Bring on the vampires!
Garlic- not just for warding off vampires (does that even work?). Garlic is a plant of the onion family whose bulb is used to flavor dishes around the world. Not only is the flavor enjoyed by many, there are health benefits associated with it. The strong flavor creates a warming sensation, it acts as a stimulant and increases matabolism, purifies the digestive system, helps the body eliminate toxins.
I’ve always been taught that the proper way to peel the papery skin from garlic is to lay it on a hard surface such as a cutting board and using the flat side of a knife, press firmly to crush. Effective, but still messy. I’ve found another way that works better for me. Using a paring knife, nip each end off the clove and then using the knife tip, flick off the skin. Less messy and easier for me. But as with everything, use whatever works best for you.
Garlic can be used in different ways, depending on the recipe. I never recommend using dried or powdered garlic, as it contains preservatives and isn’t nearly as tasty. Garlic cloves can be roasted whole for a sweet, nutty flavor. It can be chopped, diced, mashed, pounded, or slice. The smaller the pieces you chop it into, the stronger the flavor. Garlic flavor is enhanced when it mixes with oxygen, so the more oxygen the surface is exposed to, the stronger the flavor.
Garlic can be grown at home by seperating the cloves and planting in pots or the ground. One clove will grow into one bulb later. When buying garlic, look for plump, firm bulbs. Store at home in a cool, dry place.
Using fresh garlic in recipes is ideal, but can be timing consuming and smelly. My personal hint: When you have a little extra time, peel a quantity of garlic and chop it up. A mini-chopper or food processor is great for this. Then put your chopped garlic in a small jar (think baby food jar), covering it in a light salad oil, and store it in the refridgerator for use later. Yes, I know you can buy jars of already chopped garlic. But those contain preservatives, and may have been sitting on the grocery shelves for months.