Can You Use Garlic Fresh From the Garden?

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Garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of the onion family and has been around for thousands of years, used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Although the white bulb, which matures underground, is the most desirable part of the garlic plant, even the leaves and the solid round stem are edible. Fresh garlic straight from the garden is highly desirable in soups, salads, meat preparation and condiments.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh garlic
  • Peel the papery skin from each garlic bulb before carefully mincing the garlic into tiny pieces; add a teaspoon or more into simmering soups and stews. Garlic pairs naturally with soups calling for onions or tomatoes. Chicken soups benefit from small amounts of garlic, especially during cold and flu season.

  • Sauté minced, chopped or whole garlic cloves for use in Asian dishes. China is the largest exporter of garlic and many Chinese dishes combine garlic in a traditional sauce with stir-fried chunks of meat and vegetables. Sauté the garlic by putting a tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok or skillet and stirring the mixture over medium heat until the garlic bits turn white and sizzle.

  • Try using a garlic press to make mincing easy. If you have trouble holding onto those small little cloves while chopping, a garlic press will make quick work of the job and save your fingers. Choose a press that closes tightly in order to eject all of the minced bulb. (See "Resources.")

  • Separate the individual cloves from the garlic bulb and leave them in their skins. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and line a pan with aluminum foil. Spread the garlic cloves on the foil and bake for one hour. After the cloves cool down, cut the tip off the papery skin and squeeze the soft clove substance out to use in meat sauces, salad dressings and gravy.

  • Slice or dice fresh peeled garlic cloves into tomato sauces used in the preparation of Italian dishes. Another cultural favorite, Italian cuisine often includes garlic. While you can sauté the garlic bits, you may also add them directly to the simmering sauces. In addition, Italian methods of preparing garlic include adding diced bulbs directly to rustic bread recipes, incorporating the garlic into the dough before the first proofing period.

  • Juice your peeled garlic bulbs if you have an abundant crop and you’re looking for some creative ways to use garlic. A commercial juicer is required, and make sure you wash the juicer’s components just before use because even a tiny bit of oxidation in the juicer will turn your garlic juice brown. Store in a tightly sealed bottle in the refrigerator for up to two months.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have an after-dinner mint if you’re worried about garlic breath. Consuming a little bit of sugar combats the odor of garlic.
  • Photo Credit Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng
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