Everyday Meals

In Defense of Jarred Garlic

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What I’m about to say might be disturbing to some people and, for that, I am truly sorry. But I’ve remained silent for too long. This has to be said: Jarred garlic isn’t that bad. 

Is it better to peel and mince fresh garlic? Sure. But will substituting a tablespoon of the jarred stuff ruin a recipe? Absolutely not, Fancypants McGee. 

My mother, the best cook I know, almost exclusively uses Spice World’s Minced Garlic and her food is seasoned to perfection—anyone who says differently can meet me in the parking lot. What makes her cooking so special isn’t what she uses, but how she uses it. 

She knows her flavors well and knows just how much (or how little) to employ. That kind of skill comes from years of practice, not from a finely chopped garlic clove. 

Again, I’m not arguing that jarred garlic tastes better or is better for you than fresh garlic. That’s just not true. Garlic in a jar is way less flavorful than its au naturale counterpart, and is sealed up with preservatives you're not gonna find in a fresh head. If you have the time and means, you should absolutely mince or press to your heart’s content.

My issue isn’t with the decision to use fresh garlic, it’s with the snobbery that comes with it. Some people don’t have the time/energy (or just plain don’t want) to peel, chop, or press and that’s totally fine. If we should know anything by 2019, it’s that it’s not cool to disparage people who live differently than you. 

And, for the love of God, relax about the jarred garlic thing, OK? People who hate the stuff act like utilizing it is the equivalent of seasoning your food with cyanide. In reality, it’s a perfectly adequate, cheap, and long-lasting substitute for fresh, albeit with a bit less flavor. In the inspiring words of T-Swift: “You need to calm down.” 

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