Choosing Fresh Garlic

Fresh garlic adds an aromatic flare to pizzas, stir fry and other meals. When you’re in the grocery store, which do you select? The dice, fresh or packs of garlic? The best way to get garlic at its freshest is by buying individual bulbs so you can pick bulbs for their best traits. Unyielding bulbs often have the most zest, while smaller bulbs are often weaker and less flavorful. If your recipe requests a designated amount of garlic, follow that. Otherwise, size isn’t as significant for garlic bulbs.

Store your Garlic Fresh

When you’re buying fresh, whole bulbs of garlic from the supermarket, these will keep for several months as long as they are stored in a dark place at room temperature. Keeping it in an area with little light will suppress any sprouting of the bulb. It’s essential to understand that once you separate the cloves from the bulb, its shelf-life lessens. In addition, keeping them in an open container is optimal, or in a lunch sack, cardboard carton or mesh bag. As long as there is proper circulation of dry air, then your garlic will stay fresh.

Cupboards and cabinets are ideal for storing garlic because they’re dry, cool and dark. Garlic does not need to be refrigerated and freezing it will also decrease the flavor. Plus, if garlic is put in the fridge or stashed in plastic bags, it has a better chance of molding. Entire bulbs can last for several months. Older bulbs will form a bright green sprout out of the tip. The bulb is still edible without the shoot, but may bring out a more robust taste.

For those times that you minced too much garlic for your cooking, you can keep the chopped up bits in a sealed container in your refrigerator. But remember the active sulfur compound that’s so beneficial for our health diminishes within a few hours if it sits in its minced state, and the fridge will lessen the time even more. If you prefer to get the most health benefits from your refrigerated cloves, you should eat it as soon as possible.

Using Garlic in Recipes

It’s annoying to peel garlic sometimes. The best method for avoiding this pesky side of cooking with garlic is simply to soak the cloves for an hour or two in water before you start cooking. This loosens the skin and allows you to pull the wrapping right off. This doesn’t lower or remove the benefits of garlic.

Garlic Sensitivities, Side Effects & Fixes

Although garlic is great for most people, there can be too much of a good thing. Some have reported sensitivities to vegetables in the allium family like onions or chives. While these plants are packed with healthy properties, large quantities or too frequently eating garlic can cause indigestion. For garlic-heavy dishes, take a note from South Asian and Mediterranean kitchens and add fresh parsley or fennel seeds. Herbs like these can fight garlic breath and the smelly effects.