Garlic is one of the most popular products in European and Asian cuisine. It does not act as a key ingredient, but gives aroma, spicy and spicy taste to soups, salads, main dishes of meat, fish and vegetables. It is added to sauces, aromatic oils and vinegar. I suggest getting acquainted with this vegetable, a sibling of the onion.
Garlic: General Characteristics
The homeland of garlic is considered South-East Asia, although now this unpretentious vegetable is found everywhere. It is absolutely not capricious, grows well in any climatic conditions. Experts believe it has been in use for as long as 4,000 years, although the first records of garlic date back to later dates.
Garlic was found during excavations of ancient Egyptian tombs; historians believe that ancient Egyptian civilizations used it as a food. In ancient Rome and Greece, it was used as a spice, used to flavor bread, and as medicine. Garlic was believed to give soldiers courage, and soldiers ate a few cloves before battle.
Today, garlic is used as a spicy ingredient on different continents. It is very popular in European, Asian, American and Caucasian cuisine. It is added to poultry and meat, in soups and salads, sauces. In Japan and China, they pickle garlic just like we pickled cabbage, which gives it a sweet and sour taste. Garlic is even used to make desserts.
Preparing Garlic for Slicing
Very young garlic has a very thin and delicate skin, which can be left on. But 99% of the time, garlic needs to be peeled beforehand. Many people don’t like to do this because the process is cumbersome – but there are secrets that will speed things up. The step-by-step algorithm for preparation is as follows:
- Separate the head into individual cloves. Wrap the head in a napkin, paper towel and press with two hands – all the cloves will neatly separate from the spine. Their skin will remain intact, you can take as many cloves as you need, and send the rest to the refrigerator – they will be stored for a very long time.
- Peel the cloves from the husks and skins. There are two methods:
- Take a sharp knife and cut off all the husks and dry tip;
- Put the clove on a cutting board and press with the flat side of the knife. The husk will separate itself, you will only have to cut off the dry tip.
Note that the second method is not suitable for young garlic – only for old garlic, whose skin has already become dry.
Garlic is ready – now you can cut it and add it to dishes.
Methods of Slicing Garlic
The slicing technique determines not only the aesthetics, but also the degree of spiciness of the garlic. The smaller the slices, the sharper the taste and richer the flavor. Sometimes whole cloves are put in dishes – then the taste and smell will be only slightly perceptible.
There are 3 ways to slice garlic:
- Take the peeled cloves and place them on a stable board,
- Cut crosswise into equally thick strips. Knife pitch – the shallower the better, usually it’s 1-2 millimeters.
Each piece will look like a neat triangular-shaped petal.
- Peel the cloves and place them on a cutting board,
- Start cutting the clove into petals, but don’t bring the knife all the way through – they should hold onto the common “tail.” The thinner the pitch of the knife, the better, a pitch width of 0.5-1 mm is optimal.
- Then cut the tine in the middle, holding the knife parallel to the board – again, keeping the common “tail”. Make 2-3 such cuts
- Move on to slicing the clove across at the same pitch as the longitudinal cuts – 0.5-1 mm. The smaller, the better.
- At the end, you can further chop the resulting slices.
- Put the peeled cloves on a board.
- Start slicing “petals”, not cutting the clove all the way through, the petals should stick to the common tail. The slicing step is 2-3 mm.
- Make one cut in the middle, keeping the knife parallel to the board.
- Move on to transverse slicing, keeping the knife pitch the same as in the longitudinal slicing, 2-3 mm.
Rough slicing of garlic is done in the same way as fine slicing, but with a larger step of 2-3 mm. With it, only one notch in the middle is enough.
Other Ways to Chop Garlic
To achieve a rich flavor and spice, it must be chopped. There are three ways to do this: in a mortar, garlic crusher, fine grater or knife.
Grinding garlic with a garlic crusher. Just place the cloves in the crusher and press. And they can not even be peeled beforehand.
Grinding garlic with a fine grater is a convenient and common method. The pulp is fully used, so there is much less waste than crushing in a crusher.
Chopping garlic with a knife: Place the cloves on a cutting board, flat (flat side of the blade) press down on the clove to crush it. Using the chopping technique, chop the garlic into small and equal sized square-shaped pieces. This is the easiest method, with it leaving almost no waste – I prefer it that way.
Stupa is used when you need to get garlic paste. I recommend adding a little salt to the mortar when pestling – it will be a natural abrasive and will help grind the garlic much faster.
Garlic Cooking Techniques
Thermal processing of garlic can be different: it is boiled, stewed, fried. It all depends on the dish. If you boil a soup, garlic is added in the last minutes of cooking, if you make a stew – add it and stew, in fried dishes it is fried in oil before the main ingredients or at the very end of cooking.
Separately, we should consider two techniques – baking and marinating. They are noteworthy because they involve treating garlic as a separate product.
After baking, garlic becomes a completely different seasoning, its taste changes – it becomes sweet, loses bitterness, softens, gets new shades. Such garlic is added to mashed potatoes, sauces, marinades and salad dressings. For cooking, take whole heads without separating them into cloves. Don’t remove the skins, just cut off the tops of the cloves, so it’s easier to squeeze out the baked pulp later. Put the cloves in a fireproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and put it in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 180 degrees. You can make a pillow of salt for the garlic, this will help even baking. If desired, you can also bake peeled cloves – at the same temperature, but instead of a refractory form should be made envelopes of parchment.
