Equals 1 Clove?

You need to use 1/8 of a teaspoon when using garlic powder to get the same effect as one clove of garlic. If you notice, you need to use much less garlic powder than you would using fresh garlic.

This is because garlic powder is dried, and been shredded into a fine powder, this substantially reduces it’s volume, but the strength still remains the same.

How Many Cloves In a Head of Garlic?

The number of cloves can vary from 10-12 cloves per garlic head, there can be some exceptions to this, but when you buy a head of garlic, 10-12 is the number of cloves you should expect on average.

The bulb of garlic size doesn’t really matter as this just means the cloves are bigger, but you still get roughly the same amount regardless of what size garlic head you buy.

How Many Teaspoons Is a Clove of Garlic?

A clove of garlic is equal to exactly one clove of garlic. So if you have any recipes calling for a teaspoon of garlic, then just use one clove.

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