When it comes to getting the most flavor for your buck, can garlic be beat? Able to impart worlds of flavor, from slightly sweet and nutty. to intensely aromatic and mildly pungent, garlic is easy and healthy way to add flavor to your cooking. Here are some helpful tips and hints to show you how to get the most out of your garlic.
How to Select Garlic:
While pre-chopped garlic is convenient and still plenty tasty, get the most garlic flavor direct from the bulb. Look for bulbs that are uniform in color and slightly heavy for their size. The skin should be tight with no cracks. Avoid green, because that means the bulb has begun to sprout.
How to Store Fresh Garlic:
Non-broken bulbs will stay good in a cool and dry place for up to four months. Non-peeled heads of garlic are good to go for about a week in the refrigerator. Keep garlic away from moisture, as wetness causes rotting. Sprouted garlic is no good, so dispose of the blub if green appears.
How to Peel Garlic Cloves:
To process the bulb, simply make a gash in the outer skin with a small knife and use your fingers to separate out the individual bulbs. If cooking with whole cloves, cut off a small amount from the top and bottom and remove the skin with your fingertips.
If cooking with smashed, sliced, or minced cloves, peel by smashing the cloves with a large flat knife. Place the clove on a cutting board and put a knife down on top. Using the heel of your palm, press down on the knife and garlic firmly in a smashing motion. The skin should come right off.
After all that peeling, if for some reason you do not want to smell of raw garlic, wash your hands with a piece of stainless steel to remove that distinct odor. The side of the kitchen sink works well in a pinch.
How to Cook Garlic:
The size of the garlic pieces and the amount of cooking time drastically affects the flavor imparted by the garlic. Larger pieces cooked at a low temperature ensure a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Smaller pieces cooked at high temperatures leaves that strong and heavily aromatic flavor typically associated with garlic. Incorporate garlic at the end of the cooking process because overcooked garlic equals bitter food.
Health Benefits of Garlic:
Not only is garlic tasty and versatile, but it is also great for you. Garlic is a great way to flavor a dish without adding lots of calories. Garlic can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart conditions. Just don’t expect garlic to cure bad breath.