Garlic is a plant in the onion family, known scientifically as “Allium sativum.”
Garlic is a versatile ingredient that can be included in various dishes to add flavour, such as cooking or seasoning. Some applications where garlic could be used include pasta dishes, casseroles, baked potatoes and vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and even carrots.
How To Prepare Garlic
There are different ways to prepare garlic, depending on the desired use.
For cooking purposes, garlic can be peeled by hand or with a sharp knife.
A garlic press can also crush garlic cloves quickly and efficiently to prepare them for cooking.
If you don’t have a garlic crusher, you can use a cheese grater – but watch your fingers with this method!
Garlic can also be crushed by using a mortar and pestle to get an even finer texture similar.
Garlic is minced to provide flavour when preparing sauces, dressings and dips, for example.
Garlic cloves can also be cooked whole and are a popular addition when roasting a joint of meat.
What Is The Difference Between Minced and Chopped Garlic?
The difference between minced and chopped garlic is in the size of the pieces.
Chopped refers to when garlic is cut into small pieces, where minced refers to when they are cut even smaller – almost to a paste-like consistency.
You would typically use a sharp knife to chop garlic, whereas mincing (or crushing) involves using a garlic press.
How To Cook Garlic
There are various methods for cooking garlic, depending on what recipe you are making.
Sauteeing – garlic is typically sauteed at a low temperature in oil to soften and bring out the flavour.
Frying – garlic is sometimes fried with other ingredients such as potatoes and mushrooms to create a side dish or vegetarian snack.
Grilling – garlic cloves can be grilled over an open flame and added as a finishing touch to other dishes such as soups and stews.
Simmering (in stews and soups etc.) – garlic is simmered with other ingredients to provide extra flavour, often with onions.
Garlic is also consumed raw on occasions, for example, when making garlic butter.
How To Store Garlic
Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark place – by storing it in the fridge, you can keep it fresher for longer.
If exposed to too much light and moisture, it will go bad, so ensure that the bulb is stored in an airtight container.
Can You Freeze Garlic?
Yes, garlic can be frozen to be used for cooking at a later date.
Whole cloves should be peeled before being frozen – leave any that are already loose in the freezer as they are.
Is It Safe To Eat Sprouted Garlic?
Yes, it is safe to eat garlic that has begun to sprout.
It can be prepared and cooked as usual – simply cut off the roots before cooking if they look too overgrown.
Sprouted garlic might taste bitter, so it might be best to remove the green sprouts before cooking.
When Is Garlic In Season?
Garlic is available to buy year-round but is most widely harvested during the summer months.
In the UK, it is typically harvested from July through to September and can be bought from markets or supermarkets.
How To Grow Garlic
Garlic is easy to grow in a garden where there is a sunny spot. They should be planted from cloves in late autumn and can take around ten months to grow, ready for harvesting the following summer.
How To Get Rid Of Garlic Breath
Garlic breath can be an unwanted side effect of eating garlic, especially if you’ve indulged in it to excess!
You can try chewing parsley or mint leaves or eat some chewing gum or mints, which can be used to mask the smell.
How To Get Rid Of Garlic Smell On Hands
After cooking with garlic or handling it, you can remove the smell of garlic on your hands by washing them in either lemon juice or vinegar. Rubbing your hands with baking soda and salt is also another option.