Garlic is one of the most essential ingredients in many recipes around the world and has been long used for cooking many delicious dishes. Thus, it is mandatory to know how to use garlic, so you can cook with this amazing vegetable as well. If you were looking for some guidance, you found the right article! Let’s learn together all the tips and tricks on how to cook with garlic.
How many garlic types are there in the market?
First and foremost, garlic is not a spice nor is it a herb. This vegetable is generally available all year round and has no distinct harvesting season. You will notice that there are different families of garlic in the supermarket but what are their differences? Here is an in-depth look at garlic varieties that you can easily find at your local supermarket:
The first type of garlic is considered the most common one. This family consists of 2 varieties which are Artichoke and Silverskin. They are typically characterized by white papery skin and their flavor ranges from mild to very hot. Also, Softneck garlic can be stored for the longest time among all types.
The hardneck garlic is also widely used in kitchens from almost all countries. This garlic family has a total of 7 subtypes including Rocambole, Chesnok Red, German White, Porcelain, Polish Hardneck, Purple Stripe, and Persian Star. As the name describes it, this yummy veggie features a hard center stem. In addition, the skin is easier to peel than the Softneck, but on the more negative side of things, you can only keep this garlic for a month or two.
Elephant garlic, also called Giant or Spanish garlic, is generally larger than others but has a smoother flavor. Because of its mild pungency, people usually consume it fresh by adding it to fresh salads. This type of garlic can be noticed by its yellowish cloves. Moreover, we know we said that garlic was not seasonal, but this one is the exception to the rule. Indeed, elephant garlic can only be harvested during fall.
Last but not least, green garlic is actually a baby garlic plant that is harvested since it is immature and sometimes has not formed bulbs yet. This one has long and slender green tops which look like green onions and scallions. The green garlic can be eaten fresh or cooked in the same way as mature garlic, but it will provide a more mild flavor.
How to select healthy garlic?
Before you go buy some fresh garlic at the supermarket, here’s what you should consider:
- Choose plump and firm bulbs.
- Choose tight cloves and unbroken skin because their skins will easily fall off when they become old.
- Check if there are unpleasant damps, blemish, or soft spots.
- Feel the bulb’s weight with your hands. If it feels light, it might have already dried a bit too much, so it is better to purchase another one.
How to weigh garlic?
If you don’t cook garlic frequently, it may be possible that you don’t know how to measure its weight. Thus, we have listed some key steps to help you estimate the weight and determine the right amount of garlic to use:
- 1 clove weighs around 2.8 grams, equally 0.1oz.
- 1 clove equals ¼ teaspoon of dehydrated or powdered garlic.
- 1 head consists of approximately 17 cloves and weighs around 47.6 grams (1.7oz).
- The average weight of 1 teaspoon chopped garlic is about 2.8 grams or 0.1oz.
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic equals ½ teaspoon minced garlic.
- 1 cup of fresh garlic weighs about 136 grams, equally 4.8oz.
How to properly store fresh garlic?
It is advised to use fresh garlic within a few weeks for the best flavor. However, it can last over 4 or 6 months if you store this spice in a cool dark room and well-ventilated area.
Once the cloves are peeled, you should freeze them in your refrigerator so they can be reserved for several months. Same as chopped and minced garlic, you should put them in an airtight container (to prevent the strong odor from spreading out) and refrigerate.
How to prepare garlic cloves before cooking?
First, you have to remove the outer layer and break the bulb into individual cloves. Then, cut the root end off and peel the cloves. A cool trick to peel garlic easily is to use your knife and gently squash the clove with the surface of your knife.
Now, your garlic is ready and you have to decide what you will do next with these peeled cloves: cook them whole, slice them, or mince them. As a matter of fact, it depends on the level of flavor you prefer. For example:
- If you want just a small mild flavor, you can fry or roast the garlic
- For average mild flavor, you should slice them into large pieces.
- For medium flavor, it is better to chop the cloves into small pieces to let their pungent juice and oil come out.
- If you are looking for a strong garlic flavor, we recommend mincing and/or smashing them into fine pieces.
If you went through our complete guide, you have learned everything about this amazing vegetable. We hope this article can help you choose the right garlic the next time you go to the supermarket, and that it will bring a delightful flavor to your dish.