That may be the best way to preserve the herb's healthy compounds during cooking, a new study shows.
Garlic contains compounds shown to help prevent blood clots. But most garlic studies have tested raw garlic, and cooking can damage those anticlotting compounds.
Crushing garlic may help prevent that damage, report the researchers, who include Claudio Galmarini, PhD, of the agricultural sciences faculty at Argentina's Universidad Nacional de Cuyo.
Galmarini's team found that garlic cooked three minutes in boiling water or in an oven at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit has the same amount of the anticlotting compounds as raw garlic.
But cooking uncrushed garlic for six minutes "completely suppressed" those compounds' anticlotting effects, the researchers write.
Galmarini's team then tried crushing the garlic by putting it through a garlic press before cooking.
That helped preserve the compounds, although they still lost much of their anticlotting effects after three to six minutes.
The study appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
SOURCES: Cavagnaro, P. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Feb. 21, 2007; vol 55: pp 1280-1288. News release, American Chemical Society.
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang