Garlic is a delicious and healthy ingredient that can totally transform any meal. From humble pasta dishes, spicy curries and fresh, crunchy bread, garlic is a king among flavours, one that you should definitely know how to make the most of – which is why it’s our next Tefalphabet tip!
While there are loads of garlic-based ingredients available for when you’re feeling a bit lazy, nothing beats the fresh stuff. Garlic cloves give a much more intense flavour than granules or puree and come without any additives.
But it pays to know how to prepare and cook garlic if you want to enjoy its flavour fully – no matter how strong you like it. With help from L’atelier des Chefs, we’ve put together everything you need to know about garlic.
How to store garlic
You might be tempted to pop fresh garlic in your fridge, but this will actually cause it to sprout, as the cold and wet environment makes it act as though it is in the ground. Instead, make sure you keep your garlic somewhere warm and dry. This can be in a kitchen cupboard or even on your kitchen windowsill.
Easiest way to prepare garlic
Fresh garlic can be a be daunting when it comes to preparation, especially as it is fairly fiddly to get everything peeled – and that’s before you even get chopping! To start with, just peel back the layers on the entire bulb until you can pull out as many cloves as you need.
Cut the flat end off of each clove, taking care to cut away as little of the edible garlic as possible. Lay the clove on its side and use the flat of a large knife to push down on it to crush it. You’ll know you’ve managed this when you hear a crack, at which point you should be able to remove the skin easily and cleanly.
Crushing or chopping?
Unless you are roasting whole cloves of garlic, you need to chop or crush your cloves. This releases the flavour and means you can stir the garlic throughout the whole meal. Everyone has a bit of a preference when it comes to preparing garlic, but which is best?
Crushing – crushing garlic is a really effective way to release all the flavour in a clove, especially if you want to add a strong taste to your dish. You can crush your garlic using a pestle and mortar or a garlic press, both of which are relatively easy and mean you don’t need to handle the juices much – so you won’t get smelly hands!
Chopping – if you want a milder flavour, chopping or slicing your garlic is a good idea. This means that you don’t release as many of the juices, so you’ll get a sweet, almost nutty flavour instead of a strong garlic taste. Chopping your garlic can take more time, though, as you still need it to be reasonably fine. Use a small, sharp knife to avoid crushing the garlic as you chop. Crushing it slightly – as you do to remove the skin – will make the job easier too.
How do you get the smell off your hands?
While garlic tastes delicious, it can leave your hands smelling rather strongly for hours after preparing it. Sadly, standard soap won’t always cut it and can still leave a slight tinge of garlic on your fingers. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can try.
Rather than using soap, try the age-old trick of running your hands over something stainless steel under cold water. It may not be easy to clean in between your fingers with this method but it does work. Just remember the water should only ever be cold because warm and hot water can make the smell worse.
Alternatively, you can fight one strong smell with another. If you have instant coffee to hand, use a little of bit of this to wash your hands with. Not only will the granules exfoliate your skin, the strong smell makes the garlic fade much faster.
You can also try rubbing your hands together with some salt and lemon juice, although this may not be the best option if you’ve had a kitchen disaster and have cut yourself.
Now you know all the best ways to enjoy the best of garlic, you can get started on whipping up some delicious meals.
Want to learn more great tips to cook up delicious meals? Check out the rest of our Tefalphabet advice.