Everything You Need to Know If You Love Cooking With Garlic

POPSUGAR Photography | Anna Monette Roberts
POPSUGAR Photography | Anna Monette Roberts

If you're like me, you believe that garlic makes any savory dish better. Having a few heads of garlic on hand guarantees an instant boost in flavor, and knowing how to prepare it can make all the difference. If you've ever wondered about the best practices for chopping, storing, and even roasting garlic, these tips will help you become a pro. Now go forth and bless your taste buds with roasted garlic and parmesan pasta and more recipes that don't skimp on the garlic.

Roast the entire head in the oven for sweet, softened cloves.

Unlike sautéed garlic, oven-roasted garlic is spreadable, caramelized goodness that takes tons of dishes to the next level. A basic roasted garlic recipe is something you'll thank yourself for learning.

Sauté garlic in olive oil for 30-45 seconds.

You want the raw garlic to cook through, but it can turn brown easily if you're not careful, which results in a bitter taste. Sautéeing it for about 30 seconds over medium heat is usually the perfect amount of time, and you'll be able to tell by the fragrant smell.

Mince garlic for a more pungent flavor, and slice it for a milder flavor.

A whole clove of garlic is less intense than a sliced one, a sliced clove less intensed than a minced one, and so on. That's because the cells in garlic are more broken down the more you cut it, releasing more flavor.

Don't want to bother with finely chopping garlic? Grate it instead.

Simply hold your cheese grater or microplane above the dish you're adding garlic to, and grate individual cloves. You'll get the equivalent of a superfine chop, and the juices released will add even more flavor.

Use fresh lemon juice to rid your hands of the smell.

The one major downside of cooking with garlic is the lingering smell (and stickiness) on your hands. A simple way to get rid of the smell is to rub your hands with a lemon wedge.

Eliminate skin hands-free with a garlic peeler.

If you really hate the smash-and-peel method of peeling garlic, a simple garlic peeler will change your life.

Don't keep fresh (unbroken) heads of garlic for longer than two months.

Ever wondered if those cloves in your cabinet are OK to use? Here's exactly how long garlic lasts.