What To Look For When Buying Garlic At The Grocery Store

What problems can't be cured by garlic? According to Healthline, garlic has been used since ancient history for its many medicinal qualities. It can help prevent the common cold, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and might even help you live longer. On top of all of that, you can use it to fight vampires. Mental Floss says it was likely all of these miraculous healing principles that inspired Bram Stroker to include garlic as a vampire repellent in his novel "Dracula."

Garlic is a miraculous food with a long history. Grey Duck Garlic reports that garlic has been cultivated for more than 5000 years by humans, and is still produced mainly by China where it was likely first cultivated. While garlic production has had incredible longevity, those tasty bulbs can still go bad pretty quickly if you aren't buying the right ones. To get the most bang for your buck when you're shopping for this vitally important bulb, it's important to know what you're looking for when picking out garlic at the grocery store.

Key signs of fresh garlic

Shopping for garlic should be a sensory experience. According to Kitchn, the process of shopping for garlic mostly comes down to touch and smell. Epicurious says that when fresh garlic is given a gentle squeeze, it should be firm to the touch and not have a lot of give. None of the outer cloves should feel soft or dehydrated to the touch at all. That shows that this clove is already getting old, and may not last as long once you've got it home.

Kitchn says that once your garlic has passed the squeeze test the next step is to check its scent. Most people associate cooking garlic with its remarkably strong scent, but in this case, you're actually looking for a lack of smell. If you can smell your garlic bulb while it is still whole, that means that it is older, and should be replaced by something fresher.

Bon App├ętit also recommends finding garlic that also still has its green stalks and roots attached to it if you can. What you don't want to see is that the cloves have started sprouting at all. Epicurious points out that if there are light green stems peeking out from under the garlic's exterior, that means they're sprouting and it's been some time since they were harvested.