Meet garlic – a common crop that adds an essential taste to millions of recipes! Open up any cookbook and you will be sure to find garlic listed as an ingredient. While it adds great flavor in moderate amounts, too much can be a bit intense. I’m sure you’ve heard of someone adding a “bulb” instead of a “clove” to a dish before… a beginner’s mistake that will never be made again.

Garlic is one of the oldest food flavorings and still continues to be popular today. In fact, garlic has even made its way into outer space, being one of the few fresh produce items sent with astronauts. Garlic is best stored unpeeled in a dark, cool, and dry place, making it perfect to send on a space shuttle. For those of us here on the ground, the same storage rules apply, and it is recommended to avoid storing unpeeled garlic in the refrigerator. 

Garlic cloves are planted in late autumn. Its roots develop underground during the fall and winter before the ground freezes. Once it begins to warm back up in the spring, the garlic sprouts above the ground and is ready to start being harvested in the summer.

There are 3 main types of garlic: hardneck, softneck, and great headed (aka elephant). Hardneck garlic grows one ring of cloves around the stem and has a milder flavor than softnecks. Softnecks tend to grow larger bulbs and do better in warmer climates. These are the varieties you are most likely to encounter in a grocery store. Finally, great headed garlic has large cloves and bulbs, but does not have the “traditional” garlic flavor, tasting more like an onion instead. In total, there are over 400 varieties of garlic to choose from! 

Garlic can be added to just about any savory dish. But to get your creative juices flowing, check out these recipes!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Recipe from almanac.com

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • parsley for garnish, optional

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut head of garlic in half across the top, drizzle with olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast for about one hour until garlic is tender. Remove garlic by squeezing each clove. Set aside. Put potatoes in saucepan, cover with water, season with salt and pepper and boil 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender. Drain. Add salt, pepper, butter, heavy cream and roasted garlic. Use mixer until desired consistency. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Baba Ganoush

Countryside Original Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Eggplant
  • 1/3 cup Tahini
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 bunch Parsley
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • Salt to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and brush the inside with olive oil. Place on baking sheet with the halved sides down. Place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on how large your eggplants are. Remove eggplant from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Scoop out the inside and place in food processor, leaving the skin behind. Add all remaining ingredients, excluding the olive oil, to the food processor and process until smooth. Serve with pita chip, bread slices, or your favorite vegetables, and enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Countryside Original Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Sweet Potato, grated
  • 1 Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. Paprika 

Directions

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook for about 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, salt & pepper, and paprika; cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked to your desired texture. Enjoy!