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How to Buy, Store & Prepare Garlic for Cooking

There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic. - Louis Diat

A member of the onion family, garlic's pungent flavor and aroma is an essential ingredient in Szechuan and northern-style cooking . When buying, look for plump, round heads that are free from sprouts. Once peeled, the cloves can be minced, chopped, crushed under the flat of a knife. The more finely the garlic is chopped or smashed, the stronger its flavor. Garlic can be found in powder, chopped, and paste form. While these preparations are practical, it is best to use fresh garlic for maximum flavor. Garlic should be stored in a dry and cool place and not refrigerated

Cutting Garlic

1) To break up the cloves, grasp the bulb with a kitchen towel and place it against the work surface. With the root end facing your palm, mash it down and away against the work surface.

2) To peel the garlic, place your knife flat on the garlic clove and push down or hit with the palm of you hand . The skin will burst open and the clove can be easily removed

3) Chop the clove from left to right and then from top to bottom with a rocking motion and add a pinch of salt to provide extra abrasion. To make the garlic into paste form, rub the chopped garlic with the flat side of the knife held flat to the work surface.

Tips : Rub your fingers thoroughly with the bottom of a stainless steel spoon under running water after chopping raw garlic or after a marinating process. Then wash your hands with soap. The metal removes the garlic odor just like magic!  

A head or bulb of garlic usually contains about 10 cloves. 1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

When mincing garlic, sprinkle on a little salt so the pieces won't stick to your knife or cutting board. 


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Last Modified: 11/28/11.