[Sca-cooks] Garlic Tips

Tom Vincent Tom.Vincent at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 20 10:51:01 PDT 2006

Garlic Tips

/The emotional content of garlic almost equals its culinary value./
---Arthur E. Grosser, American author, actor, teacher

*TIDBIT* Down through the ages, garlic has been credited with miraculous 
healing powers. Modern-day research agrees, crediting this lily-family 
member with compounds that forestall numerous diseases, including 
cancer, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and 
infections. Scientists say garlic is an excellent antibiotic, often more 
effective than penicillin and tetracycline for some bacterial 
infections. So enjoy the lusty pleasures of garlic and feel downright 
upright about being good to your body.

. The primary types of garlic available are: *American garlic* 
(white-skinned and strongly flavored); *Mexican and Italian garlic* 
(both of which have mauve-colored skins and a slightly milder flavor); 
and the extremely mild *elephant garlic* (not a true garlic, but related 
to the leek), which is orange-sized with huge, 1-ounce cloves. *Green 
garlic *is garlic in its infant stage, before it begins to form cloves. 
It resembles a baby leek with its long green top and tiny white bulb. 
Its flavor is much softer and sweeter than that of mature garlic. Green 
garlic is occasionally available in specialty produce markets in the 

. Fresh garlic: Choose heads with firm, plump bulbs and dry skins. Avoid 
heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the 
refrigerated section of the produce department.

. Other forms of garlic: dried and oil-packed minced garlic, garlic 
extract, garlic juice, garlic powder and garlic salt may be convenient 
to use, but they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, 
readily available fresh garlic. All these forms are available in most 

. 1 head = 12 to 16 cloves
. 1 medium clove = 1/2 teaspoon minced, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

*STORING* Store in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, 
dark place for up to 2 months for unbroken bulbs (they'll begin to dry 
out toward the end of that time). Once broken from the bulb, individual 
cloves will keep for 3 to 10 days.

. Instantly separate a head of garlic into cloves by placing it on the 
countertop, covering with a dishtowel and whacking it with a heavy pot.

. To quickly peel garlic cloves, position the flat side of a French 
knife on top of the clove and whack it with your fist (not too hard, 
unless you want to crush the clove). The jolt loosens the skin for easy 

. If you have a lot of garlic to peel, separate the bulb into cloves, 
drop into boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds. Turn into a colander, 
rinse with cold water and peel.

. Microwave method for loosening skins: Place a whole head of garlic on 
a paper plate; microwave on high for 1 minute, rotating the plate at 30 
seconds. (You may need more or less time, depending on the garlic's size 
and the oven's power.) Let garlic stand in the oven for 1 minute. Peel 
when cool enough to handle.

. There's no need to peel garlic cloves when you're putting them through 
a garlic press. Simply pop the clove, skin and all, into the press and 
squeeze. The garlic flesh will be forced through the mesh, while the 
skin stays in the press, keeping it relatively unclogged and making 
cleanup a breeze.

. Putting a lot of papery garlic skins in the garbage disposal can clog 
the blades. It's better to toss them in the trash.

. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its 
essential oils and produces a sharper, more assertive flavor than if the 
cloves are sliced or left whole.

. If you don't have a garlic press, crush peeled garlic by placing a 
clove on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Fold the wrap or paper 
over to cover the clove, then smash it with a meat pounder, rubber 
mallet, heavy, flat-bottomed glass, or the flat side of a French knife. 
Use your fist to give it a firm smack.

. Chop garlic with a little salt and it won't stick to the knife as 
much. The salt also absorbs much of the garlic juice. Turn the garlic 
and salt into the dish and reduce the amount of salt used accordingly.

. When chopping garlic in a food processor with the steel blade, start 
the motor, then drop the garlic cloves, one or two at a time, through 
the feed tube. The chopped garlic will cling to the sides of the bowl.

. Chop a whole head of garlic at one time (the food processor is quick), 
put in a screw-top glass jar and refrigerate for up to 10 days.

. For a whisper of garlic in salads, cut a clove in half (no need to 
peel) and rub the cut edges over the inside of the bowl.

. For sweeter, milder garlic, put unpeeled garlic cloves in a small 
saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then drain and rinse. 
Repeat two more times before cooling and peeling.

. Old garlic has a very harsh flavor. Diminish it by cutting halfway 
through a clove, then using the tip of a pointed knife to lift out and 
discard the center, green-colored shoot. Boiling the garlic for 3 to 5 
minutes will further reduce its harshness.

