April is National Garlic Month. A time to celebrate the brightest bulbs in the box. In order to get the most out of everyone’s favorite pungent product, we compiled a list of our favorite garlic facts, tips and tricks, plus a delicious hand-picked recipe to ensure you enjoy this month to its garlicky fullest.
1. Garlic is easy to burn.
Make sure you take your time and roast or prep on a low heat setting. Slow and steady wins the garlic race.
2. Cure bad breath by drinking a few mashed garlic cloves with lemon.
It may seem counter-intuitive to cure bad breath with something that causes bad breath, but think of it like cleaning a dirty dish with dish soap. The best thing to cut through oils are more oils, much like the way the chemicals in the garlic and lemon attack bad breath particles.
3. If you have a fear of garlic, you have alliumphobia.
A life without garlic bread is a hard life indeed.
4. Remove any green sprouts from your cloves.
The best way to remove the sprouts is to separate the cloves first, then carefully pick out the sprouts. Any green sprouts left in could cause your garlic to have a bitter taste that could ruin your delicious dish.
5. Unbroken garlic bulbs can keep for 3 to 4 months, but individual cloves only stay fresh for 5 to 10 days.
You can also freeze whole, cloved or minced garlic to maintain freshness and keep for later use.
6. Store your garlic in a cool, dry location away from any dampness.
Dampness is garlic’s worst enemy. You shouldn’t be keeping any food in a damp location, but garlic especially is prone to getting moldy and rotten if not stored correctly.
7. In addition to protection against vampires, garlic can be used as a natural mosquito repellent.
Don’t start making garlic necklaces just yet. Add some garlic extract to your outdoor plants and the plants will absorb an amino acid that insects hate.
8. For the best bulbs in your kitchen make sure you select heavy, tight, firm, dry bulbs.
Here’s how they do it at Christopher Ranch, the leading garlic producer for the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California:
“We have two dedicated crews of over 100 people that sort through and clean every single bulb of garlic that we sell. Every single bulb of whole fresh garlic that you see at the supermarket has been hand-selected for quality and appearance.” -Ken Christopher, third generation garlic farmer.
You may not be working with a crew of 100, but you’re not feeding the entire garlic eating population of California either...
9. Garlic smells because the cloves release an enzyme called alliinase.
This enzyme is released when garlic is crushed or minced, creating a chemical reaction that produces a sulfur-containing molecule that results in that familiar smell.
10. Get rid of the smell of garlic on your hands by cleaning them on a stainless steel faucet.
You can also purchase a stainless steel-based hand cleaner if you find yourself constantly plagued with smelly garlic hands.
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