Knowledge is power: Don't be fooled by low quality "white garlic” imported from China - Chinese garlic represents 90+% of all garlic sold in the U.S. right now but does not represent an effort at achieving superb flavor. It represents the lowest cost. That is great for electronics; not so, for food.
When fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, the enzyme alliinase converts alliin into allicin, which is responsible for the aroma of fresh garlic. The allicin generated is very unstable and quickly changes into a series of other sulfur containing compounds such as diallyl disulfide. It exhibits antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiprotozoal activity. Allicin is garlic's defense mechanism against attacks by pests.
Recently, a scientifically based garlic-flavor-index has been created. Similar to the Scoville index for peppers that measures capsacin levels to determine heat, the "Oxford Scale" measures the amount of diallylsulfides in garlic. Large amounts of diallylsulfides indicate a stronger garlic flavor. It should be noted that flavor subtleties such as sweetness, bite, linger, and aroma may vary due to other compounds found in garlic that are not measured by the Oxford Scale.
Mild: Korean Red | Medium: Inchellium Red, Purple Glazer, Siberian | Strong: Deerfield Purple, Duganski, Italian Late, Lorz Italian, Music, Polish, Premium Northern White, St. Helens Red, Transylvanian, Turkish Giant
Pasta Dishes: 1/2 bulb per lb pasta
Noodle Incorporation: 1/2 bulb per 1/2 lb noodles
French Bread/Bruschetta: 1/2 bulb per lb bread
Soups: 1/2 bulb per 1/2 gal
Meats:1/2 bulb per lb
Veggies: 1/3 bulb per lb
Dressings: 1 clove per 1/2 cup
Super Colossal: 3.0”+ Diameter
Colossal: 2.75” Diameter
Super Jumbo: 2.5” Diameter
Jumbo: 2.0” Diameter
Giant: 1.88” Diameter
It is currently believed, based upon DNA studies, that there are 10 major varieties and 600 subspecies of garlic. All 10 majors originated in the area between the Black Sea, Caucausus Mountains and the Caspian Sea. Over time, different cultures and climates appear to have created preferential selection leading to many sub-varieties.
Black Garlic is produced by fermenting whole bulbs of fresh garlic in a humidity-controlled environment in a specific temperature range for 40 days. Once removed from heat, the bulbs are left to oxidize for one week. This lengthy process causes the garlic cloves to turn black and develop a soft, chewy texture with flavors resembling soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and tamarind with sweet undertones of fruit, berries and nuts.
1. Roman Soldiers ate garlic before battle for anti-septic potential:
While they did eat garlic, it was due to the belief that garlic instilled courage and inspiration. That belief was held not only by the legions, but the generals that commanded them.
2. Vampires are repelled by Garlic:
A myth in a myth! Let's just dispel the garlic bit... Garlic was thought to be a "purifier" that could drive all evil from the body in ancient times. Hence, garlic was hung above doors to drive away evil in general, not vampires specifically.
3. No Remedy for "garlic-breath":
Actually, the enzymes in slightly browning fruit can neutralize the garlic molecules remaining in your mouth. Eat an apple or banana that has oxidized for a few minutes and you can again venture into public.
4. Garlic should be stored in the Fridge:
While you can do this, it will not create the optimal conditions and longest shelf-life for your garlic. It is much better to simply store in a cool, dry place (there used to be a thing called a "root cellar") until ready for use. Depending on variety you will get 5-9 months this way.
5. Garlic that is dried and withered should be thrown away:
No, no! Simply allow those cloves/bulbs to dry out until completely hardened. Once solid, chop by hand, with a food processor or even an inexpensive whole-bean-coffee-grinder and use as garlic salt.