What to Do With Extra Garlic: Unlocking the Full Potential of this Flavorful Ingredient
Garlic, with its pungent aroma and distinct taste, is a staple ingredient in many cuisines around the world. It not only adds depth and flavor to dishes but also offers numerous health benefits. However, it’s not uncommon to find yourself with an excess supply of garlic. If you’re wondering what to do with extra garlic, fear not! We have compiled a list of creative and delicious ways to make the most of this flavorful ingredient.
1. Make garlic-infused oil: Infusing oil with garlic is a simple yet effective way to add a burst of flavor to your dishes. Heat olive oil over low heat, add minced garlic, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the oil into a jar, and you’ve got a versatile ingredient that can be used in dressings, marinades, or simply drizzled over roasted vegetables.
2. Roast it: Roasting garlic brings out its natural sweetness and mellows its pungency. Cut off the top of a whole garlic bulb, drizzle it with olive oil, wrap it in foil, and roast for 40-45 minutes at 400°F (200°C). The soft and caramelized cloves can then be spread on bread, mixed into mashed potatoes, or added to sauces and soups.
3. Make garlic butter: Elevate your everyday butter by adding minced garlic, chopped herbs, and a pinch of salt. This flavorful compound butter can be spread on bread, used to sauté vegetables, or melted over grilled meats.
4. Preserve it: Extend the shelf life of your garlic by preserving it. Peel and mince the garlic, mix it with salt, and pack it tightly into a jar. Cover it with olive oil, seal the jar, and store it in the refrigerator for up to a month. The garlic-infused oil can be used for cooking, while the minced garlic can be added to various dishes.
5. Ferment it: Fermented garlic not only enhances its flavor but also boosts its nutritional value. The lacto-fermentation process turns garlic into a tangy and probiotic-rich ingredient. Simply peel the garlic cloves, pack them into a jar with saltwater brine, and let them ferment at room temperature for a few weeks. The resulting fermented garlic can be added to salads, stir-fries, or eaten as a condiment.
6. Create a garlic powder: Dehydrate your extra garlic cloves and transform them into a homemade garlic powder. Slice the cloves thinly and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at a low temperature (around 150°F or 65°C) for a few hours until the slices are completely dried. Once cooled, grind them into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. This versatile powder can be used in spice blends, rubs, or sprinkled over roasted vegetables.
7. Make garlic soup: Garlic soup is a comforting and nourishing dish, especially during the colder months. Sauté minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant, add vegetable or chicken broth, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice and sprinkle of fresh herbs for a delightful bowl of goodness.
8. Whip up a garlic aioli: Combine minced garlic, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil to create a creamy and tangy garlic aioli. This versatile condiment pairs well with sandwiches, roasted vegetables, or can even be used as a dip for fries or chicken nuggets.
9. Make garlic vinegar: Infuse vinegar with garlic for a tangy and aromatic ingredient that can be used in dressings, marinades, or even as a homemade household cleaner. Simply peel and crush garlic cloves, place them in a jar, and cover with vinegar. Let it sit for a couple of weeks, strain, and store the flavorful vinegar in a bottle.
10. Pickle it: Pickled garlic is a flavorful addition to salads, cheese boards, or antipasto platters. Peel the garlic cloves and blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds. Drain, pack them into sterilized jars, and cover with a mixture of vinegar, water, sugar, and spices. Let the jars sit in the refrigerator for at least a week before enjoying the tangy pickled garlic.
11. Freeze it: If you’re short on time, freezing garlic is a convenient way to preserve its freshness. Peel and mince the garlic, then place it in an airtight container or freezer bag. When needed, simply grab a spoonful and add it directly to your dishes. Frozen garlic maintains its flavor and texture, making it a handy ingredient in various recipes.
12. Share it: Lastly, if you find yourself with an overwhelming amount of garlic, consider sharing it with friends, family, or neighbors. You can also donate it to local food banks or community organizations. Sharing the abundance of garlic not only fosters a sense of community but also spreads the joy of cooking and flavorful meals.
1. How long can garlic be stored?
Garlic can be stored for several months in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place. Avoid storing it in the refrigerator, as the moisture can cause it to sprout or become moldy.
2. Can I freeze whole garlic bulbs?
While it’s best to peel and mince garlic before freezing, you can freeze whole garlic bulbs. However, the texture may change after thawing, making it harder to separate the cloves.
3. How do I peel garlic easily?
Place the garlic cloves on a cutting board, press them gently with the flat side of a knife, and the skins should loosen. Alternatively, you can soak the cloves in hot water for a few minutes to make peeling easier.
4. Can I substitute garlic powder for fresh garlic?
Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, but the flavor won’t be as pronounced. Use 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder for every clove of garlic called for in the recipe.
5. Can I use garlic-infused oil for cooking?
Yes, garlic-infused oil adds a delightful flavor to dishes. However, be cautious when using it for high-heat cooking, as the garlic solids can burn easily.
6. How can I prevent garlic from sticking to my hands?
Wet your hands before handling garlic or rub them against stainless steel, like a sink or spoon, to remove the garlic odor and reduce stickiness.
7. Can I reuse the garlic-infused oil?
While you can reuse garlic-infused oil, it’s essential to store it in the refrigerator and use it within a week to avoid the risk of bacterial growth.
8. How can I tame the pungency of raw garlic?
Soaking minced garlic in lemon juice or vinegar for a few minutes can help mellow its pungency and make it more palatable.
9. Can I use garlic in desserts?
Garlic is predominantly used in savory dishes, but some chefs experiment by incorporating it into desserts like chocolate cake or ice cream. It adds a unique and unexpected flavor profile.
10. How can I peel a large quantity of garlic quickly?
To peel a large quantity of garlic quickly, place the cloves in a metal bowl, cover with another bowl of the same size, and shake vigorously for a few seconds. The friction will help loosen the skins.
11. Can I plant garlic cloves to grow my own?
Absolutely! Garlic cloves can be planted in the fall for a bountiful harvest in the following summer. Each clove will grow into a new bulb.
12. Can I use garlic in cocktails?
While garlic is not a common ingredient in cocktails, some mixologists have experimented with garlic-infused spirits or muddled garlic in savory cocktails like Bloody Marys or martinis.
In conclusion, having extra garlic is an opportunity to explore its versatility and unlock its full potential. Whether you choose to infuse oils, roast it, or get creative with pickling and fermentation, there are countless ways to enjoy the unique flavor and health benefits of this powerful ingredient. So, roll up your sleeves, get cooking, and savor the remarkable taste of garlic in all its forms.