All You Ever Needed To Know About Garlic

On this episode I’ll walk you through the ins and outs of garlic, from how to shop and store it to the different types of garlic available and how to prepare it. Garlic is a great ingredient to have on hand and is brimming with flavour, health benefits. Listen to the whole episode here, and tune in every Friday to listen to the Newstalk show, You Are What You Eat. Episode:


Aisling Larkin newstalk garlic


Shopping for Garlic


When shopping for garlic, it’s essential to pick the right bulbs. Choose garlic without spots, mould, or sprouting. Squeeze the garlic to ensure there aren’t any soft spots or missing cloves. The garlic shouldn’t smell strongly of garlic, as a strong aroma is a bad sign when buying garlic. The main compound responsible for garlic’s aroma, allicin, is formed only after cells have been damaged during cutting or crushing. So, a bulb of garlic that smells like garlic has likely been bruised during transport or storage. Try to buy garlic loose whenever possible.


Storing Garlic


Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark place with plenty of air circulation to prevent spoiling and sprouting. Whole bulbs of garlic should last at least a few weeks with proper storage. Avoid storing chopped garlic in oil for more than 24 hours, as the bacteria that cause botulism grows in an oxygen-free environment. If you want to freeze garlic, peel the cloves, mince or press them through a garlic press, and place the minced garlic in a bowl. Add enough neutral-flavoured oil to coat, then spoon heaping teaspoons of the mixture onto a baking tray. Place the baking tray in the freezer until the garlic is firm, then transfer the frozen portions to a freezer-safe bag or container.


Types of Garlic


There are different types of garlic, including softneck garlic, hardneck garlic, elephant garlic, smoked garlic, black garlic, and wild garlic. Softneck garlic is heat-tolerant, stores well, and usually has large cloves on the outside with small cloves on the inside. Hardneck garlic is slightly more fragile and has a central stalk or stem with large cloves around it. Elephant garlic, while not a direct substitute for garlic, has a milder taste, making it perfect for people who prefer a more subtle flavour. Smoked garlic and black garlic provide a unique taste in cooking or as a healthy, tasty snack. Wild garlic is perfect for springtime and acts as a prebiotic, encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria.


Preparing Garlic


Garlic can be peeled, minced, mashed, turned into confit, jar puree, or garlic powder. To remove garlic smells, rub your hands with lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda, then rinse with water. For a fragrant but subtle garlic flavour, add a whole clove of garlic into your dish, and to amp up the intensity you can chop, press or mince your garlic into what you’re cooking. Garlic can be added to a variety of dishes, from 40 cloves of garlic roast chicken to roasted garlic butter bread and this dreamy Pea, Spinach and Wild Garlic Soup, the possibilities are endless! Don’t be afraid to add garlic to your dishes and enjoy the benefits it brings to your health and taste buds.



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