I LOVE Garlic .....

Like onions I can't live without Garlic. Lucky for us on boats its long lasting can be kept in many different forms and brings great taste to the most ordinary ingredient. 

Garlics close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, Chive and Chinese onion. With a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use, garlic is native to the region between the Mediterranean and China, and has long been a common seasoning worldwide. It was known to Ancient Egyptians! and has been used both as a food flavoring and as a traditional medicine.

Slaves building the pyramids were given garlic to give them strength. The first workers strike then occurred when, to save money, they removed the garlic from their slaves diet. And a garlic clove in past times was worn around the neck to ward off evil.

During World War I soldiers depended on garlic for its antiseptic properties, they used the garlic juice on swabs of sterile sphagnum moss. It was said that this prevented gangrene and sepsis when in the trenches.

Garlic is one of the most popular herbs and spices for many reasons, one is the flavour it adds to dishes and the other is the myriad of health benefits it offers. It's the superstar ingredient that gives us a nutritional punch and adds wonderful flavour to many recipes. Cultivated for the distinct flavour of its bulb, it’s high in vitamins B6 and C, and contains several minerals including magnesium, potassium and calcium.

The entire “head” is called a garlic bulb, while each segment is called a clove. There are about 10-20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take. As garlic is available year round, there isn’t a distinct season when it looks its best. When provisioning, choose plump, firm bulbs with tight cloves. Bulbs that appear drier, where the skin easily falls off, are likely old. If you slice open your garlic clove and notice that there is a green stem inside, this indicates that your garlic is sprouting and past its prime.

Some find this green stem to be bitter and pungent, but it’s still okay to use the clove — simply remove the green stem prior to cooking. In the spring and summer months, you can look for locally grown garlic at your farmers’ market. This variety is usually much firmer and tends to be slightly milder in flavour. As garlic gets older it does get a sharper and spicier flavour. The best way to tell if your garlic is no longer good is to look at it. If there are brown spots and the clove goes soft this means that it has started to rot so it is best not to consume.

Raw garlic has a very strong, pungent and heated taste.  While cooked Garlic has a strong, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with heat. While cooking softens the flavour, roasting gives garlic a well-balanced, delicate, nutty flavour.

When a garlic bulb is whole it has very little aroma. When a cloves is cut, bruised or chopped, it releases sugars and oils giving out the pungent, spicy and mellow smell it is known for it can also make for a sticky exterior, and this sometimes makes it difficult to work with. If you don’t like handling garlic, a garlic press is an excellent solution; they’re a little more work to clean, but they quickly produce evenly minced garlic.

Garlic is used in all cuisines across the world. It's ideal in stir fries, curries, soups and sauces and pairs perfectly with onions, tomatoes, chilli, ginger, basil, turmeric, beans, chicken, pork and seafood. Our Galley is never without garlic. Practically every dish we make has a clove or two chopped up and thrown in. That means it's crucial we store it right so it will be in peak condition when it's time to use it.


Garlic can actually keep well for months; the key is to store it the right way. There are three important things to keep in mind when it comes to proper storage.

Keep the head whole. Leaving the entire head (aka the bulb) of garlic whole and not breaking it apart is the best way to store fresh garlic. If kept this way, under the right conditions, the head will stay fresh for a few months. Garlic's life span begins to decrease once you break apart the head and take out the individual cloves. A broken head will keep for about three to 10 days, so make it a point to use it up first before breaking open a new head.

Think dry and dark. Light and moisture are garlic's worst enemies, as they both cause mold to grow. Instead, store garlic at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has plenty of air circulation, like in a wire-mesh basket or open paper bag in a dry bilge or deep pantry. Avoid the fridge. When stored in a cold environment, like the refrigerator, garlic will begin to sprout in no more than a few days.

How to Store Peeled Garlic 

If you've peeled or chopped too much garlic for a recipe, it's OK to stick it in the fridge. Keep it sealed in an airtight container to prevent raw garlic smells wafting through the fridge, and try to use it up as soon as possible, within a day or so, to prevent sprouting and loss of flavour.

If you're completely overrun with garlic and are worried it might go bad before you can get through it all, look to other means of preservation. Roasted Garlic is extremely easy to make and keeps well refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for up to three months. Roasted garlic makes just about anything better, from hummus to salad dressing to a thick slice of crusty bread. See recipe below .....

Or there's garlic confit, which is garlic cloves that have been preserved in oil. The confit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, and frozen is ice cubes with will last for months. Both the cloves and the infused oil can be used in pasta dishes, sandwiches, sauces, soups, and much more. See recipe below....

So what is all the fuss about Black Garlic?

