Garlic, alias Allium sativum, is a vegetable that has been used for human consumption since the ancient time. It has been long a staple in the Mediterranean region, a seasoning and flavoring agent in Asia, Europe, and Africa, also a traditional medicine.
In cooking, garlic is used more often as cloves, though it is also used as bulbs as well. However, there are a lot of people who get confused with garlic clove and garlic bulb. Which one is which? Can you actually use both of them in your cooking recipes?
A garlic bulb is a full head of garlic. When you buy garlic from the market, more often than not, you are getting the full heads. When you break the bulb, it will turn into segments that still have some skin wrapping around them, which are called garlic cloves. There are only a few dishes that call for full garlic bulbs. A garlic bulb can be roasted to make a roasted garlic dish, or used in soups or stews.
A garlic clove, on the other hand, is a single segment acquired from breaking a garlic bulb. When used as a seasoning or flavoring agent, garlic is usually broken into the cloves, which are then chopped, crushed, or minced down finely. However, whole garlic cloves can be baked or roasted as well or used in soups and stews.
Garlic Clove vs Bulb
|Garlic Bulb||Garlic Clove|
|- The full head of garlic consisting of several cloves||- The single segment from a garlic bulb|
|- Less common to be used, usually to be eaten as a vegetable, either baked, roasted, or added to soups or stews||- More commonly used as a seasoning/flavoring agent, also sometimes baked, roasted, or put into soups or stews|
|- The taste is relatively stronger||- The taste is relatively milder|
So, you are now aware that the bulb is the full head while the clove is the single segment. Garlic bulb is usually consumed as a vegetable, while garlic clove is used for seasoning or flavoring.