The sprout in the center of a garlic clove is called the germ. When garlic is young, the germ is pale, small, and tender. As the garlic ages, the germ turns green, grows larger, and develops an unpleasantly bitter quality. If your garlic has these large green sprouts and you’ll be using it raw or just quickly cooked, you’re better off removing the germ. It’s easy to do: Just cut the clove in half and use a paring knife or your fingernail to pry the germ out. If you’re slow-cooking the garlic in a braise, soup, or stew, or if you’re roasting it whole, you can skip this step—longer cooking tames the bitterness.