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Garlic cloves in jar vs. fresh

Just wondering if anyone has found a big difference in flavor between fresh garlic cloves or WHOLE cloves that come in a jar.

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  1. Yes. There is no comparison. Fresh is overwhelmingly better.

    2 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      Ditto. Fresh is much better, IMO. The peeled ones in the jar have some kind of chemical off flavor to my palate.

      1. re: C. Hamster

        Agreed. Peeled garlic develops strange flavors. Use fresh.

      2. I'm glad to see these responses. I've never used the peeled ones and have a prejudice against them based on nothing :) But it made no sense that they would be as good. I can peel a clove in seconds; I'm not that busy that I need to go any faster than that.

        2 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          While the whole ones might be better than the jarred chopped garlic, which is hideous, they do have a very "off" flavor and aroma, like niki said.

          I have a friend who insists on buying jarred garlic and ginger and then using them all the time. You would think if you actually liked garlic so much that you would insist on the real thing. But she thinks the jarred kind is easier and doesn't make her hands smell.

          1. re: C. Hamster

            I'd rather be with someone whose hands smell like fresh garlic than like stale garlic from a jar.

        2. I really like the pickled/marinated garlic you get in a jar as a nibble with drinks, but I don't think this is what you're referring to here.

          1. It's funny, I once saw an episode of Unwrapped (I think) where they went over the production/packaging and process and they basically mechanically peeled fresh garlic and then packed them in a jar that was either vacuum sealed or flushed with nitrogen or some other gas. I would have expected that at least when you first open the jar they taste perfectly fine, but like others...they just always taste a little off to me.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jzerocsk

              I saw that episode too, I have tried their (Christopher Ranch) jarred garlic, and for me the garlic definitely loses something once the cloves have been seperated from the head and the paper from the garlic clove.
              Could be all in my mind, but I'd much rather peel the garlic myself. It's just part of my cooking process and I'd miss that.

              1. re: chef chicklet

                And the peeled garlic in jars goes bad (develops mold) much faster than an unpeeled head in your dark pantry.

            2. Fresh is absolutely better and since it is so cheap, I can't see why anyone would ever buy them in a jar. I once had a roommate who claimed to be a foodie but had a jar of chopped garlic in the fridge. I would roll my eyes whenever she would use it...

              1. Heavens, do we have unanimity here? That doesn't happen very often, does it? Wow.

                2 Replies
                1. re: c oliver

                  Well, I'll be the devil's advocate.

                  I use a ton of garlic in my cooking. So using the jarred peeled whole cloves probably saves me 5 minutes of prep time. I really hate peeling several heads of garlic at a time. I don't miss it as part of my cooking routine. I still have plenty of other routines left, like freshly toasting and grinding spices (which I find to have a bigger payoff).

                  Yes, I do notice a difference in flavor, but only if used fresh. But most of the time my garlic gets cooked, and there is no discernible difference in flavor at that point.

                  I get my jars from the Chinese market. They've only gotten moldy if I've had them for over two weeks, which rarely happens. Same price per lb as intact.

                  Seriously, I think already peeled whole garlic is better than sliced bread.

                  1. re: Joe MacBu

                    I've had similar good experience with whole peeled garlic in a plastic tub from HMart. A tub lasts me about 2 weeks. It beats reaching into my onion bin and pulling out sprouted or dried out cloves of garlic.

                2. honestly, I use to buy the jar ones but they would go moldy after 2 days in the fridge. So I'm over throwing money away and buy fresh.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: faye01

                    I bought a jar of the Christopher Ranch peeled garlic cloves to use when I was helping with an event, and had to make an entree that had a ton of garlic in it, for 60 people. I loved the convenience, and was very surprised how well the garlic kept in the refrigerator. I used about 1/3 of the jar, and after about 6 weeks (not up to the expiration date), the garlic was stlll very fresh. I chopped what was left in the food processor, and packed it into pint canning jars with some olive oil, and put them into the freezer. I got 3 full pint jars out of what was left, and I am still using that garlic six months later. Fresh garlic smells more pungent than the jarred garlic, but I've been pleased with the garlic taste of everything I've cooked. I wouldn't have tried it if I didn't need so much, but I think it's an OK substitute. WAY better than the chopped garlic you get at the grocery store.

                  2. What is that juice in the jar? Never jarred, only fresh.

                    1. I'm reminded also of the second and third reasons I buy herbs in bulk. #2 is cost since I'm not paying for a jar (plastic or glass), a lid, a label, the machine that shoots it into said jar,etc. I'm also helping the environment a teensy, weensy bit by not using those container pieces. (Okay, I'm from NoCal and we're kinda out there about that kinda stuff but still....) Even better than recycling is not generating the waste to begin with. Okay, off my soapbox :)