First to let you know about the wonderful little clove that makes vampires and boyfriends run away!
I love garlic, I use it in almost every savory recipe that I prepare. I had noticed that several of my "apprentice home chefs" really don't have a good idea about garlic. They shun if for the breath it causes, and many of them avoid it all together. I believe that the more you know about the garlic, the more apt you are to use this wonderfully edible bulb!
So hope you learn something about garlic in this "ible" and that you join me in consuming what is truly a medicinal food!
Things you might want to know.....
*Garlic is available year around. but is freshest in in spring and summer.
*Commercially available garlic comes in almost every possible form: whole cloves with the skin on (my preferred variety), whole whole peeled cloves, minced or diced in a jar, powder, granular and even a pill!
*Fresh garlic has the most medicinal qualities of all the varieties. It also taste different than the dried forms. You might actually want to use a powdered form in certain recipes just for the taste.
*Garlic has been heralded for its multitude of healing properties for over 5,000 years. It has been used as a diaphoretic (make you sweat), diuretic (make you pee), choloagogue (liver cleanser), expectorant (clear mucous form the respiratory tract), stimulant (increasing bile motility), antibacterial (germ fighter), anti-fungal (works against fungi, such as athletes foot and others). alterative (restoring good health), anti-spasmodic (calming the stomach and intestines), vulnerary (such as garlic paste on wounds) vermifuge (to clear out intestinal worms) and even a type of penicillin!
Modern medicine mainly looks at garlics benefits to the heart and blood vessels. It helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and increases blood flow through the body.
This is only the tip of a very large iceberg, and I include it because I truly believe that basic kitchen skills should include basic knowledge of ingredients.
Step 1: How much garlic are you going to need to prepare...
Now that you know you are going to be eating garlic (at least I am hoping you will be), you need to know how much you will need for whatever the recipe calls for.
1 Garlic bulb = 10 to 15 cloves (these can vary i size tremendously, which is why I don't like recipes that call for a certain number of cloves. It is better to go by the amount which will be used.
1 small garlic clove = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/4 teaspoon garlic juice = 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt.
1 extra large garlic clove should yield about 1 Tablespoon mined garlic.
Just a side note: unbroken garlic bulbs can be stored for up to 3 or 4 months when kept in a cool dry place. A pantry is better for storing than a refrigerator. Keep them away from the stove and the sink as heat and dampness are the enemy!
A peeled clove can be kept in the refrigerator up to 10 days safely.
If your cloves happen to sprout while in storage, consider yourself lucky! They are still edible, or they can be planted even. Those mild flavored sprouts are also edible and great on salads!