in season - october

GARLIC

garlic

Garlic:  Used for both medicinal and culinary purposes for well over 7000 years, garlic is one of the world’s most widely used ingredient.  A staple of many international cuisines, garlic is predominately found in southern European and Asia cooking, with the Mediterranean claiming it as a pivotal part of many dishes.

A key member of the allium and lily families, garlic is strongly associated with onions, shallots, leeks and chives.  As a hardy, pest-resistant plant,  garlic happily grows all year round in mild climates, although reaching peak season between July and October.

Common British varieties include wild, crow and field garlic, which all carry their own unique pungent flavour that mellows and sweetens with cooking.

Seasonal period:  July to October (Fresh garlic).  Dried garlic available all year round

Flavour friends:  The addition of garlic to any dish, particularly meat, seafood or even vegetables, creates a sharper definition of flavour.  A pungent aroma when raw, turns sweet and creamy when cooked, making garlic the ideal pairing with chicken, white fish and nuts.  Whether it is the dominant flavour in simple pastas and sauces, or a flavour enhancer for robust ingredients such as rosemary and ginger, garlic works as a great balancer that helps to marry complex combination of aromatics.

Buying, storing and preparing:  Pick firm bulbs, with plump cloves and without green shoots.  Keep in a cool, dark, dry place and NOT in the fridge.  Whole bulbs will keep for up to 2 weeks and separated cloves up to 12 days.

To prepare, simply divide the cloves from the bulb.  Crush the bulb with the heel of your hand using the side of a large knife.  Peel away the skin and either finely chop or crush using a garlic press.

Cooking:  Whole garlic bulbs can be roasted, or individual cloves used for frying to enhance the flavours of soups and sauces.

Roasted:  Whole bulb – 25 – 30 minutes  Fried:  Individual cloves – 2 – 3 minutes

RECIPES

Chicken Halves with Artichokes and Garlic
10 Best Garlic Recipes
Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms
Whole Roasted Garlic
Seafood Pasta with Garlic Bread

Words by Helen Upshall

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