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Green garlic? What is going on?

February 22, 2009

All I wanted to do on Sunday afternoon was make some wine-butter sauce for my pasta. These are the ingredients I was using to make this sauce: butter, flour, white wine, pepper, salt, lemon juice, and pressed garlic. As I started cooking the sauce, these weird GREEN things started appearing… what is going on? In what sick world do those ingredients form something that is green?

green things


This was the first attempt… so then I thought okay maybe I had some sponge residue in the pan, lets try it again. So i cleaned the pan (using a cloth this time instead of a sponge).


The same thing happened! Ok so it is definitely not the sponge. Maybe that blue spatula is somehow leaking its plastic color? If you combine the ingredients in the sauce with something blue… that could make something green? So I tried to make the sauce again but this time with a metal spoon.


Starting off again with some melted butter… all seems well at this point…


But it happened again! See those green specks? So then I thought okay… maybe it is this pan. Could this pan be leaking chemicals that are somehow turning something in this sauce green? Maybe I am being a bit paranoid, but I tried it again in a different pan.

new pan

more green things!

This time I could see the garlic pieces (or lemon pulp I am not really sure) turn green before my eyes! It was kind of creepy because it seemed so unnatural.


At this point, I was really creeped out and really hungry. I settled for melted butter with black pepper. But I was still really curious as to why this would even happen? There was no way I was going to eat those green things. Could it be something in the garlic or lemon that has a weird reaction to heat or the other ingredients? Maybe it is some coating that is common on both of the pans? Could it be the metal spoon? I’m really confused. First I am going to ask around my building to see if it happens to anyone else. How can I get to the bottom of this? I’m not sure, but I’ll keep you updated. In the mean time… becareful what you eat…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Debs permalink
    February 22, 2009 19:20

    When garlic is not fully ripe (has green shoots around edges) and is in the presence of acid (lemon juice) and heat it will cause a reaction to release any of the remaining chlorophyll in the garlic. Perhaps not aesthetically pleasing, the resulting green garlic sauce is safe to eat.

  2. krystalpersaud permalink
    February 22, 2009 23:00

    I thought maybe it had something to do with the garlic, but I have had the garlic for over a month now. And another day when I was making a spinach sauce, I noticed the aqua-green tint on the garlic without using lemon juice. Its strange, do you have any other suggestions of what it could be?

  3. March 25, 2009 11:37

    Next time try isolating the suspected ingredients, and cooking them to see if it happens… slowly add ingredients until the event (green things) happens again.

  4. Nick permalink
    March 25, 2009 14:41

    Garlic can turn green in the presence of an acid. In your case it is most likely the lemon juice. Though it isn’t the most appetizing thing to look at, there is nothing wrong with it. Still totally delicious.

  5. September 27, 2009 21:53

    Making melted butter with garlic for lobster, added lemon juice, same thing happened exactly…the acid from lemon juice must turn the garlic greenish-blue.

    I will add the lemon AFTER the butter is melted with the garlic, and just to the lobster itself. May be edible, but it’s unsightly.

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