Adding garlic to a dish immediately enhances its flavor and provides added health benefits. Ancient Egyptians used garlic for over 22 different ailments for medicinal purposes; its use is also traced back to the Bible.
From potentially lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to supplying antioxidants and possibly increasing immune function, using garlic can be a healthy option as we eat more whole foods, like vegetables and beans, because it makes them more flavorful. Having the best garlic press on hand can take the hassle out of prep work, too.
Garlic is an herb closely related to its flavor-boosting cousins, onions, leeks and chives. Using garlic is also a creative way to enhance taste in a dish without adding salt — and garlic lovers will tell you that you can never use too much.
You can prepare this delicious vegetable in a few different ways; here’s how.
Before You Start: Go For Fresh Garlic
Rather than buying pre-minced garlic in a jar, chefs recommend buying garlic whole and storing it in a cool, dry place. Yes, it takes a few extra minutes to peel and chop this potent ingredient, but it will be well worth the added flavor of using fresh cloves. This is where your knife skills will come in handy!
Before You Cook: Wait A Few Minutes After Chopping
Since cutting garlic releases stored enzymes that react with oxygen, it’s best to let a chopped batch stand for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. This allows enough time for healthy sulfide compounds to form.
Ready to start cooking? Grab your favorite garlic-infused recipe and use one of these four techniques.
How To Crush Garlic
To crush garlic using a knife, lay the flat side on top of the garlic clove. It’s fine if the skin is still on. Then press your palm down on the flat edge while being mindful of the blade. Peel off and discard the papery layers.
Mince Garlic Like A Pro
Whether you use a garlic press or the back of your knife, minced garlic can instantly add zing to a dish. For minced garlic, slice cloves into two pieces and rock your knife back and forth over the cloves repeatedly to create fine pieces. Then toss into stews, sauces and soups.
Or just get your hands on the best garlic press and make life even more accessible. Simply pop in a couple of cloves inside the container and push them through the slots.
A note on garlic presses: Using a garlic press significantly cuts down on prep time. If you are cooking just for yourself or one other person, a small-chamber garlic press usually does the trick. Find one with handles that are easy to squeeze and feature a non-slip coating. If you need to store garlic after pressing, use a glass container because plastic will hold the odor long after the garlic has been consumed.
If you’re looking for the best garlic press, check out our favorite picks vetted by a team of experts.
Mash Garlic To Make A Paste
Take minced garlic to the next level by mashing it. The easiest method: place peeled cloves in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin. Garlic paste yields higher quantities and can be frozen in ice cube trays for later use.
Roast A Whole Bulb
If you want to go all out, you can roast a whole bulb at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Just lop off the top, drizzle olive oil and cover in tin foil.
Are you a gardener looking to grow your own garlic? Give it a try; it’s said to be one of the easiest crops to grow.
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money. Checkout Don't Waste Your Money for product reviews and other great ideas to save and make money.