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Old 02-03-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
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How to use fresh Garlic?

Hi guys! First question. I see allot of people cooking with fresh garlic. I have never done this. Brought some fresh at Walmart, 2.88 @ lb.
I got what I would call 8 or 10 bulbs of garlic. Is this what you call it, a
bulb of garlic? And this bulb consist of about a dozen or so cloves when
you split it apart? I see allot of recipes calling for 1,2, or 3 cloves of garlic? They call for crushed, minced, or whole? Is fresh garlic a real
strong spice? I am doing a whole chicken in a crock pot. I used what I call a
whole bulb, 10 or 12 cloves I guess. I peeled the cloves, I guess your
suppost to do that? What is the best way to do that? I put 4 or 5 whole cloves inside chicken. Smashed/crushed the other 6 or 8 cloves and put them in the bottom of crock pot. Do you guys think this is way to much garlic? I'm I using it right, I guess is my question? How do you mince, crush, peel, roast, etc.....Sorry this is dumb, but have to ask to learn.
Thanks in advance for all your help! Dave

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Old 02-03-2009, 01:25 PM   #2
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The bulb is the whole thing; each individual piece is called a clove (not to be confused with the spice called cloves). Usually there are about a dozen good, fat cloves on a bulb. (Before we were married and still in college, my now-wife was reading the instructions to me as I prepared Swiss steak. Not knowing the difference, she said the recipe said to put in 6 cloves, so I did. It actually said six cloves of garlic. Really weird Swiss steak.)

Just pull off the number of cloves you need at one time and store the rest of the bulb in a dry place. It should keep a couple of weeks. Discard when it sprouts or the cloves start to shrivel.

RAW garlic is very strongly flavored, but it's less intense when cooked. The amount needed in a recipe varies. Strong sauces, such as spaghetti sauce, need maybe 4 cloves, milder sauces use less to avoid overwhelming the other flavors. Better to use too little than too much -- until you become a garlic nut, in which case you can never have too much.

For a chicken in a pot, I'd probably use about 4 cloves. However, I have one really great classic recipe that calls for 40 cloves -- they get very mild as they roast with the chicken pieces.

In most sauces, it makes no difference whether the garlic is minced or crushed, and in stews you can throw in whole cloves and they'll mostly dissolve in an hour or two.

Easiest way to peel a clove is to put it on the cutting board, lay the side of a large knife on top of the clove, and whack the knife with your hand just hard enough to slightly crush the clove. The skin will then come right off, and you can easily chop it up. I usually slice the clove into several thin pieces, then use an up and down chopping motion to mince the slices. Pieces should be about the size of a grain of rice. Note that some recipes call for paper-thin slices of garlic, which are then sauteed until golden.

Or use a garlic press, if your hands are strong enough. No need to peel the cloves, just stick them in the press and squeeze, then toss the skin before doing another. The garlic is pushed right through the skin into your pot.

When cooking garlic in oil, be careful not to let it brown. It should never get more than slightly golden. Burned garlic can be very bitter.

HTH!
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:01 PM   #3
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I seriously didn't know there were people who didn't know what fresh garlic was, or how it looked like. Don't get me wrong please, I certainly don't mean to offend. I just didn't know such people existed, lol. Just wondering; have you never seen your mother cook with fresh garlic?
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:12 PM   #4
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Argamemnon,

are able to write a post without a slight insult to the poster? It seems to me that it happens quite often..

Yes, there was a time I didn't know about fresh garlic, 'cause my Mom never used it.

Mayor,
I think 10-12 cloves could be a bit too much... depends on how much garlic taste you like.. I wouldn't have any problem with that, but we use garlic a lot and in bigger amounts ,o)
To the taste:
Haven't you tried? That's something I do with all new things, just try it and you can judge the spice..
crushed garlic is much stronger in the smelling, 'cause there is more surface to interact with the O2 and so more Allicin is set free..
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:33 PM   #5
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I did not insult by any means. I have never insulted anyone here; quite the contrary actually (if you had actually paid attention).
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:58 PM   #6
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Hi, Mayor!

You are in the enviable position of getting to play with what is to you a whole new ingredient! Very cool!

Scotch gave you some very good advice. I recently learned another cool way to peel garlic w/o smashing it. Put the cloves--papery skins and all--in a Rubermaid or some other small, lidded container. Shake them really hard. The skins will come right off, and you don't crush the garlic at all. I didn't believe the chef who told me until he showed me!

Figure that the larger the pieces of garlic you have, the milder the dish will be. Putting a whole clove of garlic in a dish will yield a milder garlic flavor than taking that same clove and cutting it in pieces. The strongest flavor will come if you mince it very small or even smash it into a paste with some salt.

For mild, sweet garlic, try roasting whole bulbs of garlic: Cut off the top of the bulb, so all the cloves are exposed. Drizzle on a little olive oil, and wrap it up in a square of tin foil. Roast in the oven at abut 375 degrees until the cloves are very soft. You will be amazed at the differences in the flavor profile!

Play with your garlic, and just have fun in the kitchen :)
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:26 PM   #7
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You might want to freeze some of that garlic before it gets old and sprouts
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:33 PM   #8
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hi mayor! I love garlic, I love the taste and am encouraged by its health benefits as well. I even eat raw garlic (with certain asian dishes). I would recommend using just a few cloves of garlic to try out first (the taste could be strong and unpleasant to some people). Garlic goes well for vegetable stir-fry, slow-cooker dishes, crock-pot dishes.

~Saraaa
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:55 PM   #9
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I would suggest that you take a few cloves and then peel and super finely chop them. Mix them with oil or butter and rub them on the chicken (skin, inside the skin and all). You don't want to keep them in big chunks or else it will burn and burnt garlic is the worst thing you can eat (it's bitter and taste's really bad).

You may have not used garlic before but I am sure you have had store bought items or eaten in a restaurants where it's used in dishes. Example most italian restaurants will use garlic in any pasta preparation. I am assuming you have had Mexican food or salsa which also uses a healthy dose of garlic. If you can recall the taste of those dishes the fundamental ingredient that adds the spark is garlic.

Since you brought so many bulbs you can peel them all, throw the little cloves in a food processor and process them. You can then put them in little containers and freeze them. You can use them in dishes like stews, pasta, roasts etc about a tsp or couple tsps and you will see what a difference it makes to your end result.

All the best and you will love garlic.
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:33 PM   #10
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Mayor Dave, I'm just happy that you purposed to give fresh garlic a try. I have a friend who uses garlic salt, and she uses way too much. So much so, that it overpowers everything she cooks.

I love fresh garlic, and when I buy it, I never purchase less than 5 heads at a time. I mince mine mostly for the dishes I prepare. I usually add to it, onions, carrots, sometimes celery and sweet peppers, and it creates a wonderful foundation to build a dish. So..Good for you!!

Do you have a good, sharp knife that you use for cooking? It is essential that you have a sharp knife when slicing or mincing garlic. You can hurt yourself using a dull knife. Use your knives slowly until you get comfortable using them. Or like one of the posters said, whole cloves will dissolve in soups, stews. When it's cooked, it can become sweet. You will never come in my kitchen and not find onions and garlic.

I commend you for having the courage to try your hand at cooking. There should be more like you. Dave, you done good!!! This is great place to come if you have any questions.

Welcome to our Community.
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