Garlic, famous (or infamous) for its pungent flavor, is an indispensable ingredient in many world cuisines. One bulblike head
can contain up to 2 dozen individually wrapped cloves.
Season: Year-round; peak mid-June through August.
How to Choose Garlic
Look for tightly packed cloves with an unbroken white or purply skin. There shouldn’t be any dark spots on the exterior, and when you squeeze the head, it should feel as hard as an apple. If green shoots have begun to sprout, pass up the head. (It is old or has been improperly stored.) But don’t worry if your garlic sprouts at home; just cut out the shoots before cooking.
How to Store Garlic
Garlic will remain fresh for up to two months when kept in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. (A wire basket or a bowl in a cabinet is fine.) Don’t put garlic in the refrigerator; humidity can shorten its life span.
How to Prepare Garlic
Remove the outer, papery layer of skin and pull off individual cloves. If they’re tight and can’t easily be pulled free, use the ball of your hand to press and roll the head against your cutting board to loosen the cloves. To remove the skin of an individual one, crush the clove lightly and swiftly with the side of a broad knife, use a paring knife to cut each end off, and then peel away the skin. When sautéing garlic, do so briefly and over low heat under close monitoring; burned garlic is bitter.
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.