All About Garlic
Garlic is my favourite thing to cook with. What surprises me is that so many people are so delicate with their garlic. In my opinion, 1 clove of garlic can’t flavour very much of anything.
If you add garlic to a dish that needs to be cooked for 5 minutes or more, the garlic will loose a lot of its flavour. Starting with a good amount of garlic will ensure that you can actually taste it by the time the dish is finished cooking.
If you love garlic, try adding a bit more. If you normally use one clove, go ahead and use 2 or 3. You will thank me for it.
Now on to learning more about garlic.
What is Garlic?
Garlic is a relative of the onion, leek, chive and shallot.
Each garlic bulb is comprised of many garlic cloves covered in a papery skin.
Fun Fact: Elephant garlic is not actually garlic. It is a variant of the garden leek.
- Store garlic in a warm, dry location. If you store them in the fridge, they will sprout when taken out. Garlic that has sprouted is much more bitter.
- Storing garlic in the fridge with oil is not a good idea because it makes it prone to forming Clostridium botulinum, better known as botulism. This is because garlic is very low acid. The garlic in oil found in the grocery store has added preservatives like citric acid to prevent Clostridium botulinum from forming.
- Garlic cloves can be frozen whole. Lay them on a tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a container or freezer-bag. When ready to use, thaw until you can peel them, then peel and use them right away.
- Peeled and chopped or minced garlic can also be frozen. Form clumps of pre-measured chopped garlic or just freeze in a single, layer. When ready to use remove a clump or break off a piece. Use right away.
- Mashed in oil. Mashing garlic and adding oil will allow it to be frozen without freezing solid. The oil will not become solid. This makes it easier to just scoop out how much you need.
- WARNING: Whichever method you choose, be sure to use the frozen garlic right away. Do not store leftover thawed garlic in the fridge or on the counter. This will open it up to forming Clostridium Botulinum.
- Peel and slice fresh garlic cloves. I like to slice by hand because I can get it very thin, which takes less time to dry.
- Place in a dehydrator. Set to 125 °F (52 °C) for 8 – 12 hours. If you do not have a dehydrator: Dry in an oven for about 2 hours in an oven heated to 140 °F (60 °C). Reduce heat to 130 °F (55 °C) and continue until cloves are completely dry (4-6 hours). Store in an air tight container in a cool, dry, dark location. If your oven only goes down to 170 °F (76 °C) check it after each 30 minutes. Turn if necessary. Whether using a dehydrator or oven, dry until the garlic is brittle and no longer “bendy’. Check each piece as some may be dried before others.
- Create your own garlic powder by processing dried garlic in food processor or spice mill. Don’t process too long or it will be too fine and will clump together.
- Create your own garlic salt by processing 4 parts salt to 1 part dried garlic. Don’t process too long or it will be too fine and will clump together.
- WANT AN EVEN EASIER WAY? We posted a recipe for garlic salt that requires no slicing and is done in about 1 hour.
Vinegar or Wine Storage
- Storing garlic in full strength vinegar or wine is definitely an option and will keep for 3 – 5 months in the fridge. Check periodically for mold or yeast growth on the surface or the lid. If this happens, discard the vinegar and the cloves. Do not store at room temperature, because it will quickly develop mold.
- Home canning is not recommended.
To prepare garlic:
- Peel papery skin off of cloves.
- Garlic cloves can be used whole, chopped, sliced, or minced.