Garlic: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Erin Coopey By Erin Coopey 10.13.10
Garlic: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I realize that sometimes it’s easier to grab the granulated garlic shaker than to peel and chop a clove of fresh garlic but trust me the fresh garlic flavor and versatility make it worth the effort.

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Always try to purchase garlic from the bulk bin versus bagged garlic. This helps to ensure that the garlic you buy is fresh. You can sort out the best garlic by following these hints. Always choose a large head of garlic with tightly packed cloves and white papery skin. Avoid garlic with loose cloves and damaged or discolored skin.


If you happen to purchase a head of garlic that has begun to sprout simply break the gloves apart and plant the in your garlic or window box. In a few weeks, you’ll have garlic chives to snip.


Did you know that the finer you chop garlic, the stronger the flavor becomes? The oil in the garlic is released when you chop it, which gives the strong garlic aroma. A whole clove of garlic will impart milder flavor, while minced garlic will be more pungent.


Peeling garlic can be a hassle. If you are preparing a recipe that calls for whole garlic cloves like 40 Clove Garlic Chicken, try using a garlic peeler to remove the skin. If you don’t have a garlic peeler, separate the cloves and place them in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over the cloves and allow to sit for 1 minutes. Drain the boiling water and then cover the cloves with cool water. When the cloves are cool, peel away the papery skin and use as desired.


I love the flavor of roasted garlic. Roasting mellows the sharp, pungent flavor and leaves you with creamy, aromatic goodness. It’s wonderful in mashed potatoes, with roasted chicken, and in savory custards. It also makes a to-die-for accompaniment to cheeses and crackers. Try smearing it on crusty slice of French bread topped with goat cheese or cream cheese. Yum!


Roasted Garlic

  • Whole Fresh Heads of Garlic
  • Olive Oil


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut off the top third (the stem end) of the head of garlic to expose the cloves. Leave the head in tact and attached by the root. Peel away any loose papery skin on the outside of the head. Place the heads of garlic in a ceramic container. Pour olive oil over the garlic until there is about 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom of the container. Cover the container with aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour until the garlic is soft and lightly browned.


Carefully remove the softened garlic from the oil. The cloves should release the creamy garlic with a gentle squeeze.


You can also use the garlic-infused oil to make Caesar salad dressing, to sauté chicken or fish, or brush vegetables for grilling. Store the oil in the refrigerator for up to one week.


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  • yamagirl By yamagirl

    Great tips. I add garlic to a lot of things

  • stephainenz By stephainenz

    i love garlic makes my food more tasteful!

  • Trynewthings By Trynewthings

    Thanks for the helpful tips.

  • musicmomma By musicmomma

    We love garlic in our house! My kids have had it since toddlers and have grown to love the taste of it too! YUM!

  • ChefErin By ChefErin

    Leopat1010 & Stacy46 - I remember my grandparents eating garlic cloves and taking garlic capsules for their health too! ~ Chef Erin

  • Gin257 By Gin257

    Sounds great!

  • stacy46 By stacy46

    I love garlic use it all the time. As a child we would dig up our grandmothers garlic garden and eat it whole.

  • PaulaP15 By PaulaP15

    Thanks for the information. I use garlic regularly in my cooking. Garlic & fresh herbs make all the difference of a good meal and a great meal!!

  • momagarry By momagarry

    Thank you for the great information!

  • leopat1010 By leopat1010

    Back in the 1930's my father was in the Portuguese army and since Portugal didn't have much money to spare to feed their troops healthy meals so every morning the men were given 1 clove of garlic to eat as preventive medicine. My father used to tell me that no one hardly ever had a cold and the reason was the garlic so, not only does it taste good it's healthy for you!

  • jessiec228 By jessiec228

    I love roasted garlic as a marinade on chicken with lots of fresh herbs.

  • rinaincali By rinaincali

    I adore garlic and roast it to use in several recipes throughout the week. Yummy!

  • ChefErin By ChefErin

    thebutlerdidit - I have tried the Garlic Twist and don't care for it. It's difficult to twist initially. I just use a sharp chefs knife (one that has a slightly curved blade). Have you ever watched a chef dice something? They use that blade to rock back and forth to mince and chop. I don't seem to have a problem with sticking that way. I use the knife blade to move the garlic into a pile as I chop and the only time I touch the garlic is to brush it of the edge of the blade. I suppose you could also use a mini prep food processor or perhaps a "Slap Chop." Does anyone have experience to share about either of those? ~ Chef Erin

  • trisonik By trisonik

    I love Garlic. I make Garlic bread, and roasted garlic at least once a week

  • thebutlerdidit By thebutlerdidit

    Erin, do you have any hints for chopping or mincing garlic? I don't like how garlic seems to stick to my fingers when I'm working with it. I've had my eye on a Garlic Twist - do you have any experience with this gadget?

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