How Many Cloves Are in a Head of Garlic?

Cloves of Garlic

Garlic is one of those things that I just can’t get enough of. I use it in my cooking almost every day, roasted Garlic, fried with veggies and even pickled Garlic are all common in our house. Although most recipes recommend using just 1 or 2 cloves somehow we still manage to consume around two or three heads of Garlic a week!

No matter how much I buy in the weekly shop I never have enough, this got me to thinking…how many cloves are there in a head of Garlic?

When you pick up your Garlic at the supermarket, you’re buying a head of Garlic. Otherwise known as a bulb of Garlic. When you break the bulb open, it falls apart into smaller segments and if you know how many segments are in a head of Garlic then you’ll have an indication as to how many heads (or bulbs) you’ll need to last you till your next weekly shop.

When preparing Garlic you’ll need to peel off the dry shell from each individual piece. Each of these individual segments is called a clove of garlic.

Bear in mind that not all Garlic heads are built the same. The number of cloves you get in a head of garlic can depend on a number of factors. These include the Garlic’s growing conditions and the variety of garlic you’re using.

The general rule of thumb is that your average store bought head of Garlic can contain anywhere between eight or eleven cloves. Less common varieties can deliver an astonishing thirty cloves of Garlic per bulb! Now that sounds like my kind of bulb.

How Much Garlic is too Much?

If you haven’t cooked with garlic before its possible to get a head and a clove of garlic mixed up but you’ll recognize the mistake immediately because the garlic flavor will completely overpower the dish. If like me Garlic is your thing then that’s all well and good but, you should be careful if you have dinner guests because they won’t be able to taste anything other than Garlic which might ruin the dining experience for them.

Here are couple of tips to help you to avoid using too much Garlic…

After dicing up a clove of Garlic it may not look as though you have much to work with but you should proceed with caution. These little segments can really pack a punch, use them sparingly. Most amateur cooks make the mistake of adding too much garlic to their food and for those who don’t share my garlic loving pallet, it can be really overpowering.

Why not try just adding half a clove of Garlic at a time as some species of Garlic are stronger than others. Believe it or not the Chinese grown garlic and imported garlic typically has far less flavor than the garlic you grow in your own back yard.

In conclusion, it’s hard to define exactly how many cloves are in a head of garlic because there are so many variables. Every head of Garlic is different, even identical varieties of Garlic can have a different clove count. Most likely though the Garlic we grow in the garden or pick up from our local store can have on average anywhere between 8 and 11 cloves per head.

Written by Shane O'Connor

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