Not only is garlic a tasty addition to many dishes, it is also very good for you. Some studies show that eating a little garlic each day can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is also believed to have many other health benefits, from speeding up healing time to preventing some diseases.
Buying and Storing Garlic
Like any other food, you should know what to look for when you’re in the supermarket to buy garlic for tonight’s meal. Stay away from soft or shriveled garlic bulbs. Instead look for plump and firm ones that still have the root intact. Since it can give food a bitter taste, avoid buying garlic that is sprouting.
Garlic that is stored properly can last you for months. It’s best to store the bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place. Freezing garlic bulbs is not recommended, nor is storing them in the refrigerator. Minced garlic, though, should be stored in the refrigerator.
How to Separate and Peel Garlic
Before you can use garlic cloves, they must first be separated. To do this, place the garlic bulb on a counter or cutting board with the root side down. Use the heel of your hand to press down on the top with a firm, steady pressure. The layers will separate, and you can start peeling the cloves from the bulb.
Before it can be minced, the garlic cloves must be peeled. There are a few different ways to do this. One easy way is to cut off each end of the clove, and press down on the side of it with a knife. Don’t smash it, but apply firm pressure. The skins should come right off.
Another way to peel garlic is to cut the woody stem part almost through to the other side. Then, peel off the skins.
If you will be needing a lot of garlic, there is a quick, easy way to peel it. Place a pan of water on the stove, and wait for it to boil. Dump the garlic cloves into the water for about twenty seconds. Scoop them out, and dump them into a bowl of ice water. The skins should slide right off.
How to Mince Garlic
Before you mince your garlic, begin by chopping it roughly. Cut the cloves into strips, then cut across the strips to make large rough pieces.
To mince the garlic, use a rocking motion with a large knife. Hold the tip of the knife on the cutting board, and rock the handle up and down on the garlic. Stop every once in a while to pull the garlic pieces back into a pile. Wipe any pieces of garlic that are stuck to the knife into the pile.
There are also a number of different tools on the market today that chop and mince garlic. These tools are quite handy to have as they not only mince garlic and are easy to use, but they also keep the strong garlic smell off of your hands. Some of these contraptions even claim to peel the garlic for you.
Get Rid of the Garlic Smell From Your Hands
Garlic may be very tasty, but it does have a very strong, distinct smell. Getting the smell off of your hands can be quite a chore, and soap and water may not do the trick.
Lemon juice or vinegar are a couple solutions to the pungent aroma of garlic. Soaking your hands in either one and washing with soap and water should get rid of the smell. Rubbing your hands with table salt and washing with soap and water is also said to rid your hands of the garlic smell.
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