Garlic is such an essential ingredient nowadays that we almost never leave out of our cooking. There is times in my kitchen when I find I have too much garlic. Though this may not seem as a problem, it can be, if you aren’t careful about how you use and when you use it.
With some vegetables it is fairly easy to know when they are not meant to be used anymore, either they look old and wrinkled or they start losing their juice and dehydrate quickly. However, most of us wonder how to tell if garlic is bad?
I believe that it is important to know when to use ingredients and when to discard them. Today, I will explore garlic, how to use it and when not to.
How to Tell If Garlic is Bad?
When you are using garlic bulbs, you can tell they aren’t good to use by the time that the cloves have changed from white to yellow or tan color. Really rotten garlic will be brown, mushy and will smell bad. You may also notice a sprout beginning to grow at the tip of the garlic cloves.
If you buy garlic bulbs, you shouldn’t store them in the refrigerator. Instead, store them at room temperature. Do so in an open container in a place where it’s not too hot. Fresh garlic will last around 3 to 6 months when stored this way.
Keep in mind that if you’re storing only the cloves, then they will last around 1-2 months if stored at room temperature as well. When you mince or cut your garlic, store it in the refrigerator. Use an airtight container and consume within 7 days. Buying pre-packaged minced garlic is different, this one will likely last 2 to 3 months in your refrigerator.
Another way to store and preserve garlic is by using a paper bag, an empty egg carton box, or a mesh bag. Always let air in no matter how you store your garlic.
How to Use Garlic
While this may seem intuitive and even mechanic for most of us, there are many ways in which to use garlic.
Here’s how you should normally use garlic:
- Separate a clove from the bulb.
- If there is a brown part on top of your clove, cut it out and throw it away. Peel off the thin layers on top of the clove, and discard them.
- Place the clove on a cutting board or a hard surface, lay on its side so it is steady. Now place the flat side of your cutting knife on top of the clove and push until you hear a crunch sound.
- Once your clove is entirely mashed and has no skin, you can either chop it up or mince it thoroughly.
You can watchs how to mince and chop garlic, there is more than one way and there’s even tools–such as garlic press–that will do most of the job for you.
What to Do and What Not to Do With Garlic
- Roast garlic: this is probably one of the best ways to eat garlic, as it reduces its pungent flavor and instead releases the sugars in it. You can roast as part of a meal, or you can roast a whole bulb.
To do this, slice off the head of the garlic, and put olive oil in it. Season it with salt and pepper, and any other spices you like. Cover it with foil and bake it for around 30 minutes at 350°F.
When the roasted garlic is done, you can squeeze the bulb, and the roasted cloves will simply fall out.
- Eat it raw: you can definitely eat raw garlic, though many times people tend to think its flavor will be overpowering. However, if you add some acidity to it, such as lime or salsa, as well as seasoning, the raw garlic can be quite pleasant and blend in well.
- Burn garlic: when garlic tastes bitter and very unpleasant is when you’ll know you have burnt it. Add the garlic cloves at the end of the cooking process if you’re cooking in a pan. If you are grilling, think about adding whole garlic to the grill right before you finish cooking, otherwise, it will burn fast.
And it goes without saying, watch out for overusing your garlic, as it can definitely obscure other flavors in certain dishes.
Recipes That Use Garlic
Nowadays, garlic is almost everywhere, but there are specific recipes that will always seem better when accompanied by this special ingredient. These are two of my all-time favorite for a good dinner party or as appetizers.
A classic that everyone should know how to prepare, especially if you’re having an Italian meal.
- ½ cup butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 loaf Italian bread, cut into slices
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
- Preheat your oven to 350° While it heats, melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan and add garlic and parsley.
- Place Italian bread on a baking sheet. Using a brush, apply the butter mixture onto the bread slices.
- Bake in oven for 10 minutes, until it is roasted. Take out and add mozzarella, as well as any more butter left. Return to the oven for about 5 more minutes until cheese is melted.
- 2 cans of chickpeas
- 4 crushed garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook chickpeas with garlic and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat until the garlic turns golden and the chickpeas begin to blister. It will take around 5-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Bring In Some Garlic!
We started off by letting you know how to tell if garlic is bad, which is usually fairly simple, just make sure you don’t see any rotten parts, any mushy areas or too yellow of a color. Otherwise, your garlic is probably good to go.
I personally love adding garlic to most things, I even add it to my skillet with olive oil to prepare most dishes, but it is a personal decision. Try using garlic next time you cook and let me know how it went. Also, tell me if you have used garlic that seemed bad and how did you rescue it?