Greek/Middle-Eastern Cuisine/Bluish Areas On Marinated Garlic


Hi Dina,

I prepared marinated garlic & green olives last night.

The recipe:

  25 large cloves garlic
  25 large green olives
  3.3 oz. water
  3.3 oz.olive oil
  3.3 cider vinegar
   1 tbsp. basil
   1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
   1/2 tsp. pepper
   1 tsp. coriander seeds
   1/4 tsp. thyme
   1/2 tsp. salt

I brought all of the ingredients except the garlic & olives to a boil for about 2 minutes, then let cool & poured over the garlic cloves & olives in the jar, shaking them up thoroughly.

I screwed a lid on the jar pretty tight & let it set on the kitchen counter. This afternoon I looked at the garlic in the jar & a few of the garlic cloves had some areas of light blue spots on them. I can't figure out what these light blue spots are & I'd like to give my family some jars later as a gift. I'm afraid that the bluish spots on some of the cloves might be unappealing & am wondering what to do about leaving something out or altering the recipe a little.

The recipe did say to boil the garlic cloves for 4 or 5 minutes but I forgot to do that. I wonder if that has something to do with the blue spots?

Thank you for any advice.

Mike E.  

Dear Mike,

Thanks for your question and what sounds like a delicious recipe.

The blue spots on your garlic arise from not having boiled the garlic first. Raw garlic contains an enzyme that if not inactivated by heating reacts with sulfur (in the garlic) and copper (from water or utensils) to form blue copper sulfate.

The garlic is still safe to eat. I'm not sure what you could do at this stage to alter their color without changing the flavor too much.  What if you added a touch of balsamic vinegar for a deeper red color?  But then again, you might end up with purple spots!

Next time you prepare them however, you'll know what to do to prevent the blue.

Kind regards,

Greek/Middle-Eastern Cuisine

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Dina Street


I can answer questions relating to the history of the Turkish cuisine, specific recipes for home cooking and traditional methods of preparation and serving.


I am half Turkish and have spent the last 17 years in Turkey, having operated two businesses in the food catering industry.

Regular restaurant reviewer and food writer for the Bodrum Observer newspaper

B.A. Near Eastern Studies (UC Berkeley) specializing in Turkish language and literature

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