Ingredient Spotlight: Buying, Storing, Preparing Garlic

buying storing preparing garlicBecause of its universal value as a seasoning ingredient, garlic is considered by many as the most important vegetable in history.

Raw garlic isn’t for everyone: it’s pungent and hot. But when cooked, it’s totally different: garlic aroma has a wide range of flavors from strong and delicious to sweet and mild. Roasted garlic is a delight when you spread it on a toasted bread slice. Seasoning a dish with sautéed garlic is wonderful. Dehydrated garlic, garlic salt and other derivative cannot really compete with the real thing. You can try the whole peeled garlic in jars or vacuum bags, it’s pretty ok as long as it’s fresh.

To remove this typical garlic smell on your hands, rinse your fingers under water and rub them on any stainless-steel surface —sink or faucet— this works very well.

Buying and storing garlic
It’s better you choose from loose heads of garlic, this way you are able to select the best specimens: firm, not shriveled bulbs, with no sprout. Don’t bother the color or size of garlic because it’s not important, beside the fact that bigger heads are easier to manipulate and peel. Store in a dark, cool, dry place. Discard any specimen that became soft.

Preparing garlic
It’s not necessary to peel garlic when you roast it because the clove will slide out easily when you’ll press on it. It’s a bit difficult to peel raw garlic, especially for small cloves. Try peeling after crushing the clove with the flat of a knife’s blade. There’s a trick for peeling garlic i large quantities: simmer the cloves in

water for 30 seconds this treatment will loosen the skin and make it easy to slip out the cloves, here’s a more detailed explanation. To chop big quantities, add all whole cloves to a food processor with a bit of oil; this keeps well for a few days. If you feel like going old-school, you can crush garlic through a garlic press, but chopping is no more difficult, I guarantee.

Best cooking methods
Roasting or simmering in oil. how to know when it is done? When garlic is roasted: it’s very tender, almost mushy. The garlic cloves will squeeze out of their skins easily. The more you cook it the milder it becomes when you sauté or fry garlic. However, be careful not to brown it too much it, because it would become bitter.

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