Garlic can either enhance or overwhelm a recipe. Here are some tips to ensure you get the best qualities this little gem has to offer.
- When shopping, choose firm, whole heads of garlic with no mold nor sprouting.
- Store whole heads of garlic bulbs in a cool, dark place with good air circulation. Replace when it becomes shriveled or rubbery.
- Don’t chop in advance – the longer cut garlic sits, the harsher its flavor becomes.
- Remove any green shoots as they can lend a bitter taste.
- Control the flavor – a finer mince will have a stronger taste because of a compound called allicin which is produced by cut garlic. Use a courser cut for a more subtle taste and aroma.
- Raw garlic will have a sharp taste, while roasting or toasting will mellow and sweeten its flavor.
- To avoid over-browning (which will give a bitter taste) add after other ingredients, such as onions, have softened.
- If you cook on high heat, do not cook for longer than 30 seconds. Stir constantly, just until fragrant.
- When garlic is the only flavoring, add it to a cold pan and cook over low to medium heat. This gives it time to release flavors and keep from burning.
- Try garlic as a garnish, either roasted whole and separated into individual cloves, or sliced thin, then sautéed and crisped.
“How to Make Food Taste Better.” The Americas Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Great Cook, Americas Test Kitchen, 2013, p. 12.
“How to Stock Your Pantry and Refrigerator, Garlic – Storing Garlic, Preparing Garlic and Cooking Garlic.” The Americas Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Great Cook, Americas Test Kitchen, 2013, p. 35.