Professional chefs, at home culinary masters, and foodies alike seem to all agree on one thing—fresh is better! With the organic and slow food craze in full swing, many are opting to become not just healthier eaters, but conscious ones as well. This is why an age-old argument in the culinary community is starting to increasingly gain more and more momentum. It has to do with garlic. Not just any garlic—jarred garlic!
Big deal, right? This seemingly harmless pantry staple doesn’t sound too threatening to most, but there are many opinionated cooks who would like it banished from all menus.The debate against the use of the prepared version of this beloved vegetable runs deep, with celebrity chef superstar Anthony Bourdain leading the movement. He has been quoted as saying, “Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screw-top jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.” Seems a bit dramatic, huh? Bourdain is known for his flamboyant, “tell it like it is” style, but the man might have a serious point.
Though it’s hard to debate against the fact that the taste of fresh ingredients is generally better than those that have been processed or prepared, there are also some potential safety concerns that relate to this product.
Processed, pre-minced garlic goes through a procedure that is anything but natural. For one, the garlic itself isn’t delicately shelled with care, instead it is literally blown off using a high-pressured air system. In addition to this, some companies use a bleach additive so that the garlic maintains its pearly white color. These processes don’t necessarily evoke any appetizing pasta cravings…
For those who like to ensure that they are eating locally and supporting nearby farms, it is nearly impossible to do this by buying jarred garlic. In fact, the idea of eating anything that is mass-produced or pre-cut is not even a route that many people take anymore. Gone are the days of TV meals and fast food—Americans are trading in their Big Macs for organic, locally sourced ingredients.Though we may strive to shop exclusively at farmer’s markets and make perfectly balanced meals with whole foods, not many of us have the time or money to do so. That’s why products like jarred minced garlic exist in the first place. Sometimes we sadly have to forgo taste for the sake of time and convenience.
Is your head spinning yet? Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of jarred garlic to make this a bit easier to digest, so to speak.
- It’s cheap! A 30 oz. jar will run you about $3.
- It’s convenient! No shelling, cutting, or smashing required.
- It’s cleaner than the alternative! No sticky or smelly hands.
- It may have the added ingredient of bleach!
- It’s rarely local or sustainable!
- Fresh garlic tastes so much better!
What are your thoughts on jarred minced garlic? Are you a lover or a hater of this controversial product? Tell us all about it in the comments below!