Allium sativum L., commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion family Alliaceae. Its close relatives include the onion, the shallot, and the leek.
Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor, as a seasoning or condiment. The flavour varies in intensity and aroma with cooking methods. It is often paired with onion, tomato, or ginger. The parchment-like skin is much like the skin of an onion, and is typically removed before using in raw or cooked form. An alternative is to cut the top off the bulb, coat cloves of garlic by dribbling olive oil (or other oil based seasoning) over them and roast them in the oven. The garlic softens and can be extracted from the cloves by squeezing the (root) end of the bulb or individually by squeezing one end of the clove.
Oils are often flavored with garlic cloves. Commercially prepared oils are widely available, but when preparing garlic-infused oil at home, there is a risk of botulism if the product is not stored properly. To reduce this risk, the oil should be refrigerated and used within one week. Manufacturers add acids and/or other chemicals to eliminate the risk of botulism in their products.
In Chinese cuisine, the young bulbs are pickled for 3Â–6 weeks in a mixture of sugar, salt and spices. In Russia and the Caucasus, the shoots are pickled and eaten as an appetizer.
It is widely used with kebabs, mezes and various meals in Turkish cuisine.
Immature scapes are tender and edible. They are also known as 'garlic spears', 'stems', or 'tops'. Scapes generally have a milder taste than cloves. They are often used in stir frying or prepared like asparagus. Garlic leaves are a popular vegetable in many parts of Asia, particularly Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and Korean cuisines. The leaves are cut, cleaned and then stir-fried with eggs, meat, or vegetables.
Garlic is essential to several Mediterranean dishes. Mixing garlic with eggs and olive oil produces aioli (\"garlic and oil" in ProvenÃ§al). The Spanish variant does not use eggs. Garlic, oil, and a chunky base produce skordalia (from the Greek and Italian names of garlic). Blending garlic, almond, oil and soaked bread produces ajoblanco (ajo blanco is Spanish for \"white garlic"). Le Tourin is a French garlic soup.
In Asia, garlic is fundamental to Korean and Thai cuisine. In Chinese cuisine, it is usually chopped and stir-fried with chopped ginger and other aromatics in oil as the basis of sauces. Japanese cuisine uses very little garlic.
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