. For garlic when you need it: Peel garlic cloves and put in a screw-top 
jar. Cover with white or red wine and refrigerate for up to a month. 
Actually, the garlic can be used as long as no mold grows on the wine's 

. Peeled garlic cloves may be stored in oil in the coldest part of the 
refrigerator for up to 10 days.

. Freezing garlic: The best way is to put the whole head in a 
freezer-weight plastic bag, expel all the air and seal tightly. Pop off 
the cloves as you need them. You can also separate the head into cloves 
and freeze them separately. Or put 2 or 3 cloves in each compartment of 
an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze. Pop out the garlic cubes 
and place in a plastic bag. When you need some garlic, just hold the 
cube under cold running water, peel the cloves and go!

. Overbrowning garlic when sauteing will turn it pungent and bitter. 
Over medium-high heat, minced garlic typically cooks in less than 1 minute.

. For just a little garlic flavor in sauteed foods, cook halved garlic 
cloves in oil over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove with a 
slotted spoon.

. When sauteing both garlic and onions, cook the onions until almost 
done, then add the garlic and cook briefly.

. The longer and more gently garlic is cooked, the milder it becomes. In 
dishes like slow-cooked stews, whole garlic cloves become so soft that 
they can be crushed against the side of the pot and stirred into the 

. Roasting garlic is arguably the best way to cook it (see Roasted 
Garlic recipe, below).

. For roasted garlic puree: Place roasted garlic (loose cloves or whole 
head) in a potato ricer and press down firmly to extrude the garlic; 
discard the skins.

. For a bright, clean flavor, add garlic during the last couple of 
minutes of a dish's cooking time.

. Adding a little honey to a dish that's too garlicky will balance the 

. Love eating garlic but hate the aftertaste and odor? Alleviate the 
problem by: chewing on fennel seeds, a coffee bean or chlorophyll-rich 
greens like parsley; or drinking a tablespoon or two of lemon juice 
diluted with a little water and sugar; or taking some chlorophyll 
tablets or a product like Breath Assure, which is based on parsley oil; 
or, according to the people at the Gilroy's Finest Garlic Festival, eat 
some lime sherbet.

. Remove garlic odor from your hands by rubbing them with lemon, then 
with salt. Rinse, then wash with soap and warm water.

. Or rub your fingers over a stainless steel spoon under running water, 
then wash with soap and water.

. Deodorize a garlicky cutting board by rubbing it with a paste of 
baking soda and water.


_*RECIPE: Garlic Butter*_
Mix 1 cup softened *butter* with 6 *roasted garlic cloves*, 1/4 cup 
minced *parsley,* and *salt* and *pepper* to taste. Spoon the mixture 
onto a length of plastic wrap, enclose and form into a log. Double wrap 
and freeze. Cut off a disk of garlic butter to flavor vegetables, 
steaks, and so on.

_*RECIPE: Roasted Garlic*_
//When garlic is roasted, it turns golden and buttery-soft, its flavor 
slightly sweet and nutty. Use roasted garlic like butter on baked or 
mashed potatoes, bread or grilled meats, and as an ingredient in soups, 
sauces and salad dressings.//
*1.* Gently rub off the outer layers of papery skin of a whole *head of 
garlic. *Separate into cloves and place on a square of aluminum foil 
large enough to enclose the garlic loosely. Drizzle the cloves with 1 
teaspoon *extra virgin olive oil; *loosely wrap and seal. (Or drizzle a 
whole head of garlic with oil and wrap in foil.)
*2.* Bake at 400F until soft when pierced with a metal skewer or the tip 
of a pointed knife (25 to 30 minutes for loose cloves, 1 hour for the 
whole head). Open the foil during the final 5 minutes of cooking time. 
Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight 
jar for up to 10 days.

_*Homegrown Garlic "Chives"*_
Place individual *garlic cloves, *pointed end up and 1/2 inch apart, in 
a pot of soil so that only the tips are above the soil's surface. Water 
only enough to keep the soil moist (not wet) and in a few weeks you'll 
have garlic chives. Snip and use them as you would regular chives to 
garnish salads, soups, vegetables, and so on.

_*RECIPE: Garlic Puree*_
Put peeled cloves of 1 *large head of garlic *into a food processor; 
drizzle with about 1 tablespoon *extra virgin olive oil. *Process until 
the garlic is pureed, scraping down the sides of the workbowl and adding 
oil if necessary. Refrigerate in an airtight glass container for up to 
10 days. For an absolutely airtight seal, level the surface of the puree 
and cover with about 1/8 inch oil. If any mold appears on the garlic 
puree, discard immediately.

Tom Vincent
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and
carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

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