The way anything is prepared affects the way it tastes—for example, thinly sliced vs. a chunkier dice.  Garlic is no exception; sliced garlic actually has a different flavor than minced garlic.   

Whether you’re making hummus, roasted veggies, sautéed chicken or salad dressing, garlic always adds a little somethin’.  But, it can be a pain to process if you don’t know a few easy tricks. 

Here are my quick tips to easily prepare garlic, and a few of my favorite ways to use it:

Where should you store it?  Whole garlic heads will keep for months if ventilated and kept away from moisture, so store in a mesh or wire basket, in a dark cupboard.  As soon as you remove a clove, however, the garlic head’s life shortens to just over a week.  So use the entire bulb before breaking into a new one!

Separate cloves from bulb:  The easiest way is to put the whole bulb into a sealed jar  (or between two small metal bowls) and vigorously shake shake shake!  The cloves will loosen, then separate. 


Peel cloves:

1.  Trim off the thin, root-like end and discard.  Place a chef’s knife (flat side down) on the clove and smash with your palm.  This will relieve the papery skin and allow you to easily peel it off. 

2.  If you’re using a lot of garlic at once, soak the cloves in cold water for 5 minutes.  This will loosen the skin, making it much easier to remove.  Store unused, peeled cloves in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a few days (any longer and they will begin to sprout or lose their flavor).

What’s the green thing inside?  Sometimes garlic will sprout (especially if stored in the refrigerator) and a green stem, or germ, will emerge.  It’s not harmful to eat, but it tastes bitter; so cut open the clove and discard the germ.

Smashed garlic:  For a subtler flavor, simply smash a garlic clove and add to whatever you’re roasting or frying.  Remove and discard the clove before serving.

Sliced garlic:  Starting at the thicker end, slice crosswise into thin pieces.

Minced garlic:  After your clove has been smashed, roughly chop the garlic then add a pinch of sea salt.  (WHY? #1)  Smash again with your knife, and chop more.  Continue the smash and chop pattern until you reach your desired consistency.

Favorite ways to use garlic:

Roasted Garlic:  Cut enough off the top of an entire head of garlic to expose all of the cloves inside.  Discard top.  Liberally rub exposed cloves with olive oil (WHY? #2), salt and pepper, and cover in a foil packet, sealing the top.  Roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Carefully open foil packet.  Garlic should be soft and mushy.  Squeeze from bottom of bulb to remove the paste-like roasted garlic.  Spread on crostini, use for pasta, soups or even roasted veggies.   Roasted garlic will last about two weeks refrigerated, and a few months frozen. 

Dressing:  Add two minced garlic cloves to your favorite vinaigrette. 



Psst!  A few notes on Garlic:

WHY? #1:  The sea salt will draw the moisture from the garlic, will help you form a garlicky paste.

WHY? #2:   The olive oil will keep the garlic from burning.