Pickling garlic at home is incredibly easy. Peel the cloves from the husks, rinse well, cut off all the damaged and darkened areas. Put it in a glass, pre-sterilized jars, pour boiling water and drain it in a saucepan after 5-7 minutes. Then prepare the marinade – add to the boiling water with vinegar, allspice, salt, spices to taste, pour the garlic and screw the jars. Leave the preserves to cool in a cool place.
A Few Recommendations for Using Garlic in Dishes
Experienced cooks know the secrets of how to “manage” garlic. In some dishes it will feel stronger, in others it will give a light, elegant note, a little reminder. It all depends on how, when and how much garlic to add during cooking. Here are a few recommendations that will be helpful to everyone:
- The more crushed the garlic is, the more flavor and spice it releases. If you only want to add flavor to a dish without making it spicy, just lightly crush the clove with the side of a knife blade, squirting out some of the juice. If the texture is not important, but the garlic flavor and smell should be felt strongly, it is better to grate it;
- The finer the garlic is chopped, the less time it takes to heat it. In most dishes it is added at the very end to avoid the risk of burning. But if the dish involves a lot of liquid (soups, stews), you can add garlic at the beginning;
- Start the garlic over a low heat, gradually increasing the temperature. This also reduces the risk of burning.
How to Store Garlic?
Garlic stores very well at room temperature, it does not need special conditions. It is enough to peel the heads from the roots, dry them well and put them in a convenient container.
If you have a lot of garlic, you can fill the bottom of the container and cover the heads with coarse salt and put them in a cool place, then the vegetable will be stored for a maximum time – up to 8-9 months. At room temperature (20 degrees Celsius) garlic will be stored for 4 months, after which it begins to lose its aromatic and gustatory properties.
It is better not to store garlic in the fridge for a long time. His head will gain moisture from the condensation, can get moldy.
How to Store Peeled Garlic?
Peeled garlic is stored no more than 2 days in the refrigerator. However, this time can be extended. If you have already peeled garlic cloves from the skin and did not use them, you can put them in a clean and dry glass container, pour vegetable oil (sunflower, olive, linseed) and put in the fridge. So you can use in a dish not only the garlic itself, but also the oil with which it is poured. It will soak up the garlic flavor and is perfect for dressing salads.
How Can You Tell if Garlic is Fresh?
When garlic reaches the end of its shelf life, it may sprout (green shoots, “arrows” appear). In this case, it should be used urgently or give the product a “second chance”: peel the cloves, crush them into a paste, fill with water and freeze. This will extend the shelf life for another 1-2 months.
The fact that the garlic has gone bad can be evidenced by a change in color, it becomes darker. This means that the vegetable begins to rot. It becomes soft and dry, losing juiciness. At the same time, it loses its smell and taste, and then changes them – from a pleasant aroma to a rotten amber. You cannot use such garlic in food, you just have to throw it away.
12 Interesting Dishes with Garlic
Garlic is rarely the main ingredient that takes up the main spot on the plate.
But there are many dishes in which it is the main star. Take away this flavorful product and the recipe is ruined and the magic is lost. Here are my favorite top 12 dishes with garlic – unusual, tasty and simple – that even a beginner can cope with.
It’s not just quick, it’s instant! This pasta can be a side dish or a separate dish if there is nothing else in the fridge.
Strange as it may sound, this is the perfect dish for a romantic date. The garlic, due to the heat treatment and the addition of the orange, completely loses the unpleasant smell, and instead hints at kissing.
Garlic chips add a special flavor to this dish. They make you want to eat another piece… and then another… and another. And so on until the whole plate is empty.
This is a variation of the classic Beef Wellington recipe, but we swap the meat for Tasmanian Atlantic salmon, mushrooms for garlic, add some capers and lemon juice and you get a dish that stirs emotions. If you remove the garlic from the recipe, it doesn’t come out that way at all.
Remember the trio that turns any dish into a culinary masterpiece – garlic, rosemary and lemon. They go well with other meats and with fish, but with chicken they work real magic.
Creamy soy milk soup with roasted garlic, fresh notes of lemon juice and bright flavors of herbs is the perfect light lunch or dinner on a hot summer day. Be sure to give it a try!
Baking homemade bread is easy, and if you add oven-roasted garlic to the dough at the very end when kneading, the flavor and aroma will be incredible.
Prepare more of it and don’t put it away, you’ll enjoy it very often. Garlic confit can be added to mashed potatoes and sauces, to pasta, or just dabbed on toasted toast.
Georgian cuisine without garlic is like cappuccino without foam. Almost all Caucasian recipes call for generous dressing of appetizers, soups and main courses with garlic. We suggest you start your acquaintance with 50 flavors of garlic in Georgian cuisine with kharcho – flavorful, hearty and very tasty soup.
This combination seems very strange, but just make this salad – you will see that it is incredibly delicious.
There is a lot of garlic in this dish, but as it cooks, the flavor becomes mild and delicate, don’t be afraid of being overly spicy.
A great summer snack for the holiday table. Garlic gives it not only a spicy spice, but also an incredible flavor.