Cooking with Garlic: Everything You Need to Know

By  //  November 17, 2023

Garlic is one of the first horticulture crops known, and it was used by Indian and Egyptian societies as far as 5,000 years ago.

Today, Americans buy an estimated 121 million pounds of fresh garlic each year.

It’s a staple in many global cuisines, including Indian, Chinese, and Italian.

Garlic, as varied and popular as it is, can go wrong in various ways. It burns while merely browning, is difficult to peel, and either floods a dish with taste or doesn’t shine through.

Due to the challenges of using this kitchen stable, you need to be cautious about how you go about it. To help you out, here are valuable tips that will ensure that you have a great relationship with it:

Use the right cut.

The manner in which you prepare the garlic before cooking can make a big impact on the outcome of your dish.

The aroma of a clove is determined by elements such as its variety, the temperature at which it was cultivated, and the amount of cell damage you cause when cutting it into pieces.

While a garlic press or mortar and pestle provides powerful flavors, a microplane grater produces the most intense results.

Hand mincing produces a relatively mild flavor, which is used in many sauce or marinade recipes.

The Food Network suggests that you remove the outer layers of skin from the head of garlic and break it to loosen the cloves.

With your knife, peel and crush each of them. Roughly chop the cloves, then finely chop them by swinging the knife back and forth.

Keep the garlic fresh.

Pre-cut garlic provides a quick and simple option. If you are looking for convenience and don’t want to go through the trouble of chopping and measuring, you should go for the pre-cut garlic.

Some people have reported not experiencing the same flavors from the pre-cut garlic as they do from whole garlic, so you need to ensure that you buy your garlic from the freezer section in your local grocery store or a reputable company such as Dorot Gardens.

What distinguishes Dorot Gardens is not just its convenience but also its unwavering devotion to excellence.

Each cube is a flash-frozen tribute to purity, being vegan, OU kosher, halal, non-GMO confirmed, and free of artificial preservatives and additives.

It’s not just about making cooking easier; it’s about enhancing each dish’s flavor and nutritional profile with freshness and unique flavors.

Since its start, the company has expanded to its current eight high-quality items manufactured to fulfill the most stringent industrial standards.

The garlic is selected straight from the fields, processed, and flash-frozen into the packaging trays within 90 minutes of the harvest to ensure optimum flavor, nutritional content, and freshness.

Once frozen, the items have a projected two-year shelf life, providing clients with fresh flavors even when they are out of season.

While the pre-cut garlic provides a lot of convenience, it doesn’t hurt to always keep a few fresh cloves on hand and chop or crush them yourself.

When buying, look for firm, plump bulbs with undamaged paper-like skin. There should be no indications of sprouting, soft patches, or other flaws on the bulb.

Garlic is available in various forms other than fresh, including powder, flakes, oil, and puree.

Garlic powder is the most popular, and you can use it in all areas where you would have used chopped garlic.

The dried form is ideal for combining a dry rub or working with high heat. Look for freshly prepared garlic powder at a farmer’s market for the greatest flavor, or make your own if you have a dehydrator.

Mince the garlic for a stronger flavor.

Do you like a stronger garlic flavor in your favorite dishes? Break down the garlic into smaller pieces to increase its potency.

If you’re slicing, try rough chopping; if that doesn’t work, try mincing. The flavor of garlic is greatly influenced by mincing, and a teaspoon of this freshly minced aromatic will produce a more intense flavor than, say, a clove halved once and thrown into the pot.

With each knife blade cut, more plant cells in the garlic are disturbed, releasing more alliinase, the enzyme responsible for the intense smell and taste of both garlic and onion.

Roast slowly

When it comes to roasting garlic, timing and temperature are important. While the oven warms to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, remove a quarter inch from the top of a complete head.

Before wrapping the garlic in aluminum foil, drizzle it with one or two teaspoons of olive oil. Place it on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 40 minutes.

When you can easily cut into the central clove of garlic, it is done, but you can continue cooking to create a golden color and caramelized flavor.

Burning ingredients in a pan or skillet may be frustrating and disappointing, especially if you’re preparing for visitors or experimenting with a new recipe.

If you frequently sauté aromatics at the beginning of a recipe and your garlic stock is freeze-dried, rehydrate the garlic bits before putting them on direct heat.

This is because garlic is freeze-dried after it has been frozen and then placed under a vacuum to remove all of the water. The lack of moisture in the freeze-dried garlic often results in blackened, bitter, burned garlic, which you don’t want.

Use the right garlic.

Garlic comes in two main varieties: softneck and hardneck.

Most of the garlic in your kitchen has likely been artichoke garlic, a softneck species that tastes familiar and versatile.

Rocambole is a common hardnecked garlic distinguished by its more purplish hue and fewer but larger cloves. While rocambole may not stay as long in storage, its flavor is more powerful and nuanced, is considered sweeter than others, and is frequently relished raw.

Solo garlic, also known as pearl or lazy garlic, is a solitary, large, round clove rather than a head with several cloves. It has a milder flavor than regular garlic, but its form makes slicing considerably easier.

You need to find the right garlic to get the right flavors.