Help: How Do I Get More Garlic Flavor in My Cooking?

Help: How Do I Get More Garlic Flavor in My Cooking?

Ask the Chef

Help: How Do I Get More Garlic Flavor in My Cooking?

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Question:

I really enjoy the flavor of garlic but I seem to miss the flavor in my cooking. At times I chop and others use a press but the flavor gets lost. Are there any tips in buying garlic, storing and preparation? Thanks,

—Carol

Answer:

Most commercially produced garlic is grown for yield and shelf life, not flavor. So if you’re looking for more intensely flavored garlic, your first step can be to experiment with new sources of garlic, either local or through mail order, that focus on growing garlic with flavor as the highest priority.

Even if you continue to use the garlic from your local supermarket, there are some steps you can take to maximize flavor:

  • Store garlic in a dark, dry place, such as your pantry. Do not store garlic in the refrigerator, as refrigeration can cause the garlic to lose flavor.
  • Avoid using garlic that has started to sprout green tendrils; most of the plant’s energy goes into the new sprout, taking flavor away from the bulbs.
  • Skip the ‘elephant garlic,’ which is actually a variety of leek and has a milder flavor.
  • Mashing chopped garlic can help release flavors. Just sprinkle a little salt on the chopped garlic, press the flat side of your knife blade onto the pile and carefully slide it across to crush the garlic. (No need to use this process if you use a garlic press).

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