© Paula Trites
Garlic is a member of the onion family that, like onions, is grown for its bulb. The whole Garlic is called either a "bulb" or a "head." Inside it, individually wrapped, are "cloves." When the bulb sprouts, it grows leaves that look like chives.
When buying fresh Garlic, avoid any that are sprouting, or that feel loose in their skins. A Garlic bulb should feel heavy and solid.
Frozen GarlicYou can also buy garlic frozen in small disks of about 5 g (.18 oz) each. The garlic is puréed; you just pop a portion out of the plastic package and use. Each portion is separate from the other for ease of use. It costs about £2.00 per 16 portion package (2005 prices, $3.50 US.) Each portion is equivalent to 1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and minced.
Garlic Hanging to Dry
© Paula Trites
Take a whole, unpeeled clove of Garlic and lay it on a cutting board. Take a broad-bladed knife or cleaver, lay it sideways on the clove and pound it once with your fist. The skin will easily pull away. Continue chopping or crushing as needed.
Technically, if you love Garlic, it is better to use a crusher than to chop Garlic, because when you chop it some of its flavour and oil can be lost into or onto the chopping board, whereas if you crush it over what it is going into, any drips get salvaged.
If you have to do many cloves of Garlic at once, you can blanch them in boiling water for 5 seconds instead of whacking them with the knife. But then if you were doing that many to justify boiling a pot of water, why not buy a large jar of the minced Garlic at the store instead of 10 pounds of Garlic?
To roast a whole bulb of Garlic, chop off and discard the top third of it. Don't peel it. Roast at 200 C (400 F) for about half an hour until the head is soft. Remove from oven, let cool, then squeeze the roasted Garlic out.
1 small clove Garlic = 1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced
1 medium-size clove Garlic = 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons minced = 5 g / .18 oz
1 large clove Garlic = 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons minced
1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder = 1 clove Garlic
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic = 2 medium cloves, minced
12 cloves = 1/4 cup of minced garlic (fresh or bottled)
When buying commercial "Garlic in oil" products, look on the label for salt or an acid such as a vinegar as being amongst the ingredients, which would make it safe.
To store chopped Garlic in vinegar, the advice is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts Garlic, but the vinegar needs to be a highly acidic one to be safe.
1 clove = 1 teaspoon peeled, chopped = 1/2 tsp minced = 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic flakes = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
40 cloves garlic, roasted = 6 tbsp roasted garlic purée
4 bulbs = 1/2 cup whole fresh garlic
Purée Garlic with oil (1 part garlic to 2 parts oil) and freeze. The oil, in a fridge freezer at least, will stop the garlic mixture from freezing solid, so you can spoon off what you need as you need it.
Any homemade mixture of garlic in oil not frozen should be refrigerated and used within 1 week. To store chopped garlic indefinitely in a refrigerator, the garlic should be in a strong vinegar.
You can freeze garlic cloves (peeled or unpeeled) in a freezer bag in the freezer. They're a bit quicker to use, obviously, if they're peeled first. When thawed, they'll be a bit soft, which is fine for use in cooking as opposed to in fresh items such as salsas or salad dressings.
Literature & Lore
The use of garlic is forbidden to Brahmins and Jains in India on religious and cultural grounds; they use Asafoetida as a substitute.