10 Tips for Getting the Best Flavor from Garlic

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.

  1. When shopping, choose firm, whole heads of garlic with no mold nor sprouting.
  2. Store whole heads of garlic bulbs in a cool, dark place with good air circulation. Replace when it becomes shriveled or rubbery.
  3. Don’t chop in advance – the longer cut garlic sits, the harsher its flavor becomes.
  4. Remove any green shoots as they can lend a bitter taste.
  5. 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.
  6. Raw garlic will have a sharp taste, while roasting or toasting will mellow and sweeten its flavor.
  7. To avoid over-browning (which will give a bitter taste) add after other ingredients, such as onions, have softened.
  8. If you cook on high heat, do not cook for longer than 30 seconds. Stir constantly, just until fragrant.
  9. 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.
  10. Try garlic as a garnish, either roasted whole and separated into individual cloves, or sliced thin, then sautéed and crisped.

Sources:

“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.

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