Garlic is a bulb from the lily family, belonging to the same family as onions, scallions and leeks. Garlic has a compound bulb with as many as 20 cloves. When buying garlic look for tightly packed, firm heads of garlic with plenty of the dry papery skin covering. You do not want to buy garlic that has green sprouts coming from the clove, it is either old or was not dried properly.

Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark place (not in the refrigerator) and can be kept for several weeks.

To easily peel garlic, smash the clove with the flat side of your chef’s knife. The clove should pop out. If you are going to use a garlic press there is no need to remove the skin.

When cooking with garlic, the larger you leave the pieces the milder the flavor. If you add whole garlic cloves, be sure to remove them before serving. For a stronger flavor, used chopped, crushed, pressed or pureed garlic in dishes.

Garlic can overcook and turn bitter quickly so for best results, cook the garlic slowly over low heat. Don’t let the oil get so hot it smokes.

To remove the garlic smell from your hands wash your hands with fresh lemon juice and then soap and water.

I found a new product several years ago that I really love, frozen garlic cubes! They are available in some markets in the frozen vegetable section. Each frozen cube is equal to a clove and there are 20 in the package.

One finely chopped medium clove yields one teaspoon of garlic. Three finely chopped medium cloves yield one tablespoon and 12 finely chopped cloves yield one-fourth cup.