Garlic has been used in dishes since ancient times and deemed even in the modern era as one of the most indispensable ingredient around, and plays a central role in cookery and meal prepping.
Garlic is mainly available dried, but fresh garlic also known as wet or green garlic, which has a mild flavour, can also be found in some stores in season. Garlic is a bulb that has many individual cloves wrapped in a thin white, mauve or purple skin. It’s quite fiery, pungent and crunchy when raw and becomes more mellow and creamy as it cooks.
The benefits of this tiny little ingredient aside from the flavor it exudes is remarkable. And truly, its presence in most of the dishes and meals that are prepared comes not as a surprise.
- Helps cleanse your system and flush out toxins.
- Provide relief from cold and flu.
- Regulates blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Anti-bacterial and Anti-parasitic
- Prevents stomach and colorectal cancers
- Prevents and even reverses hair loss
How to Select
- Look for garlic sold loose, so you can choose a healthy, solid bulb.
- Garlic bulbs should be plump and compact with taut, unbroken skin.
- Avoid those with damp or soft spots.
- A heavy, firm bulb indicates that the garlic will be fresh and flavorful.
- If the bulb feels light, or gives under your fingers, the contents may have dried to dust.
- Check out the clove formation. A bulb of garlic may contain eight cloves, or as many as 40.
How to Store
- Dry homegrown garlic bulbs before storing.
- Store garlic at room temperature.
- Refrigerating garlic is a bad idea as it causes the bulb to deteriorate. Refrigerating garlic bulbs adds moisture and can cause the bulb to grow moldy.
- If you have chopped or minced fresh garlic, you can store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container for a short period, but use it as soon as possible.
- Freezing is not recommended, because it changes the consistency and flavor of the garlic.
- Keep garlic in a location with good air circulation.
- Do not store fresh garlic bulbs in plastic bags or sealed containers. This can cause mold and sprouting.
- Store fresh garlic bulbs in a dark, dry spot. Your kitchen cupboard or a shady corner of your kitchen counter top is perfect for this.
- Keep your garlic away from sunlight and moisture to avoid sprouting.
Tips Preparing Garlic
- To easily peel garlic, slice off each end of a clove.
- Then, turn your broad chef’s knife sideways so the flat side is parallel to your cutting board and the sharp edge is facing away from you.
- Place your knife this way on top of the clove and give the blade a quick pop with the heel of your hand to lightly crush the garlic clove (you don’t want to mash it). The papery skins then rub off easily.
- If you’re going to peel many garlic cloves at once, drop them into boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Then plunge them into cold water. The skins will slide right off between your thumb and forefinger.
- 3 cups (450 g) grape tomatoes, halved
- 10 ounces (283 g) whole wheat pasta (such as penne, linguini or fettuccine | Use less if you want a higher sauce:pasta ratio)
- Olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, diced (~1/4 cup or 40 g)
- 8 large cloves garlic, minced/grated (1/4 cup or 24 g)
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 3-4 Tbsp (25-33 g) unbleached all purpose flour (or another thickener of choice)*
- 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) unsweetened plain Almond Breeze (sub up to 1 cup with veggie stock, if preferred)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and toss tomatoes in a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Place cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish. Then set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain, cover and set aside.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and the garlic and shallot. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir frequently, cooking for 3-4 minutes until softened and fragrant.
- Stir in 3-4 Tbsp flour (or other thickener of choice – see notes) and mix with a whisk. Once combined, slowly whisk in the almond milk a little at a time so clumps don’t form. Add another healthy pinch of salt and black pepper, bring to a simmer and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. (Optional: You can also add a few shakes of vegan parmesan for extra flavor at this time if you wish.)
- If you want an ultra creamy sauce, transfer sauce to a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend the sauce until creamy and smooth. Place back in pan and reduce heat to a low simmer until desired thickness is reached.
- Once the sauce is to your desired thickness, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then add pasta and roasted tomatoes and stir.
- Serve immediately and garnish with extra black pepper, fresh basil and/or vegan parmesan cheese.
- 5 lbs tomatoes
- 1 head of garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, divided
- 900 mL container vegetable broth (about 4 cups.)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line with parchment paper or silicone mat for easy clean up.
- Roughly chop your tomatoes and place onto a baking sheet. Chop your onions, and peppers into pieces that are a bit smaller than your tomatoes. Combine with tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, red chili flakes and just enough oil to coat the veggies.
- Take your head of garlic and remove some of the papery parts. Slice the top off the garlic, exposing all the cloves (not too deep, just enough to expose the garlic.) Coat with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place onto aluminum foil and wrap securely.
- Place your baking sheet into the oven, and place the wrapped garlic directly beside the pan on the racks. Bake for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly caramelized (you may want to check on your garlic around the 35 minute mark.)
- Allow garlic to cool slightly. Move the veggies to a large stock pot and squeeze the garlic into the pot. Pour in the broth and 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (you can leave them whole as we are removing them later.) Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove basil and transfer the soup in batches to a blender and puree until smooth (BE VERY CAREFUL. I always seem to add too much soup and make a big mess!) In the last bit of soup, puree the remaining basil with the soup. Return to the pan and season accordingly.
- Serve with your favourite sandwich or on its own! Parmesan cheese was a nice addition!
- Head of cauliflower
- 1 Tablespoon Light Butter
- 1 Tablespoon Light Sour Cream
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
- Clean cauliflower and cut the center bottom to remove the stem and leaf parts.
- Dice cauliflower into chunks and put into a large pot. Fill pot with water to cover the cauliflower.
- Top with fresh cracked salt and pepper.
- Cover pot with lid and boil cauliflower for about 25 minutes until tender.
- Drain in a colander.
- Add cauliflower, light butter, light sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper to a food processor.
- Mix until all ingredients are combined and cauliflower is a creamy texture.
- Top with Parmesan cheese.