When onion or garlic germinates: edible or poisonous?

Germinating garlic: Too bad for the bin

Germinating garlic: Too bad for the bin (Source: Denis_Zai/getty-images-bilder)

Potato shoots and germination sites are known to be poisonous: consuming them can cause intestinal problems. Sprouted onions and garlic cloves also often end up in the trash. Is this a sensible precaution or a waste of food?

There are many healthy nutrients in onions and garlic. For example, some help lower blood pressure and prevent heart attacks and strokes . This applies not only to the bulbous part of the onion vegetable, but also to the sprouting greens.

Unlike germinating potatoes, no harmful substances accumulate in the green shoots of onions and garlic. And the bulbous part of the onion vegetable is also not poisonous after germination. In plain language: With the exception of the outer shell, you can use all sprouted onions and garlic cloves. Throwing them away would be a complete waste of food.

Onion greens and garlic greens are safe to eat

When and under what conditions sprout onions or garlic does not matter. For example, you can safely eat the green shoots even if the sprouted onion vegetables have been stored in the refrigerator, in the dark and/or over the winter, or if the onion itself is severely underdeveloped.

Onion greens and garlic greens can be used like spring onions or wild garlic – for example as an ingredient in soups, salads or herb quark . If you simply let the onion vegetables continue to germinate, you can harvest fresh shoots again and again.

Use up germinating onions and garlic cloves quickly

However, onions and garlic cloves change as they germinate: they gradually dry out and become softer. Because their water and nutrient reserves are used up by the growing shoots.

Onions and garlic cloves are still edible in this condition. But they are significantly poorer in valuable ingredients. If you want to use up all of the sprouting onion vegetables, it’s best to do so as soon as possible.

When onions and garlic belong in the trash

In addition to a shriveled appearance and decreasing firmness, a strange smell is no reason to throw away onions and garlic cloves. Because even fresh onion vegetables can quickly smell different than usual if they are stored incorrectly. There is then no health risk.However, caution is advised if the onion or garlic clove feels mushy and, in addition to a noticeable smell, there are rotten or moldy spots: then the onion is spoiled and should be thrown in the trash.


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