cloves of garlic on a table

How to Cook Garlic

Garlic has one of the most desirable flavor profiles, given its ability to be used in so many recipes from different cultures. Garlic also has a strong and amazingly powerful flavor! Not only is it packed with antioxidants, but it is also versatile. From the onion genus, garlic is part of the shallot, leek, chive and Chinese onion family. It is undoubtedly an ingredient you have used many times before, but did you know there are proper methods when it comes to knowing how to cook garlic?

Here is an interesting pro tip to help extract the most antioxidants from garlic: if your recipe calls for garlic, dice, slice or chop it at the beginning of your prep and let it sit for about 10 minutes before cooking it or adding it to your recipe. Letting it sit like this preserves the nutritional integrity of the antioxidant called allicin. Cooking it right after cutting it decreases the antioxidant benefit. So, remember to always prep your garlic first!

How Many Cloves in a Head of Garlic?

The size and variety of a head of garlic depends on how many cloves are in it; usually about 10 to 12 large cloves are in a head of garlic. Cooking garlic is easy when you get past the papery skin. Once the papery skin is removed, the cloves can be easily separated from the bulb. Instead of buying special tools that separate the skins from the cloves, simply rub them between the palms of your hands and the skins will slip right off!

Another easy way to remove the skin from garlic cloves is to gently smash them with the side of a chef knife. Place the garlic clove on a cutting board, then place the flat side of a chef knife on top of the clove. Gently pressing down, smash the garlic; the skins should easily come off. Look for heads of garlic that are heavy, full and intact, and be sure to avoid heads that are damp, bruised or moldy looking!
One of the most popular ways to cook garlic is to roast it. Roasting garlic mellows the flavor and makes it easier to add to sauces, soups, dressings and dips.

How to Roast Garlic

Roasted garlic cloves can be used in so many amazing ways! Lots of recipes call for roasted garlic because the process of roasting makes the cloves soft and the flavor mild. All you have to do is remove most of the papery skin, so the bulb with the cloves is still intact. Then, slice off the top of the entire bulb, revealing the tops of the cloves.

On a square of aluminum foil, place the bulb in the center and drizzle the top with olive oil. Cover up the entire head of garlic and bake in an oven preheated to 425F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cloves are golden-brown and soft. After that, all you need to do is squeeze the cloves out of the head! Mash the garlic and then mix it into a dressing or sauce, or simply spread it on a crusty baguette — all the garlic flavor without the sharp garlic bite.

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How to Sauté Garlic

Sautéing garlic is the most common form of cooking with garlic. Remove the skins and dice, slice or chop in your preferred manner. Allow the garlic to sit up to 10 minutes to ensure it retains its healthful benefits. Sauté it in butter or oil over medium heat until browned and fragrant, being careful not to overcook. Garlic cooks quickly and will easily burn, making the garlic taste bitter. If you are cooking garlic with other ingredients, toss it in the pan towards the end so it does not overcook. Sauté sliced mushrooms and sliced onions in butter and add a couple of cloves of diced garlic for a quick and easy topping for steaks, chicken or chops!

How to Deep Fry Garlic

Deep frying garlic means you can save it in the fridge and use it whenever you need it. If you will be making large batches of marinara, lasagna or any other dish that requires a lot of garlic, you can make it in advance with this super easy technique!

Peel garlic in the method of your choice. You can slice off the stem ends if you like, but this is not necessary. Place the cloves in a small saucepan and cover with about 1 1/2 cups of olive oil or canola oil. Make sure the cloves are fully covered with the oil. Let the oil come to a simmer on low heat, until it starts to bubble. Do not let the oil boil. If it does, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Simmer the garlic for about 30 minutes or until the garlic cloves are golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and drain it on a paper towel. You’ll know the cloves are ready if you can easily smash them with the back of a spoon. The cooked garlic cloves will keep for about a week in the refrigerator (in an airtight container).

You can also save the garlic-infused oil in the fridge for another time when you will be deep frying garlic. It should last about a year in a well-sealed container.

There you have it how — to cook garlic made simple and delicious!