Garlic - An Essential Ingredient

Garlic is a cook’s essential ingredient for many different types of cooking - it's multi-national – Italian, French, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Mexican as well as British and much more.

Read on to discover more about this essential ingredient, how to prepare garlic, some useful garlic gadgets, a few facts about garlic and some recipes from our website that use garlic.

Used in moderation garlic enhances so many dishes, a single cut clove can be used to simply wipe around a fondue pot or salad bowl before adding the rest of the ingredients. An odd clove or two will be sliced, chopped or crushed for casseroles, curries, risottos, vegetable dishes and so on. Some recipes call for large quantities of garlic, even whole bulbs, as it is the main flavouring for dishes such as aioli (a garlic dressing), a garlic relish, or garlic bread – only for those that really like garlic!

The strength of the flavour will vary depending on how the garlic is prepared and cooked. It can be used raw in salads and sauces, when it will impart a very strong flavour. The flavour is not so strong if the garlic has been crushed or chopped and then cooked. The milder flavour is from whole roast garlic – where you just squeeze out the cooked clove from the skin – delicious!

So, with garlic being such a regular and versatile ingredient you really need to be able to prepare it quickly and easily. There's a selection of Kuhn Rikon garlic gadgets to do the peeling, crushing, chopping and slicing.

The garlic peeler is a magic gadget – simply put unpeeled cloves in the silicone tube, place the tube on a board or work surface and roll the tube (as if it was a rolling pin), the cloves are quickly separated from the outer skin and ready to use.

You can crush garlic with a broad bladed knife, such as a chef’s knife or santoku knife – place the clove on a chopping board, rest the side of the blade on top and press firmly down on the clove, use the sharp blade to complete the process if necessary. 

Many people prefer to use a garlic press. Garlic cloves can be quickly and efficiently crushed in a garlic press, we have a choice of three. The Epicurean garlic press is a top of the range garlic press, it’s highly effective, comfortable to hold and really easy to clean.

Garlic cloves can be chopped with a chef’s knife or santoku knife. Or, you could use a Mezzaluna – the curved blade will create an easy rocking motion which makes chopping really easy.   Alternatively a fine grater will mince or slice garlic really effectively.

After preparing garlic you can remove the smell of garlic from your hands by rubbing a stainless steel ‘soap’ while holding your hands under running water – another magical and simple gadget!

As well as being an essential flavouring, garlic is also said to have medicinal properties. It helps with the digestion of food and garlic is believed to fight a variety of illnesses from colds to heart disease.  It’s a repellent too - garlic will repel mosquitos, fleas and, according to folklore, even vampires! 

Trouble with pests on your roses? Put a crushed clove of garlic in a can of water and spray your roses to rid them of aphids.

So garlic is a tasty, essential ingredient that is actually good for you and has many other uses too – that is provided you don’t have alliumphobia – a fear of garlic!

See below for some recipes that use garlic and also for some images and links to garlic related gadgets.