LAST year’s crop of garlic has stored very well in the cool, dark garage, but I noticed last weekend that some of the cloves were beginning to sprout and odd ones were turning mouldy.
Rather than throw them away, the majority were sound, so I roasted the cloves whole in good-quality olive oil.
As home-grown bulbs give cloves of various sizes, roast them in a medium oven (175ºC) for 10 minutes and keep checking them after that every five minutes.
You don’t want the cloves to go brown – this will give them a bitter, acrid taste.
Take them out of the oven as soon as they’ve got some softness, but haven’t gone to mush.
Bear in mind, they’re probably going to end up in dishes where they’ll be cooked some more.
Allow them to cool slightly, then spoon them and the oil into small herb containers, label and freeze.
They’ll keep in the freezer quite happily until your new crop is ready later in the summer. Just take a pot out and keep it in the fridge once defrosted.
* Roasted garlic has a much milder flavour than uncooked cloves.
It’s delicious spread on baguettes or rustic bread to form the basis of bruschetta, or mixed with butter and parsley for garlic bread.
Don’t be afraid to use the cloves whole in casseroles or pasta sauces and they are a great way to liven up mashed potato.