I find garlic to be one of the most flavorful additions to just about any dish. Although what I have learned is there are ways you may be using garlic that is just…well…wrong.
Check out the below points and if you are a garlic lover like me, be sure to check out how to get the best flavor bang for your garlic buck.
We have all seen the minced garlic in the little jars. I know I have. I grab it and think to myself how this would be SO MUCH easier than peeling the clove, mincing it in my garlic press, and then the annoyance of cleaning the press. Garlic has nutritional value, that being allicin which prevents blood clots and bacterial infections. When the garlic is stored and packaged in jars, the allicin is nonexistent. If this does not prevent you from buying jarred garlic, take it from Anthony Bourdain, “Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”
Garlic that is fresh and harvested in early summer is milder and should be refrigerated and used within the week. That being said, when you go to the grocery store and pick up a bulb, or a 3 pack, you are getting “dried garlic”. This garlic needs to be stored at room temp and NOT in the fridge. And most definitely not in the freezer as this will impact the flavor and texture.
I know, the process of peeling garlic can be a sticky mess. There are 2 particular ways that you can peel garlic. Either lay the garlic clove on a chopping board and push down with the flat side of your knife until the peel separates or pull apart all the cloves and throw them into a jar. Give the jar a shakey-shakey for about 20 seconds and the peels just fall away.
When you are chopping your garlic, ensure you are chopping each piece into slices that are the same size. This will mean that your garlic is less likely to burn and ensure consistency with cooking.
To Press, or Not to Press
OK, I am going to come clean. I am a garlic presser. Yup, I find it easier to peel the clove and throw it in my peeler, squishing out the yummy goodness. However, as per Mash, this is a big no-no. The press turns the garlic into mush and this impacts not only the texture but the flavor as well. As per Serious Eats, using chopped garlic allows for a more mellow flavor whereas pressed garlic (or garlic mush) has a more intense and aggressive flavor. Mush garlic is also at high risk for burning and unless using in sauces, this method is pretty useless. Guess I need to change this process the next time I use garlic!
Too Much Time and Too much Heat = Burnt Garlic
Garlic burns super easily. This warrants a repeat-garlic burns very easily. When chopping garlic to bits, it will burn even quicker, so as mentioned above, slice garlic into even pieces then add garlic to the pan when you are at the halfway point of your cooking. Don’t cook your garlic on high heat, rather, start at a low heat and gradually increase as needed. Once you see the edges of the garlic turn golden brown, turn the heat down asap. Burnt garlic is bitter and nasty. I know from experience.
Blue and Green Garlic
Have you ever noticed your garlic turn blue or green? Sulfur in garlic reacts with copper in butter or lemon juice that can change the color of your garlic. Don’t worry-it is still safe to eat. How about green garlic? Garlic turns green when you chop it too early before cooking it, or if you cooked with onions. Again not a bad thing. It may look a little weird, but still good to eat.
I am going to add a little commentary here and give you a wee suggestion. I remember going to a restaurant and ordering an appetizer that had roasted garlic as spread that was used on a toasted baguette. I was thinking that the garlic was going to be harsh and potent, yet, I went in with my spreader and gave it a whirl. For those of you that know, you know. Roasted garlic is one of the most decadent things. Soft, buttery, mellow, and FULL of wonderful flavor.
Roasted Garlic-the Best Spread
Here is a quick step-by-step for the best-roasted garlic: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice off the top of the bulb-yes, you are using the entire head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap in tin foil and place in a shallow dish. Roast for 40 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze out the garlic. (Recipe from delish.com)
And there you have it. Now you know everything there is to know about garlic and how to cook with it.
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