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The all-encompassing bulb with the unmistakable aroma
Whether for its subtle accent or powerful fragrance, the pleasant sharpness of garlic complements almost every dish and evokes memories of a holiday in the Mediterranean.
Garlic is indispensable in any kitchen. A small dose of it gives soups, stews, meats, potato wedges or pasta sauces a fine seasoning and slight pungency. Using more than just a pinch brings its flavour more to the forefront, inspiring ecstasy from its fans while everyone else in the vicinity turns up their noses. Because of garlic’s characteristic aroma, some people are put off by smelling it on someone’s breath. But the best antidote for this is to nibble on a few cloves of garlic yourself! Or having your dinner partner drink some milk or chew on a bit of parsley can freshen the breath a little and helps neutralise the garlic taste.
|Calories||136 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||24.5 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fibre, 0.5 g fat, 7 g protein per 100 g|
|Storage||Keep dry bulbs in a cool, well-ventilated space, protected from light|
|Shelf life||several weeks to months when dry|
Garlic is believed to originate from central Asia but meanwhile it can be found worldwide. China is the largest producer; Europe’s leading producers are Spain, France, and Italy. At our latitude, it is in season between June and September. Because dry garlic bulbs have a long shelf life, they are available all year round. However, fresh bulbs from the market should be consumed within about two weeks or alternatively, they can be hung up for drying.
Before you can use garlic to season your dishes, you have to prepare it by removing the outer skin. A bulb consists of the main tuber, around which many cloves are stacked and depending on the size and variety, this can include five to 20 cloves. The individual cloves are protected by a fine skin. There’s a quick and easy trick to removing the skin: simply crush a clove with the flat side of a knife, a cup, or even your fist, and the skin comes off easily.
Subsequently, you can add whole garlic cloves to a casserole dish, cut them into thin slices or finely chop them. To achieve consistent distribution in a sauce, pressed or minced garlic works best. For an intense flavour, you can also crush a garlic clove with the broadside of a knife and add some coarse salt to it.
If you’re looking for a pure garlic taste and don’t feel like peeling it, try this: cut a whole bulb in half and put the two halves in the oven, drizzled with olive oil, and roast them inside their skins. Afterwards, the cloves of garlic slide easily out of their skins and are wonderfully soft and aromatically intense. Serve the roasted cloves as a side dish with, for example, grilled dishes. Or spread the softened garlic on toasted bread.
Garlic can be processed in a variety of ways. It goes well with hearty food and is also a permanent fixture in Asian cuisine. Garlic also tastes great raw in dips or dressings. When sautéing, be sure not to let it get too dark, because then it can quickly taste bitter. In stir fry it’s better to add it to the pan a bit later.
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