Garlic is a necessity in your house if you enjoy cooking. Still, there are a few different forms sold at the grocery store, and it’s not always clear which is suitable for various purposes. Comparing fresh garlic vs minced garlic is something that most home cooks have to consider at some point.
What’s even worse is having to figure out how to substitute fresh garlic for minced, and vice versa. Recipes using many cloves of garlic, like garlic bread, don’t always specify whether to use minced garlic vs clove garlic.
Is there a difference between the two? If so, is it going to make a significant impact on the way your food tastes?
This informative article on garlic explains some of the most significant differences between fresh cloves, mince garlic from a jar, granulated garlic, and garlic salt.
On top of that, learn how to adequately substitute minced garlic for garlic cloves. Everything you need to understand about these tasty bulbs is right here in one place.
What is a Garlic Clove?
Understanding the difference between fresh garlic vs minced garlic isn’t all that complicated when you take the time to understand more about the plant.
Garlic bulbs are what you typically buy at the grocery store. Each bulb is composed of many smaller garlic cloves. Whole cloves grow covered in papery skin that is removed before consumption. How many cloves in a head of garlic? It depends a lot on the variety.
Garlic plants are considered herbs and come from the Allium family. They also contain a compound called allicin that is known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
They aren’t only healthy, but have an intense flavor found in many savory dishes. Garlic is excellent in soup, stir-fry, pasta, salsa, and more. We consider garlic one of the most diverse ingredients for flavoring food.
There are several garlic species, many of which have unique shapes and flavors. A range from eight to 20 cloves is found in a single bulb.
There are also two varieties: hardneck garlic and softneck garlic. Softneck varieties are the kinds that we cook with most often.
They do not have a clear center stalk and contain between 10 and 20 cloves. Hardneck varieties have a thick, woody stem with between eight and 12 cloves.
What is Minced Garlic?
Lots of cooks substitute fresh garlic for minced because it requires less prep work. Raw garlic must be peeled, chopped, and cooked.
Though there are products like a garlic press or food processor to speed up the process, people often find that jarred garlic is the easiest option.
This type of chopped garlic has already been prepped and packed into cans or jars before being sold at the grocery store. There are also peeled cloves stored in oil, but it is usually preserved in water.
Another affordable option to add garlic flavor to your food is with dried garlic flakes or garlic powder. These forms are perfect for a marinade or puree. There is a big difference between garlic salt and garlic powder. Garlic salt uses ground, dried garlic cloves mixed with salt.
Fresh Garlic vs Minced Garlic
You now know what each type of garlic is, but you still might not understand all the differences between the two. Each one is useful in different ways, despite being used interchangeably.
It’s also possible to learn the way to freeze garlic bulbs so you can use them later. Fortunately, garlic adapts to many kinds of storage.
The Real Difference between Fresh and Minced Garlic
The main difference between fresh and minced garlic is that fresh garlic is whole, raw cloves, while minced garlic is the cut-up and preserved version of fresh garlic.
Minced garlic also tends to have a more robust flavor because the herb releases sulfur once it is cut. The finer you mince the garlic, the more pungent the aroma and taste will be.
Cooking with Fresh Garlic
Fresh garlic has numerous health benefits and is ideal for a burst of flavor. Fresh cloves are sliced, chopped, or crushed and then added to dishes to add bolder flavors.
Some of the best ways to utilize fresh garlic are roasting it, adding it directly to sauces, or turning crushed garlic into a paste. Some people prefer to store the cloves in olive oil.
For the way to store garlic in oil, carefully separate the individual cloves from the three heads of garlic. Use a small and sharp knife to trim the ends of each clove and peel away the skin. Set the peeled cloves in a saucepan and cover them with olive oil.
Turn your burner on low heat and watch it gradually warm until the bubbles gradually grow large enough, and they start to simmer slowly.
Cook the garlic over low heat for about 30 minutes or until the cloves are tender and cooked through without falling apart. Remove the garlic cloves and hot oil from the heat and add fresh herbs if using them.
Transfer everything to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the refrigerator immediately. Always keep your garlic and oil stored in the fridge to prevent botulism. Use the garlic within three weeks.
Cooking with Minced Garlic
Minced garlic is ideal when you need to distribute garlic over a dish evenly. The pieces are also much smaller and soften quicker compared to cloves.
It is possible to mince garlic at home. Grab a cutting board and peel your cloves. Start mincing the cloves into small pieces before storing them in oil or turning it into a delicious marinade with olive oil, herbs, and lemon juice.
How to Substitute Fresh Garlic for Minced
Cloves are always different sizes, and it isn’t common knowledge what size clove is equal to a different amount of minced garlic. In general, use half of a teaspoon of minced garlic for every fresh garlic clove.
Other Ways to Substitute Minced Garlic for Garlic Cloves
It’s usually a safe bet to substitute one-half to one teaspoon of minced garlic for a single garlic clove. But, what about garlic powder? Is garlic powder the same as granulated garlic?
Garlic powder and granulated garlic are much more concentrated. One teaspoon of garlic powder is usually equal to one fresh garlic clove. One quarter teaspoon of granulated garlic typically equals one clove.
It’s important to answer the question, “Do garlic cloves go bad?” Yes, with improper storage, they do go bad. Spoiled garlic has an off-smell, may be wrinkled, or exhibit mold. Throw these cloves away.
Most home cooked meals wouldn’t taste the same if we didn’t have fresh, minced, chopped, powdered, and all the other forms of garlic at our disposal.
There is something undeniably delicious about these herbs, and they make all of our savory food taste even better.
When cooking at home, it helps to better understand the ingredients you’re working with so that whenever you run into problems, you know exactly how to substitute them.
If this article comparing fresh garlic vs minced garlic has given you a deeper appreciation for this versatile plant, share these tips to substitute minced garlic for garlic cloves on Facebook and Pinterest.