Get ready for another food rant.
This one is about garlic. I really love garlic.
I confess that I always increase the garlic in any recipe, and no one in my family complains.
Garlic is a Magic Ingredient
It is inexpensive, readily available and good for you. Health benefits from its vitamins, minerals and antioxidants include a positive impact on blood pressure and cholesterol levels—check out this short article, 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Garlic.
Garlic keeps. It comes in its own protective little wrapper and can sit in a dark, cool place in your kitchen for a month or more waiting for its time to shine.
Garlic is a team player. While it can play the leading role, and figures prominently in a few Glover Gardens Cookbook recipes down below, it also collaborates with other ingredients really well for a gestalt, more-than-the-sum-of-their-parts flavor-boom result.
Cooking with fresh garlic makes your house smell like love lives there. You know what I mean, folks – you’ve probably all been on both sides of this equation. Imagine you’ve had a long, challenging day, and are wearing your weary like a yoke on an ox. Suddenly, an alluring smell is wafting out of the kitchen, and your mood and energy level lifts, giving you the strength to go on and the feeling that all is right with the world. That’s garlic. Or, you’re in the kitchen all alone, preparing dinner, and are suddenly surrounded by family members as the garlic is being sauteed. They know something good is coming, and they love you for it.
Garlic has festivals. There are so many garlic festivals across the country and the world that there’s a web site devoted to tracking them.
Garlic inspires. Here are a few quotes to make you smile.
- “There are many miracles in the world to be celebrated and, for me, garlic is among the most deserving.” Leo Buscaglia, American author, speaker and professor, 1924-1998
- “The air of Provence was particularly perfumed by the refined essence of this mystically attractive bulb.” Alexandre Dumas, French writer, 1802 – 1870
- “Garlic all powerful; marvelous seasoning; you are the essence, the incense which revives and exhilarates; you are the spur that excites, stimulates. Garlic! You stir up, you impel, you cheer; you are the only condiment, you are the glorious one, the sovereign extract of the earth.” Gustave Coquiot, French art critic and collector, 1865-1926
- “Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime…Please, treat your garlic with respect…Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.” Anthony Bourdain, American chef, author, journalist and travel documentarian, 1956-2018 (in his book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
Jarred Garlic: Why, Why, Why?
So this brings me to my rant. It’s about minced garlic in a jar. Or chopped garlic in a jar. What Anthony Bourdain called in his book Kitchen Confidential the “vile spew you see rotting in screwtop jars.” It was there, in my way, at the grocery store, on a big display right next to the real garlic.
Minced garlic in a jar isn’t just garlic, my friends. It has stuff added to it. Water. Citric acid or phosphoric acid. Sometimes low-quality oils. Sometimes, the garlic is dehydrated first.
Jarred minced or chopped garlic is a sad shadow of its former robust and cheeky self. The flavor is dimmer, having lost the sharp, fresh “pungent-ness”. It can taste acidic, metallic, sweeter than fresh garlic – it’s just not garlicky.
I understand the lure of using garlic in a jar: it’s easy and quick. And there’s no denying that peeling fresh garlic takes a minute or two and makes your hands sticky with a lasting garlicky perfume that you might not want to be wearing after dinner is over.
But if you’re cooking something from scratch, doesn’t your dish deserve the real deal?
And what about the children? By using giant jars of pre-minced garlic that’s floating in additives, are we fostering a generation of underprivileged taste buds that have never experienced the joy of fresh garlic?
Just go with fresh—you won’t regret it. And, as Donna of Always Backroads has pointed out, buy local garlic whenever you can.
Glover Gardens Recipes Where Garlic has a Starring Role
The very first recipe I posted when this blog was born back in March of 2015 featured garlic prominently.
And you can’t really talk about garlic without mentioning bruschetta.
We like to put our grilled asparagus in a bath of garlic, lemon and olive oil.
The “goat cheese thing,” as we have nicknamed it, is our go-to for parties and is very garlic-forward.
What is your favorite recipe that shouts garlicky goodness from the rooftops?
Disclaimer – there’s no intent here to impugn garlic powder, which definitely has its place in the kitchen. Garlic powder is great in spice mixes and also can provide another layer of garlic flavor when combined with fresh.
© 2020, Glover Gardens