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Why does garlic smell?


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© 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone
Question: Why does garlic smell?
Why does garlic smell and what causes it?
Answer: When garlic cells are ruptured by cutting or pressing, they release an enzyme called allinaise. This enzyme chemically changes the inherent alliin into allicin, a sulfur-containing molecule, resulting in that heady, pungent garlic smell which is a mainstay in kitchens around the world. These sulphur molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream and lungs, escaping through exhaled air and perspiration. Thus, the garlic breath. And, in some people who consume massive quantities, a noticeable garlicky bodily odor can result.

If you are a garlic-lover, it's wise to surround yourself with others who enjoy garlic, or try munching on parsley to rid yourself of garlic breath.

It's much easier to get the smell of garlic off your hands than it is to get rid of garlic breath. To rid your hands of the smell after peeling and/or chopping garlic, simply wash your hands and then rub your clean hands on a chrome faucet. It works like magic!

More About Garlic:

Garlic Cooking Tips and Hints
Garlic Selection and Storage
What is garlic?
Why does garlic smell?
Garlic History
Garlic and Health
Garlic Recipes
Garlic Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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