Garlic is such a versatile member of the vegetable family. We use it in almost everything and it has become as common as table salt in our kitchen. It’s versatility gives a sense of completion to any dish it is used in. For that reason, we take garlic very seriously. It is important to keep a few things in mind when using garlic.
When cooking with garlic it is important to let it rest for 10 minutes after you mince, chop, slice, or press it. The key enzymes in garlic will be cooked off if you don’t let it rest. By letting it rest after cutting it, the enzymes mingle and support each other through the heating process. If your recipe does not require garlic to be cooked, don’t worry about letting it rest because you’ll be getting its health benefits no matter what.
The fastest way to get garlic ready for your recipe is to peel away the cloves you need from the bulb. Place one clove at a time on a cutting board and rest a chef's knife flat on top of the clove, sandwiching it against the cutting board. Hold the handle of the knife firmly with one hand. With the other hand, strike the flat part of the knife with the bottom of your hand where it meets the wrist. This action will crack the skin away from the garlic so that it can easily be plucked off. Place the clove into a garlic press and press into a small glass dish. Repeat this process with each clove and place the garlic aside to rest if cooking. Because of this 10 minute resting period, we suggest you press garlic before starting a recipe. This will ensure that you won’t cook off the amazing health benefits of garlic. Pressing garlic also releases the most flavor compared to other techniques.
Garlic has a the ability to do many powerful things for your health. It is highly effective at thinning the blood, boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, and reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also contains antioxidants that reduce the risk of alzheimer’s and dementia. Many studies find that garlic helps detoxify heavy metals in the body and improve bone density. Other effects of garlic are its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. With the amount of illnesses and chronic diseases that garlic is known to fight, it is a wonder why more people don't regularly use garlic in their diet. It’s a no-brainer!
Any variety of garlic retains its wild, nutritious properties compared to other fruits or vegetables. You really can’t go wrong in terms of varieties of garlic. We prefer buying varieties that have purple or red hues because they add complex flavors compared to many white varieties. You’re better off buying garlic at a farmers market, food co-ops, or natural food stores. Those locations are more likely to have fresh, locally grown garlic. Look for bulbs with tight, firm cloves. Larger sized bulbs tend to be easier to work with and will stay fresh for longer.
Garlic will keep best in a cool, dry environment. Keep your garlic out of direct sunlight and away from heating elements. You can store it in the fridge but don’t put it in the crisper drawer (too much humidity). Garlic is pretty resilient at low-mid room temperatures and should stay fresh for up to two months. If you use garlic like we do, it won’t be in your house for much longer than a week. Be careful because garlic can become more pungent and spicy after a long period of time.
Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson