Get Fresh & Fruity Garlic Large
Part of the lily, or alium, family, of which onions are also a member, garlic is one of the most indispensible ingredients around, and plays a central role in Mediterranean and Asian cookery. A bulb composed of many individual cloves enclosed in a thin white, mauve or purple skin, it's quite fiery, pungent and crunchy when raw. As it cooks it becomes more mellow and creamy.
It's mainly available dried, but fresh (also known as 'wet' or 'green') garlic, which has a mild flavour, can also be found in some stores in season.
Dried garlic is sold either loose, in bunches or plaited into strings; generally speaking, the smaller the bulb, the stronger the flavour. Solo garlic (just one large clove) and the large-bulbed elephant garlic are also available, though the latter is, in fact, more closely related to the leek, and has a very mild flavour and soft texture.
Read our guide on the health benefits of garlic.
Using your fingers, divide the whole bulb into individual cloves (if you don't want to use the whole bulb, just pull away the number of cloves you need and leave the rest of the bulb intact, as it will last longer that way). Remove any green shoots, as they taste bitter.
For crushed garlic, either use a garlic press (you don't have to remove the skin) or lay the blade of a large knife on top of the clove and press it down hard with the heel of your hand. Then remove the skin. If you'd like to break it down even further, sprinkle with some salt and crush it again.
For chopped garlic, peel the skin off, then slice. You can then remove the skin. If any of the cloves have small green shoots, remove them before chopping, as they taste bitter.
Garlic contains numerous health promoting phytonutrients substances that have proven benefits against coronary artery diseases, infections and cancers.
Strong flavoured, garlic cloves contain many noteworthy phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that have proven health benefits.
Garlic is technically neither herb nor spice but a member of the same family as onions and leeks. There are many varieties and they differ in size, pungency and colour. The most widely used European variety has a white/grey papery skin and pinkish-grey cloves and is grown in southern France. The bulbs found on sale are actually dried (in the sun), though we tend to consider them fresh.
Smoked garlic is dried garlic that has been smoked to give it a golden colour and mellow smoky flavour. You can also buy garlic pur©e and garlic salt (or garlic granules). They don't have the juicy perfume of bulb garlic but are useful when making spice rubs.
Recipes using garlic
By Jenny White
By Nigel Slater
By Peter Gordon
By Matt Tebbutt
By Claire Thomson
Light meals and snacks
By Rachel Khoo
By Matt Tebbutt
By Matt Tebbutt
By Cyrus Todiwala
By Josh Katz
Starters and nibbles
By Yotam Ottolenghi
Cakes and baking
Green, or fresh, garlic is usually only available from June to August in the UK.
Garlic has many culinary uses. The cloves are separated, peeled and then used whole, or chopped or crushed. If the garlic is old, be sure to remove the bitter €š¬˜germ from the centre of the clove. The easiest way to crush garlic is to place a clove on a board and, using the flat side of a small knife, press down firmly until you have squashed it to a pulp. Sprinkle a little salt on the clove to help the knife grip. Garlic crushers are fine, but some say that crushing the garlic this way gives it a bitter taste. The more finely the garlic is crushed, the stronger it will taste in the dish, but slow oven-baking tends to mellow the flavour.