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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
I cannot imagine not having garlic in my kitchen. I use it in almost everything because
it adds such a wonderful flavor and aroma. I hate to think how bland spaghetti sauce
would be without garlic.
Garlic is native to middle Asia and the Mediterranean region of southern Europe. It
is a member of the onion family and known for its pungent aroma. Many think garlic
has medicinal purposes, but it has not been proven by researchers yet.
As far back as the building of the great pyramids, garlic has been credited with providing
and prolonging physical strength. Throughout the centuries, it has been known for
its fascinating folklore, enhancement of delicious dishes, and medicinal uses.
A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots.
The edible bulb or head grows beneath the ground in the garden, or can be planted
in containers. The harvested bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased
in its own parchment like membrane. When a recipe calls for a head of garlic, it is
referring to the entire part removed from the ground; whereas, the clove is the small
sections found when the parchment is unwrapped.
There are several types of garlic, including purple-skinned, elephant garlic, or young
or green garlic. Basically, it can be broken down into hard-neck garlic with a thick,
unbendable center stem; and soft-neck garlic which is the most common supermarket
variety. Hard-neck varieties are cold hardy, have a milder flavor, and are preferred
by gourmet chefs.
Garlic is available in late summer and fall at local farmers markets as well as year
round at supermarkets. When purchasing garlic, look for large, plump bulbs that are
compact and have unbroken, dry skin. Squeeze the bulb and if it gives under your fingers
don’t buy it.
Fresh garlic should be stored in a cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated place, but not
in the refrigerator. Fresh garlic will store well for several months. Dried and powdered
garlic should be stored in airtight containers away from a heat source. Garlic oil
should always be stored in the refrigerator due to food safety concerns. Once garlic
has been peeled, chopped or minced, it should be refrigerated.
Garlic cloves are mostly used fresh, minced or crushed. One raw garlic clove, finely
minced or pressed, releases more flavor than a dozen cooked whole cloves.
When garlic cloves are cooked or baked whole, the flavor mellows into a sweet, almost
nutty flavor that hardly resembles any form of pungency. Cooked, whole cloves barely
have any aroma at all, while raw garlic is the strongest in flavor. For a milder taste,
roast garlic wrapped tightly in aluminum foil until soft.
When sautéing garlic, be very careful not to burn it. The flavor turns intensely bitter,
and you'll have to start over.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at email@example.com,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
This terrific dish is loaded with succulent Mediterranean vegetables.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 eggplant, cut into one half inch cubes
Salt to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 zucchini, sliced
1 large onion, sliced into rings
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat bottom and sides of a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish
with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook and
stir garlic until lightly browned. Mix in parsley and eggplant. Cook and stir until
eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Spread eggplant mixture evenly across bottom of prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle
with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Spread zucchini in an even layer over top.
Lightly salt and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Continue layering in this fashion,
with onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, and tomatoes, covering each layer with a sprinkling
of salt and cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Serves 4.
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.