One reader, John, started a conversation with me a while back about garlic - and I completely forgot to post it. Si here is our exchange about garlic:
Garlic...good topic! To be completely honest, I don't pay attention to the "organic" or "non-organic" varieties. In fact the "organic" thing has gone too far, I think, in this country. Virtually anyone who meets a VERY minimum of conditions can label their food "organic" so I'm more likely to buy fresh & local than I am organic - because I know it's probably better because it was grown/made nearby. So I don't think that makes a difference, especially in taste, with garlic. However I do always buy mine loose - not boxed or bagged. I often feel that the ones in the bags or boxes are of lesser quality. I like to pick up a bulb and feel the weight & firmness of it. I have often times bought elephant garlic (for recipes that call for 3-4 cloves) because one clove is huge and the flavor is great. And I have even taken the cheating route a few times and bought a small container of peeled garlic cloves. I hate peeling garlic, so it was out of convenience - but you get to see the cloves and the flavor is usually just as good (if you're really chopping it up). Black Garlic sounds amazing though, and I might just have to buy some. I've never seen it before in stores, so I'm guessing I might have to find it online at a specialty store.
And since we're on the topic of garlic - have you ever tried garlic scapes? I think that's a slang name - they're basically the green shoots of a garlic plant with the tiniest bulb at the end (which would eventually turn into garlic). They are available in spring and are delicious sauteed or chopped into a stir fry. And if you like garlic you should also seek out some garlic flowers - they're generally round & purple. They have a wonderfully mild garlic flavor and are delicious torn up and sprinkled over a salad or even a steak. Hmm...you'd think I like garlic, the way I talk.