Pre-peeled versus fresh garlic? Answered
In what dishes can you tell the difference between pre-peeled and fresh garlic. How about Chinese versus Californian pre-peeled garlic?
If you can tell the difference, how can you be sure?
I love garlic, and use a lot of it. I'll toss a handful of chopped cloves into almost any savory dish that involves a sauteing step. Using so much and being pressed for time, I primarily buy Californian pre-peeled garlic, and chop it right before I use it. I'm curious if you judge pre-peeled garlic to be less flavorful, and if so, can that flavor be returned by an increase in total garlic or if there are fleeting compounds that escape as soon as the garlic is peeled.
Another thing I've noticed is that I need to be careful when I make dishes where I food-process the garlic to mince it. I've ruined a curry or two by using food-processed fresh turmeric, fresh peppers, and pre-peeled garlic that smelled fine but had probably spent a week in the fridge. In the finished dish, the garlic contributed a pretty nasty "raw vegetal" taste. Similarly, Christy once food-processed and sauteed some onions and older pre-peeled garlic only to have the whole mixture turn blue and taste horrible.
The discoloration is due to pigments that form between sulfur compounds in garlic and amino acids. When the garlic tissue is disrupted, as happens in processing, an enzyme is liberated and reacts with it to form thiosulfinates compounds that then react with the natural amino acids in the garlic to form blue pigments. The age of garlic determines how much isoalliin there is in the first place, and the nature of the processing determines how much enzyme is liberated.
The blue color apparently shouldn't harm the taste, so it would be neat to develop a dish that naturally turned blue using this reaction while still tasting great.