Garlic is a common ingredient in cooking, and it has various health benefits, including boosting the immune system, reducing blood pressure, and fighting infections. Garlic cloves are the most commonly used part of the garlic plant, and getting them out of the bulb can be challenging, especially if you don’t know how to do it properly. However, with the right tips and techniques, getting garlic cloves can become an effortless task.
Understanding Garlic Cloves
Before we delve into how to get garlic cloves, let’s understand what garlic cloves are. Garlic is a bulbous plant in the onion family. The bulb of garlic comprises of several sections, commonly referred to as cloves. A mature garlic bulb can have anywhere from 8 to 20 cloves, depending on the variety. Each clove is covered by a papery layer that needs to be peeled off before use. The cloves vary in size and have a distinct aroma and flavor when crushed or chopped. Garlic is used in many dishes, including stews, soups, sauces, and more.
Selecting the Right Garlic Bulb
The first thing you need to do to get garlic cloves with ease is to choose the right garlic bulb. Not all garlic bulbs are created equal, and the quality of cloves you get out of a bulb depends on the freshness of the bulb. Here are some tips for selecting the right garlic bulb:
Buy Fresh Garlic Bulbs
Fresh garlic bulbs are a brighter shade of white, with no signs of browning or black mold spots. Avoid buying garlic bulbs that have sprouted, as they may have lost their pungent flavor.
Choose Large and Firm Bulbs
Garlic bulbs come in various sizes, but you should aim to choose large bulbs that feel firm and heavy in your hand. The cloves of a large bulb are more prominent, and they are easier to peel.
Learn the Different Varieties of Garlic
There are various varieties of garlic, including softneck and hardneck garlic. The softneck garlic has more cloves, is more pungent, and has a longer shelf life than hardneck garlic. The hardneck garlic, on the other hand, has larger cloves that peel easier and has a more complex and robust taste.
Peeling Garlic Cloves
Now that you have the right garlic bulb, the next step in getting garlic cloves is to peel them. This is where most people struggle, but with these tips, you can peel garlic cloves with ease:
Using a Knife
One of the most common ways to peel garlic cloves is using a chef’s knife. Simply press the flat part of the blade on the garlic clove to break the skin, then remove the peel by pulling it off with your fingers.
Using Your Hands
If you’re not comfortable using a knife, you can peel garlic cloves using your hands. Place the garlic clove on a flat surface and press down with your palm. This will break the skin, and you can easily remove it by pulling it off.
Soaking Garlic Cloves in Water
This method involves soaking the garlic cloves in water for a few minutes to loosen the skin. After soaking, use your fingers or a paring knife to peel off the skin.
Cutting Garlic Cloves
After peeling garlic cloves, the next step is to cut them. Here are some tips on cutting garlic cloves:
Chopping Garlic Cloves with a Knife
Chopping garlic cloves with a knife involves cutting them into small pieces. First, slice the garlic clove lengthwise, then chop it into small pieces. Use the side of your knife to crush the garlic before chopping to bring out the oils and make it easier to cut.
Mincing Garlic Cloves with a Knife
Mincing garlic cloves involves cutting them into tiny pieces. First, chop the garlic clove as you would when chopping, then continue to chop it into smaller pieces until it reaches the desired size.
Using a Garlic Press
A garlic press is a handy tool that helps you crush garlic cloves, which makes it easier to get a consistent size. First, peel the garlic clove, then place it in the press, and squeeze the handle to crush it.
Storing Garlic Cloves
After getting garlic cloves, you need to ensure they are stored correctly, or they may spoil or lose their flavor. Here are some tips on storing garlic cloves:
Store Garlic Cloves in a Dry, Cool Place
Garlic cloves should be stored in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight. A good place to store them is in a pantry or cupboard.
Do Not Store Garlic Cloves in the Fridge
Garlic lovers may be tempted to store their garlic cloves in the fridge, but this is not recommended. The cold temperature of the fridge can cause the garlic cloves to sprout or become rubbery.
Store Garlic Cloves in an Airtight Container
To prevent garlic cloves from absorbing other flavors in the pantry or cupboard, store them in an airtight container. This will also help to keep them fresh for longer.
Cooking with Garlic Cloves
Now that you know how to get garlic cloves with ease, it’s time to cook with them. Here are some tips for cooking with garlic cloves:
Use Garlic Cloves to Add Flavor
Garlic cloves are a great way to add flavor to your dishes, and they work well with many cuisines, including Italian, Asian, and Mexican.
Be Careful Not to Burn Garlic Cloves
When cooking with garlic cloves, they can easily burn and become bitter. To prevent this, cook them on low heat and keep a close eye on them.
Experiment with Garlic Cloves
Garlic cloves are versatile, and you can experiment with them in various ways. Try roasting garlic cloves, adding them to pasta dishes, or using them in marinades.
By following these tips, you can get garlic cloves with ease and use them to enhance the flavor of your dishes. Remember to choose fresh garlic bulbs, peel them correctly, store them in a dry place, and cook them on low heat. With these tips, you can get the most out of your garlic cloves and elevate your cooking to the next level.
Common Questions About Getting Garlic Cloves
- Why is it important to choose the right garlic bulb?
- Choosing the right garlic bulb ensures that you get fresh garlic cloves that are easier to peel and have a more pungent flavor.
- What is the best way to peel garlic cloves?
- The best way to peel garlic cloves is to use a knife, crush the garlic with the side of the blade, and remove the peel by pulling it off with your fingers.
- Can you store garlic cloves in the fridge?
- Garlic cloves should not be stored in the fridge as the cold temperature can cause them to become rubbery or sprout.
- Should you mince or chop garlic cloves?
- The choice of whether to mince or chop garlic cloves depends on personal preference and the recipe you are cooking. Mincing garlic cloves creates smaller pieces and a more uniform flavor while chopping garlic cloves produces larger pieces and a stronger flavor.
– “How to Peel Garlic in 20 Seconds Flat” by Andrew Purcell, Bon Appetit, https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/how-to-peel-garlic/
– “How to Store Garlic” by Kelli Foster, TheKitchn, https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-store-garlic-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-48257