Garlic Tips and Tricks

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Garlic can be one of those ingredients that’s equal parts easy and intimidating to work with. There’s minced and chopped and paste and powder and cloves. Oh, my. 

But don’t worry. While you’re discovering the wonderful world of garlic, we’ve been busy compiling some quick-n-easy tips and tricks to help you make the most of your bulbs. 

How to Buy Garlic
To be sure you’re getting the best bulbs, the first thing to know is the plumper the better. You also want a bulb that feels a little heavy. Lighters cloves may have signs of dehydration. Second, pick them up, and give them a light squeeze. Firm bulbs, good. Soft, spongy bulbs, bad. 

How to Peel Garlic in 10 Seconds
Peeling garlic can be a mess. We can help you avoid that in no time, and all you need is two bowls exactly the same size. First, place your bulbs on a chopping board. Your countertop can work, too. Then smash the garlic with the heel of your hand. Gather the cloves together in one of your bowls, and cover that bowl with the other bowl. Now give the bowls a good shake. In 10 seconds, your cloves will be peeled and ready for your recipes!  

How to Chop or Mince Garlic
You'll need a sharp knife. Depending on the size of the dice you want, make several close-together vertical cuts into a peeled clove, but not through the root end. Being careful not to pierce the root end, make horizontal cuts. Now make as many cross-wise cuts as needed until your garlic is diced as finely as you want it.  

How to Add Mild Garlic Zest to Bowl Dishes
By "bowl dishes," we mean salads, rice bowls, noodle bowls, etc. But feel free to experiment with this old chef's trick. Cut a garlic clove in half and rub both halves over the inside of the empty bowl or dish before adding your ingredients. That's it! You'll love what this does to Caesar's salads. 

How to Make Garlic Paste
First, mince your garlic as finely as possible. Then, holding the knife handle in your dominant hand with the blade parallel to your body, set the blade into the pile of minced garlic toward the front. With the blade at an angle to your cutting board or counter, hold the top of the blade with both hands. Scrape the knife across the minced garlic, making a pile as you go. Keep scraping and piling until you get a pulpy paste. Add salt to avoid sticking.

How to Reuse Garlic Skins
Remember when you peeled garlic like a pro? Don't discard the peels! Pack them into a tea strainer to make a tea that does wonders for your immune system. (Flavor it with lemon, honey, sugar, whatever you've got a taste for!) Or you can freeze them, and once you've collected enough, add the skins to flavor bone stocks or vegetable stocks. 

How to Fry Garlic
Roasted garlic, sautéed garlic, garlic pastes and powders are popular with many chefs. But have you tried adding fried garlic to soups, salads, or stir-fry dishes? All you need is peanut oil (or an oil that works for you) and peeled, trimmed, thinly sliced garlic cloves. Pour one inch of oil into a small saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic slices in small batches and constantly stir gently with a slotted spoon until the slices are golden brown, or for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and place on paper towels to absorb moisture. 

How to Host a Garlic Tasting
With so many varieties available during Garlic Fest, why not have a garlic tasting? The simplest way to go is to treat it like a wine tasting. Choose 3-4 varieties to taste raw and the same varieties to sample roasted. You'll want to sample the roasted garlics first. The milder taste of roasted garlic makes for a good place to start. The raw garlics will be more pungent, and they might even have the same heat as chile peppers. Be careful! Bread, bland crackers, lemons, or red wine make great palate-cleansers between tastings. You also may want to have milk on hand for the heat of raw garlics. 

Now you’re ready to tackle any recipe that need garlic. In fact, we’ve got over 200 for you to start with.