It’s funny to think that garlic will ward off a vampire because this versatile aromatic is one of the most common and tastiest additions to menus around the world! Its flavour is remarkable versatile and variable; from mild to robust, or even sweet when roasted or caramelized.
The entire garlic is called the “head” or “bulb”. The pieces inside are called “cloves”. Throughout history, garlic has been loved for both its culinary applications as well as health benefits.
How to Select Garlic
Look for firm, plump and tightly closed bulbs with dry papery skins. Avoid heads with soft and shriveled cloves or ones with green sprouts forming.
How to Store Garlic
Store garlic in an open container in a cool area (not the refrigerator) that is dry, dark and away from other foods. Garlic pots are great for this! In this environment, they can last up to eight weeks. Storing garlic in the fridge tends to dry it out and reduce the flavour.
How to Prepare Garlic
There’s no need to wash garlic, just peel and trim the ends off the clove and you are ready to go!
To easily remove the skin from garlic, place the clove under the flat side of a chef knife and give it a slight whack with the base of your hand. The pressure will crack open and slightly flatten the clove, making the papery skin pop off. This action also makes it easier to slice and mince the peeled garlic.
Depending on what you are making, you can prepare your garlic in a variety of ways: leave whole, roast the entire bulb, mince, grate, press, slice or mash into a paste.
One fresh medium clove of garlic will give you about ½ to 1 teaspoon minced.
How to Freeze Garlic
Freeze raw, peeled garlic gloves in plastic wrap, either whole, chopped or grated. Roasted garlic can also be frozen. Once cooled, put into an ice cube tray to freeze portions, then keep the frozen cubes in a freezer bag until you are ready to use them. These frozen cubes are convenient to add to soups, stews and sauces later, just pop them in frozen!
Use frozen garlic within one year.
Most of the garlic available in grocery stores is softneck garlic; either Silverskin or Artichoke varieties. Silverskin has white, papery skin and stores very well. Artichoke garlic has fewer, larger cloves than the white variety and often is distinguished by some purple streaks. The artichoke variety is slightly more mild in flavour than the white option.
Hardneck garlic is more of a specialty item. This is where garlic scapes usually come from as well as very purple or large garlic such as elephant or porcelain garlic.
- Roast garlic whole in batches to enjoy whenever you like! Roasting it creates a mellow, sweet flavour and a perfect addition to soups, casseroles and stir fries. You can even just spread it on crackers, toast or a baguette and top with your favourite cheese or pate, for a tasty appetiser!
- Chopping garlic leaves a strong smell on your hands. The best way to remove the odour is to wet your hands and rub them on a stainless steel object, like a spoon or even the inside of your sink. Then wash with soap and water.
- To remove the odour of garlic from your cutting board, make a paste of baking soda and water to scrub your board with. Rubbing a cut lemon over the surface can also help.
- To add the faintest flavour of garlic to a salad, rub the inside of a bowl with a cut clove of garlic.
- To grow garlic chives, place individual garlic cloves, point side up in a drinking glass or container. Add enough water to keep the bottom of the cloves moist. Soon you will start to see garlic chives sprout. Snip them and use them like chives to garnish and flavour dishes. Remember to change the water regularly.
What Does Garlic Go Well With
Basil, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cheese, chicken, cilantro, cream, curries, eggplant, fennel, lamb, lemon, leeks, lentils, lime, mushrooms, mustard, olive oil, onions, pasta, parsley, potatoes, salad, soy sauce, steak, tomatoes and vinegar
Garlic Serving Ideas
- Garlic = comfort food. Try adding it to this warm and satisfying chicken stew, or barley and vegetable stew.
- Add a hit of flavour to easy weeknight stir fry suppers by adding garlic!
- Classic Indian spices pair perfectly with garlic! Try this Aloo Gobi
- Garlic shrimp has just a few ingredients and is easy to prepare. Better yet it looks and tastes great making it a great contender for entertaining!
According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 1 bulb of garlic contain a number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 13% of Vitamin C, 7% of selenium, 4% of calcium, 3% of iron, 3% of phosphorus, and 3% of potassium, with just 36 calories and 0 fat.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which gives it the distinct smell. Allicin is believed to be have anti-inflammatory properties and function as an antioxidant.