Before you taste it, you can smell it—pungent and distinct. Garlic’s never been shy when it comes to making an impression, but this is one ingredient that’s well worth the lingering scent. Whether you enjoy cloves raw, sliced, sauteéd, or roasted, garlic is beloved in cuisines across the globe and adds depth and nutrition to every dish.
Ready to head to the kitchen? From favorite comfort foods like garlic bread, garlic knots, and garlic mashed potatoes—to killer spreads like aioli and garlic butter that take recipes to the next level, it pays to know your way around this bold allium. Check out our best hacks and recipes so you can get cookin’.
You’ll discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about garlic by the time you’ve finished this article. We’ll delve its history, storing and peeling tips, and tricks for getting the garlic smell off your hands!
The history of garlic
Originating thousands of years ago from Egypt and Central Asia, this close relative of the onion didn’t just make regular appearances in flavorful dishes. Garlic was also valued for its medicinal properties like providing antimicrobial and immune support. Looking for garlic nutrition facts? A 100 gram serving of garlic delivers nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and calcium.
In 18th century France, gravediggers drank wine infused with crushed garlic to fend off the plague, and during both World Wars, garlic was given to soldiers as a preventative measure to combat gangrene. Rubbing the bulb on the wound sanitized the area and helped stop the infection.
How to select your bulb
The benefits of garlic increase when eaten raw, so seek out fresh bulbs and be on the lookout for any damage. Bulbs should be plump, without any tears in the outer skin. Try holding the garlic head; it should feel like there’s weight to it. If you gently squeeze it between your fingers, the head should feel firm—not mushy or damp. Avoid any that have mold or sprouts growing out, which means they’re past their prime and should be tossed.
How to store garlic
If stored properly, garlic can last several months, but if it’s been broken up, the shelf life is about two weeks. To avoid moisture and mold, store in a cool dry place, like a pantry. To encourage freshness, keep individual cloves intact until just before using.
Garlic peeling tips
When it comes to peeling, you’ve got some options. One way is to slice off the bottom end of the clove and place it underneath the flat side of a chef’s knife. With the other hand, smack the knife blade over the clove to crush it. The skin should easily separate from the clove. Or, put the individual cloves into a lidded tupperware and shake vigorously. If it’s loud, you’re doing it right! This will loosen the papery-skin and your fingers can easily remove the rest.
How to get the smell off your hands
That lingering smell on your hands after chopping garlic isn’t always pleasant, so we’ve got a couple of tricks that’ll get rid of the odor for good! One option is lemon. It has a strong, fresh scent and acid that’ll remove the garlic smell instead of masking it. You can also try good ole’ fashioned baking soda. Just mix a tablespoon with enough water to form a paste, then rub on your hands and rinse. This last option may seem a little outlandish, but it works! Douse your fingers in mouthwash. Its ultra-minty scent and astringent properties help close the pores of your skin and stop the smell.
If you find something comforting about the smell of freshly roasted garlic, then you’re in luck! Get the oven going by preheating it to 350°F. Slice the top heads off about ¼-inch to expose the cloves, and place them in a small baking dish. Next, drizzle on some oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Cover tightly with aluminium foil and bake until the skins are golden brown and cloves are soft, about an hour. Let the garlic cool completely before squeezing the cloves from the skins. Enjoy over grilled bread, mixed into hummus, or thrown into mashed potatoes.
10 Recipes With Fresh Garlic
Garlic is the answer if you’re looking to add amazing flavor to your savory dishes. Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate it into your cooking.
Everyone should have a foolproof recipe for tender-roasted chicken at the ready. Add lemon, garlic, and herbs for flavor, and a little chicken stock and white wine to keep everything moist.
This tender and juicy turkey is what our Thanksgiving dreams are made of—thanks to a slathering of dairy-free, butter-flavored coconut oil that helps the skin turn crisp and golden.
Richer than your average beef patty, this lamb burger is a Primal spin on an old classic. You won’t even miss the cheese with a drizzle of vibrant pistachio pesto sauce.
Hailing from Piedmont, Italy, bagna cauda is a flavorful sauce traditionally made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil, and butter. We’ve paired it with chickpea flour spaghetti and lightened the sauce for a simple, elegant dish.
Tender, crisp, and slightly smoky, this zesty and savory dish will have even the pickiest eaters enjoying broccoli.
A perfect blend of tart, salty, and sweet, this recipe is roasted with garlic-infused ghee, making it a definite crowd-pleaser. You can’t go wrong serving it at your next dinner party.
It may be a classic, but it’s still a goodie. Think: perfect creamy texture, but without the heavy dairy to weigh you down. Sub in olive oil and red potatoes and it’s a mash made in heaven.
Mmm…freshly baked bread. Is there anything better? Luckily, you don’t have wait long to take a bite of this warm garlic-rosemary focaccia—this Paleo-friendly loaf will be ready to eat in just 35 minutes.
Forget your entreé. This work of art may steal the show. The fancy accordion cut helps make butternut squash creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, plus a touch of sweetness from spice-infused maple syrup.