There are two main types of garlic—hardneck with fewer large cloves, and softneck with numerous small cloves. Most small farmers tend to grow hardneck garlic for its superior flavor. Common varieties include Porcelain, Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, Rocambole and German White. Softneck garlic, commonly found in supermarkets is planted mechanically. Artichoke, silverskin and creole are the most common varieties.
What to Look For
Choose firm, dry bulbs with tightly closed cloves and smooth papery skin. Avoid garlic that feels soft or has green sprouts, signs that it is old.
Easy Storage & Preparation
Store garlic in a cool, dry place. Don’t keep it in the fridge where the humidity is high. Whole bulbs will last a couple of months and individual cloves will keep for about a week after they’ve been separated from the bulb. Take care not to brown or burn garlic when you are cooking, because it makes it taste bitter. Whole
cloves are less robust flavor-wise; when you chop, puree or crush garlic you release more of its essential oils, which give garlic its punch.
Use whole, sliced, minced or pressed garlic cloves to season an array of dishes from salads to seafood. Garlic can be eaten raw or cooked. Roasting garlic mellows its flavor, making it mild enough to spread on bread instead of butter. To roast, drizzle the bulb with olive oil, wrap in foil and cook (in the oven or on a grill) until the cloves are golden and tender.
Good Paired With
- Olive Oil