Some Tips for Working with Garlic
Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum L., is one of the most important food seasoning in the world. However, because of its many other uses, demand of this crop is continuously increasing.
Aside from being an indispensable cooking ingredient, garlic is also used to cure athlete’s foot and hypertension. It is used in preparation of drugs, insecticide and explosives.
In general, a stronger tasting clove of garlic has more sulphur content and hence more medicinal value it’s likely to have. Some people have suggested that organically grown garlic tends towards a higher sulphur level and hence greater benefit to health. Organic garlic certainly tastes better so whenever possible its better to buy whether or not it’s best for your health.
In cooking, garlic adds potent flavor to a host of dishes. Diced or coarsely chopped garlic works well in sautés, soups and stews, while minced garlic is best for vinaigrettes and other light sauces.
- Buy firm, dry garlic with paper-like skin. Avoid bulbs that are soft, wet or contain green sprouts, all surefire signs the bulb is past its prime.
- Always store garlic away from other foods that will pick up its pungent smell. Stored in a paper bag in a cool, dry place, garlic will keep at least a month. Once cloves are broken from the bulb, they keep up to 10 days.
- Use your hands to peel the papery skin off the bulb before breaking away the individual cloves.
- To remove skin, place the flat side of a chef’s knife on top of the clove. Use pressure from the palm of your hand to rush the love, releasing the powerful flavor and scent. After the clove is crushed, it’s easy to pluck off the skin. Discard.
- To chop, place the flattened clove on a cutting board. Use a rocking motion with a chef knife to cut the clove into pieces. To dice into smaller pieces, continue rocking the knife, cutting the pieces into even small pieces.
- The easiest way to mince garlic, or turn it into a paste-like consistency, is to use a garlic press. Place several unpeeled garlic cloves into the pocket and firmly press the handles together.