Garlic is a bulb vegetable that most people are familiar with. It can be used to add its sharp flavour to just about any savoury dish. It is also used for medicinal purposes.
There are many varieties, but you will probably only know one or two from the supermarket. If you have a garden you can grow your own easily.
Here are just a couple of varieties. Garlic varieties differ more in size, flavour, and hotness than skin colour, though different varieties can have red, purple, pink, or white skin
Garlic scapes are immature flower buds that can be chopped and added to dishes as you would green onions. Some people also like to use young garlic shoots as you would shallots to give a garlic flavour to dishes.
✅ Quick Tips: Understanding your ingredients will make you a better cook, and makes it easier to understand how ingredients will work together.
Come in many varieties
You probably won't get any choice in varieties of garlic in your local supermarket, and the only way to get different varieties is to grow them. Luckily they don't take up much room in a garden.
Varieties can vary in flavour, size, sharpness, and skin colour. My favourite is Monaro Purple. Some of the small bulbed varieties have a very strong flavour.
Garlic comes in many types, but that shouldn't worry you as they are of no importance unless you are growing them yourself.
Be aware that 'Giant garlic' or 'Russian garlic' is actually a type of garlic flavoured leek with a big bulb. It is pretty bitter and not nearly as nice to cook with as real garlic.
Some garlic varieties:
- Giant Russian/Elephant. Very big bulbs. A type of leek. A bit bitter tasting for most people.
- Monaro Purple. large bulbs with a fine flavour, medium hot.
- Italian White. Popular all rounder with medium sized bulbs.
- Australian White. This is the non-imported one that you will probably find in your supermarket. Good flavour and medium heat.
- Spanish Roja. Hot and spicy flavour
- Deerfield. Warm and rich flavour
- Tasmanian Purple. Rich flavour and fairly mild.
Because garlic is generally used as a flavouring it's nutritional value isn't important. But for those who want to know:
Per 100g, it contains about 623 Kj, 33 g of carbohydrates, high amounts of your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals, and 2 g of dietary fibre.
Favourite garlic recipes
Some of the most popular recipes that garlic is used for include:
- Flavouring savoury dishes
- Black (fermented) garlic
- In some dips and other condiments
- Garlic bread and garlic pizza
- Baked before adding to dishes
Garlic needs to have the papery skin removed before using. Then you separate the individual cloves. Remove the skins of the cloves, which are then crushed or chopped to add to a dish.
Garlic scapes and flower buds are generally just chopped and added
Garlic is something that I think every kitchen should have. It adds a zing to plain recipes that can make them much better.
Storage: Just keep your bulbs in a bowl in your kitchen. When they start to shoot throw them out. It should not be kept in the fridge or in highly humid places.
Black garlic is simply normal garlic that has been fermented until it turns soft, syrupy and black.
Add garlic to dishes not long before serving, not at the start of long cooking.