Garlic 101

The entire garlic is called the head or bulb. The pieces inside are called cloves.

What to look for when selecting:

Look for firm, plump and tightly closed bulbs with dry papery skins.
Avoid heads with soft and shrivelled cloves or ones with green sprouts emerging from the top.

How to store:

Store garlic in an open container in a cool area (not the refrigerator) that is dry, dark and away from other foods.
Garlic pots are great for this! In this environment, they can last up to eight weeks.
Storing garlic in the fridge tends to dry it out and reduce the flavour.

How to prepare:

Theres no need to wash garlic, just peel and trim the ends off the clove and you are ready to go!
To easily remove the skin from the garlic, place the clove under the flat side of a chef knife and give it a whack with the base of your hand.
The pressure will crack open and slightly flatten the clove, making the papery skin pop off.
This action also makes it easier to slice and mince the peeled garlic.
Depending on what you are making, you can prepare your garlic in a variety of ways: leave it whole, roast the entire bulb, mince, grate, press, slice or mash into a paste.

Varieties:

Most of the garlic available in grocery stores is Softneck garlic either Silverskin or Artichoke varieties.
Silverskin has white, papery skin and stores very well.
Artichoke garlic has fewer, larger cloves than the white variety and often is distinguished by some purple streaks. The artichoke variety is slightly more mild in flavour than the white option.
Hardneck garlic is more of a specialty item.
This is where garlic scapes usually come from as well as very purple or large garlic such as elephant or porcelain garlic.

Tips:

Roast garlic whole in batches to enjoy whenever you like!
Roasting it creates a mellow, sweet flavour and a perfect addition to soups, casseroles and stir fries.
You can even just spread it on crackers, toast or a baguette and top with your favourite cheese or pate, for a tasty appetiser!