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.