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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Garlic: A flavorful staple in any kitchen

Garlic is a staple in most every home kitchen. It packs big flavor. Yes, a dish that is a little heavy on the garlic will give you garlic breath but wear it proudly and embrace social distancing!

Garlic can be purchased or harvested in many forms, including green garlic, a head of garlic, minced garlic, granulated garlic, garlic powder and garlic salt. Green garlic, or spring garlic, is harvested early before the bulb is fully formed and resembles more of a green onion. It has an onion taste with a hint of garlic but mellow in flavor. Green garlic should be stored in the refrigerator, either wrapped in a damp paper towel, and placed in a plastic bag, or submerged in a glass of water. A head of garlic, such as what is sold in the produce section of the grocery store, is cured, which is the process of drying the garlic for longer storage. Store garlic in a cool, dark place away from heat. It’s past its prime if it has green shoots or shriveled cloves. The head, or bulb is in segments called cloves. Peel off the papery sheath to finely chop or mince to use in recipes. The more finely chopped or minced, the more sulfur compounds are released, activating a bold flavor.

Minced garlic is sold in jars or plastic bottles and preserved in either water or oil. Once opened, store in the refrigerator where it can stay of good quality for 18-24 months. Since it’s stored in liquid, it’s soft and adds moisture to dishes. Use ½ teaspoon of jarred minced garlic when substituting it for a fresh garlic clove. Garlic can also be dehydrated and sold as minced, which has the largest flakes, granulated, which is coarsely ground, or as powder, which has been finely ground to a powder-like consistency.  Dried minced and granulated garlic make good dry rubs for meats or sprinkled on pizza and breadsticks. Garlic powder has the most concentrated flavor because of it’s small granular size and is perfect for seasoning soups and sauces. Use ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder to substitute for one small clove of garlic. Garlic salt is garlic powder with the addition of salt. Just ¼ teaspoon can have 490 milligrams of sodium, making it not the healthiest of choices when it comes to garlic. Keep a variety of the other garlic choices on hand to give your dishes a punch of flavor! 


Michigan State University Extension. Extension Bulletin HNI 116. April 2013.  

About the Author


Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.