Here at O’Live A Little we LOVE garlic!!! So, in a salute to this most flavorful of ingredients, we are dedicating April to everything Garlic!
In fact, the most popular flavor of Olive Oil we carry is garlic, and even though it is wonderful to drizzle on just about anything…. Nothing takes the place of using garlic right from the bulb.
Check out olivalittle.com, where we have selected some great recipes.
And now we will impart a bit of Garlic 101 to all of you in hopes that you will take away a great tip or 2 and also find a new favorite recipe…
Preparing garlic the right way makes all the difference!
Depending on how it’s prepared (evenbefore cooking), will affect the flavor.
• Sliced - Slicing garlic is a good way toget “the essence of garlic,” without itbeing overwhelming. Slice it the long way on a mandoline and store it in olive oil (just for a day) if you are preparing ahead of time.
- When cooking, sweat them oververy low heat “to bring out the perfume in it.”
- Keep in mind that with this preparation, you typically don’t want garlic to get browned; When you start to smell the garlic, that’s when to add the other ingredientso
- Burned garlic is acrid and can ruin a whole dish.
• Minced - Chopped or minced garlic will provide the most classic garlic profile when you’relooking for pungent. Mince when you want garlic to coat the other ingredients
- When mincing, keep in mind that you don’t want to overwork the cloves. To do by handuse the mandoline, then julienne it—cut it finely—into a mince.
- “We’re not chopping the you know what out of it.” Don’t smash it on the cutting board and start randomly chopping. It will release to much of the oils and you will get random size pieces of garlic that will cook (and probably burn) unevenly. Try using very low heat—maybe even with the burner off—when cooking minced garlic.
• Roasted Garlic – It’s so easy. Roasted garlic lasts in the fridge and can be used with a variety of foods. Cut of the top of the head of garlic, add extra virgin olive oil, turn upside down, bake till soft so the cloves become golden brown and very plush. Flavor wise, this will be“deeper, darker, more intense than confit.” The roasted garlic is delicious just aboutanywhere you can dream up... If it last that long because it’s hard not to just take bread andslather it on and eat it all!
Tips & Fun Facts About Garlic:1. Eating garlic dates back at least as far as early Egypt when it was used to feed the workers building the Pyramids so they could maintain their strength and endurance.
2. The Native American word for garlic, “Checagou”, ishow Chicago got its name. Wild garlic grows plentifully in the city.
3. Today, there are two main types of garlic: Hard neck and soft neck.
- Most garlic sold in grocery stores is the “soft neck” variety and is imported from China because it has a longer shelf life.
- The most popular garlic grown in CT is “German White” and is a “hard neck”, which doesn’t have as long a shelf life but is much more flavorful.
- Most American crops of garlic are “hard neck” varieties grown in California.
5. Garlic must be planted annually:
- Plant in the Fall, about six weeks prior to the ground freezing.
- Harvest in late July and August when the bottom of the plant has turned brown and the leaves are still green.
7. Garlic not only adds flavor to your food, it’s also noted to have many health benefits such as improved immunity and allergy relief. The best health benefits come from freshly minced garlic.
Learn more here.
11. Do your fingers smell from peeling garlic? Put your hands under running water while touching a stainless steel object.
If you’ve never tried garlic, go get some and then try one of the recipes we shared and see what you think. You can also experiment by using it to create marinades for meats and dipping oils for breads by sautéing a few cloves in your favorite olive oil.
Our Garlic Story
About 13 years ago, my husband Matt and I were in New Orleans, walking around the French Quarter, doing the typical things tourist do, like drinking coffee and eating beignets from Café Du Monde... There happened to be a farmer’s market and we couldn’t resist looking around even though we knew that since we were not flying home for a number of days, we definitely were not going to buy any fresh produce.
However, what we did find, and buy, was fresh garlic and boy when we finally got home and used it we were amazed at how good it was!!!! We shared some of that garlic with my parents, who have had a huge garden for as long as I can remember. My Dad was so intrigued by the fresh garlic that it motivated him to plant garlic in his own garden. So, for at least 10 years my dad and for the past 3 years, my husband, have both been planting a crop of their own.
Freshly harvested garlic.
Garlic ready for hanging.
Garlic hanging while awaiting use.