Garlic: believed to ward off heart disease, cancer, colds, flu, and pesky vampires but is also just plain delicious and a great way to add flavor to dishes.
How to Select
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 flavor and soft texture.
How to Store
Kept in an open container in a cool, dry place, dried, unbroken garlic bulbs will last for a couple of weeks. Separated cloves will keep for up to 10 days. Wet garlic should be kept in a cool, dark place and will last up to a week.
How to Prepare
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.