Preparing and Cooking Garlic

Preparing and Cooking Garlic

Buying and Storing : Garlic bulbs should be firm and round with clear, papery skins. Avoid any that are beginning to sprout. Garlic bulbs keep well stored in a cool, dry place; if the air is damp they will sprout and if it is too warm the cloves will eventually turn to grey powder.

Preparing and Cooking : First break the garlic bulb into cloves and then remove the papery skin. You can blanch this off with hot water but using a fingernail or knife is just as effective. When a garlic clove is split lengthways a shoot is revealed in the center, which is occasionally green, and some people remove this whatever the color. Cloves are the little segments which make up the bulb and most recipes call for one or more cloves of garlic. (Don't use a bulb when you just need a clove!) Crush cloves either with the blade of a knife or use a garlic crusher. Crushed garlic cooks more evenly and distributes its flavor in food better than when it is used sliced or finely chopped (stir-fries are the exception). Prepare garlic according to the strength of flavor required: thinly sliced garlic is milder than chopped, which in turn is milder than crushed garlic and, of course, cooking mutes the pungency.

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