Garlic is an ingredient few cooks would be without. As a general rule, the smaller the garlic bulb, the stronger the flavor. Most garlic sold in shops, however, is not classified in either shape or form and in practice you will simply pick up whatever you need, either loose, in bunches or on strings. Garlic grown in a hot climate is likely to be the most pungent, and fresh seasons garlic has a subtle, mild be used raw, for example in salads and dressings.
Garlic is reputed to gave therapeutic properties, the most significant of which is that it lowers blood cholesterol, thus helping prevents heart disease. Raw garlic contains a powerful antibiotic and there is evidence that it has a beneficial effect against cancer and strokes, and increase the absorption.
There is some confusion in food stores between this variety and large-growing varieties of garlic. Elephant garlic is actually more closely related to the leek than to garlic proper. It has a mild, creamy garlic flavour and the cloves are very large in comparison with those of ordinary garlic.
This is a variety of garlic that has been specially bred to develop just one, large clove, making it easy to peel and prepare. It is useful for dishes using a lot of garlic, but expensive to use in any quantity. The flavour is fairly mild.
Garlic bulbs should be firm and round with clear, papery skins. Avoid any that are beginning to sprout. Garlic bulbs keep well stored in a cool, dry place; if the air is damp they tend to sprout and if it is too warm the cloves eventually turn to grey powder.