Enjoy Fresh Garlic? How to Pick the Best

Fresh garlic adds a flavorful kick to soups, veggie dishes and snacks. But when you visit the supermarket, do you pick up packs of bulbs or purchase individual bulbs? The most direct way to get fresh garlic is by purchasing single bulbs so you can pick bulbs for their best qualities. Solid bulbs usually have the most flavor, while lighter bulbs are usually older and shriveled. If your meal requests a designated number of cloves, follow that. Otherwise, size isn’t as important for garlic bulbs.

Storing Fresh Garlic

When you’re purchasing fresh, whole bulbs of garlic from the store, these will keep for several months as long as they are placed in a dark place at room temperature. Keeping the bulbs in a dark place will suppress any budding from the bulb. It’s important to understand that once you pull out the cloves from the bulb, its shelf-life diminishes. In addition, placing them in an open container is optimal, or in a lunch sack, styrofoam carton or mesh bag. As long as there is decent dry-air flow, then you‘re good to go.

Garlic stays fresh when stored in an place away from humidity and extreme temperatures like a pantry or cupboard. Garlic shouldn’t be refrigerated and keeping it in the freezer will also decrease its healing properties. Furthermore, when garlic is put in the fridge or stored in plastic bags, it has an increased chance of molding. Entire bulbs can stay fresh for a long duration. Older bulbs sometimes develop a bright green sprout from the top. The bulb is still edible once you remove the shoot, but may bring out a bolder flavor.

For those times that you chopped up too much garlic for your meal, you can place the chopped up bits in an air-tight container in your refrigerator. However, the active sulfur compound that’s extremely beneficial for us diminishes within a few hours when it sits in its chopped-up form, and refrigeration will lessen the time more. When you want the maximum health benefits from your refrigerated cloves, you should use it as soon as possible.

Using Garlic in Recipes

Peeling garlic can take a long time. An easy method for bypassing this pesky side of cooking with garlic is simply to soak the cloves for an hour or two in water before you start cooking. Soaking it will loosen the peel and allows the wrapping to come off more easily. This doesn’t reduce or remove the benefits of garlic.

Too Much Garlic?

While many food lovers enjoy garlic, you can have too much of it. There have been case of allergies to allium vegetables like shallots or chives. However, overdoing the garlic and similar veggies causes indigestion. For garlic-loaded dishes, take a note from South Asian and Mediterranean cooking and balance the strong flavor with fennel seeds or fresh parsley. Herbs like these can counteract bad breath and the smelly effects.