Sure, it might look like garlic gone bad, but really it’s an ingredient we’re seeing our top chefs using across the country. Black garlic is made when heads of regular ol’ garlic are aged under specialised conditions until the cloves turn inky black and develop a sticky date-like texture. And the taste? Out of this world. Sweet, earthy, minus the allium’s characteristic heat.

How to Use Black Garlic

You can purchase black garlic in two ways. Boxed in the fresh produce area of supermarkets or powdered located in the spice isle. Use the boxed cloves as you would roasted garlic: Purée them with oil, then smear the paste on crostini, incorporate it into dressings, or rub it onto chicken or fish before roasting. Powdered, it’s like umami fairy dust: Sprinkle it on anything that wants some earthiness and depth.

Here are a couple of recipe ideas for black garlic

  • Spiced Cauliflower with Avocado and Black Garlic. Sprinkle the avo with the powdered black garlic.
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup with Black Garlic Sherry Panna Cotta. Incorporate the garlic coves into the making of the Panna Cotta.
  • Skirt Steak Rubbed with Black Garlic.
  • Smoked Potatoes with Black Garlic Vinaigrette. You can buy or make your own vinaigrette. See recipe below.
  • Burnt Leeks with Black Garlic Vinaigrette.

A couple of quick recipe ideas for garlic.

Roast. Roasting garlic is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy it. This process mellows the pungency of the bulb and releases the sugars, giving it a rich caramel flavour. Garlic can also be roasted whole. 

To do so, 
  • slice off the top of the head of garlic and drizzle it with olive oil. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and wrap with foil. 
  • Bake at 250 for approximately 40 min. 
  • Once the roasted garlic has cooled, simply squeeze the bottom of the head of garlic and the roasted cloves will pop out.

Eat it raw. Many people are afraid of raw garlic due to the fact it’s often overdone in recipes. However, with the right balance of acidity and seasonings, the addition of raw garlic can be fragrant and pleasant. To much can leave you with garlic breath so sometimes little is more.

Garlic confit. Its my secret ingredient, one of my all-time favorite tricks to give any dish extra depth. This method produces tender and sweet cloves, along with a by-product of delicious oil. It's fantastic to have on hand in the Galley. 

  • Peel the cloves from 2 heads (or more) of garlic. 
  • Place the cloves in a small saucepan and pour in enough olive oil to cover them, 1/2 to 3/4 cup for 2 heads. 
  • Over medium heat bring the oil to just a hint of a simmer, then reduce the heat to as low as it can go. You want to poach the garlic, not simmer it. 
  • Cook for about 45 minutes, until the garlic is soft and tender, but not falling apart. 
  • Transfer the garlic with a slotted spoon to a clean jar and pour the oil in to cover the cloves. Cool the mixture to room temperature. 
  • Cover the jar tightly and keep refrigerated for several weeks, or freeze for several months. (Keep the cloves covered in oil and be careful about using a clean spoon to dip into the jar). As a variation, add rosemary and/or thyme to the saucepan along with the garlic to cook. 
  • It is important to keep refrigerated.

Black Garlic Vinaigrette
  • 5 cloves black garlic, 
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, 
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 
  • 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. 

To make vinaigrette, 
  • put all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process the ingredients until the black garlic has been completely incorporated with the rest of the ingredients. 
  • With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil, blending until the dressing has thickened.

Extra Provisioning Requirements

If we are unable to provision enough fresh garlic there are always other options such as dried and powdered garlic. The garlic bulbs that you buy in stores are generally dried whole, using a process called “curing.” They can also be further dried into slices or a fine powder. Here is a good site that provides information on how to dry garlic. Drying Garlic

There are several ways that you can successfully store dried garlic.

  • Freeze the slices or pieces in an airtight container. They will last for 1 year. Grind the pieces in an old coffee grinder before you use them.
  • Store pieces of dried garlic in an airtight container in your galley. You can keep dried garlic at room temperature for several months, as long as it is out of direct sunlight and high heat.
  • Grind the garlic pieces immediately after they have cooled. Use your old coffee grinder. Then, strain through a fine mesh sieve to separate the powder from the small pieces. Store them for 2 months for use in recipes that call for garlic powder. 

Medicinal benefits for eating garlic. 

  • Garlic Can Combat Sickness, Including the Common Cold
  • The Active Compounds in Garlic Can Reduce Blood Pressure
  • Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels, Which May Lower The Risk of Heart Disease
  • Garlic Contains Antioxidants That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
  • Garlic May Help You Live Longer
  • Athletic Performance Can be Improved With Garlic Supplementation
  • Eating Garlic Can Help Detoxify Heavy Metals in the Body
  • Garlic May Improve Bone Health

More information about the health benefits of garlic can be sourced here


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