Garlic Lovers use this magical seasoning for cooking and medicinal purposes. They appreciate the mystical lore that that surrounds it. It has a tremendous following and why not?! It promises to lower blood pressure, cure athlete's foot and reduce bad cholesterol, clear your sinuses and above all these, enhances every food it's uses in. Besides, it wards off vampires.
Softneck is one of the main two varieties you will find in stores. It stores well and is heat tolerant. You will find it to have a circle of large cloves around a small cluster in the circle.
Hardneck has a stiff center staff encircled by large, uniform cloves. It has a more intense flavor than softneck. It is easily damaged and doesn't store well.
Elephant Garlic is actually a member of the leek family. The giant cloves are milder than regular garlic and not recommended for cooking.
What is Garlic?
Garlic, Allium Sativum, is a species in the onion genus. Dating back 6,000 years, it has been a staple in the Mediterranean region. It was known to the Ancient Egyptians and has been used throughout history for both cooking and medicinal purposes.
It has been called a "cure all" throughout history. This small bulb of wondrous flavor has been used to heal everything from simple infections to high blood pressure. Ancient Greeks and Romans prescribed it for hundreds of specific ailments. In the sixteenth century, Parisians who ate garlic with fresh butter during the month of May were promised good health year round. It was used by the British to control infections during WWI and the Russians to control flu epidemics.
With or without scientific proof, the belief that garlic "cures all" persists. Whether medical science reaches any definite conclusions about the powers of garlic is of little consequence to the true lovers of this little bulb. The result of using garlic in your recipes is nothing short of magic.
Roasted Garlic - How to Make the Perfect Roasted Garlic
Prepping for Your Recipes
Handling is important to the tensity of the flavor.
Remove any green shoots from cloves before chopping.
The finer the garlic is minced, the stronger the flavor.
Don't chop in advance. The longer it sits, the harsher the flavor.
Three Easy Ways to Skin Your Clove
Crush - Press the flat side of a chef's knife firmly against the clove. This is the best method when you plan to mince.
Roll - between your finger firmly until the skin loosens enough to remove.
Microwave - Place on a microwave-safe plant and cook on high for 10 - 20 seconds. Cool and remove skins.
Cooking with Garlic
To get the best from your garlic, don't cook over a high heat for more than 30 seconds. You only need to cook until it turns fragrant. It turns easily and should be stirred constantly when cooking.
To avoid over browning and bitter flavor, wait to add fresh garlic to the pan after other ingredients have softened.
When it's to be the only flavoring add it to a cold pan. Cook over low heat to give the it time to release it's flavor and keep it from burning.
Fresh is usually preferred in recipes, but there are times when processed garlic is a good alternative.
Garlic Powder is good for spice rubs, breading and dishes such as Roasted Potatoes. Fresh tends to burn whereas, powder doesn't. You can use 1/4 teaspoon powder for each clove of fresh garlic.
Pre-peeled is an excellent alternative to fresh garlic. It will last about two weeks. Pick pre-peeled that looks firm and white.
Getting the Flavor You Want
Garlic's flavor emerges only after the cell walls are opened. The more it is broken down, the more flavor you get. You can control the amount of flavor you need for your recipes by the way you process it.
Roasted Whole Head - Very mild and sweet Slivered and Sauteed - Mellow Minced and Sauteed - Full and rounded Pressed and Sauteed - Very robust Raw Paste - Sharp and fiery
Store head of garlic in a cool, dark space with plenty of air flow. This will help from spoiling and sprouting.
Prep and process only the amount needed for your recipe. It will lose pungency if left to set long.