A popular ingredient in meals from every corner of the world, garlic is a nutritious and flavorful way to pep up salads, vegetable dishes, sauces, soups and pastas.

Nutrition Highlights

  • It adds a distinctive flavor to any meal, yet garlic contains just 5 calories per clove.
  • Garlic cloves are also low in sodium, yet they make the flavor of a savory dish pop.


Garlic has been cultivated throughout recorded history. Romans, Greeks, Chinese and even ancient Egyptians valued it for its pungent aroma and distinctive flavor. Though the folklore surrounding the medicinal uses of garlic is often not backed up by research, this zesty bulb is still a tasty treat, and a little bit can go a long, long way!


In the U.S., garlic – the kind you buy in the grocery store, usually by the bulb – comes in two similar varieties. “Early” garlic has whitish skin and is in season during the summer. “Late” garlic hits the supermarket shelves – when else? – later in the year, and is off-white or yellowish in color.

How to Choose Garlic

Unlike picking apples or bananas, fresh raw garlic is a little harder to spot. To start, choose loose garlic – unprepackaged bulbs, the kind you'll find in your local produce section. Pick up a bulb, or head, of garlic. Is it white and papery on the outside? Do its lobes (called cloves) look yellow and bright underneath? These are signs of fresh raw garlic. If the bulb is damp, has brown spots or feels soft to the touch, it may not be the best choice.

How to Store Garlic

Garlic can be stored in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark pantry. Either way, it tends to stay fresh for up to a few months.

How to Cook with Garlic

Garlic has a sharp, strong flavor. For that reason, lots of recipes call for only a little raw garlic. Others may require more, especially if it is cooked or pan-fried first, which eliminates some of its sharpness.

What kind of taste can garlic add to a dish? Garlic is related to other plants like onions, chives, leeks and shallots, which can all lend a pungent, strong flavor that is perfect for use in soups, sauces, sandwiches and potato toppings. Just remember – usually, a little bit goes a long way.

Also, people who are allergic to onions, leeks, shallots or chives may be equally sensitive to garlic. Ask your dinner guests before adding garlic to a meal or side dish, or consider offering options with and without garlic.

Garlic in Recipes

For a main dish: These Roasted Veggie Wraps with Garlic Aioli are impossible to resist.

As a side, garlic makes a Creamy Corn Risotto that much more mouthwatering.

And who can resist rich Garlic Bread with Asiago Cheese?

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