Q: "I buy minced garlic you find in jars in the supermarket. Is this as good as fresh garlic?"
A: There is no doubt garlic from a jar is convenient – there’s no crushing or chopping required.
Some pre-prepared jars of garlic contain other ingredients such as water, oil, salt, sugar, acidity regulator and vegetable gum so the percentage of actual garlic can vary. Some jarred garlic is made from dehydrated garlic – reconstituted with water. Types made from fresh garlic will be pasteurised.
It’s difficult to say how much of garlic’s nutritional goodness is lost during this processing. It is also difficult to know unless it’s stated on the jar where the garlic in comes from. Some comes from Australia and some comes from China.
I think garlic in a jar doesn’t taste as good as fresh garlic. Garlic in a jar can sometimes have an ‘off’ flavour which is still detectable in cooked dishes. It’s also not as strong as fresh garlic so it takes a couple of teaspoons to give the equivalent flavour of one clove of fresh garlic. Of the pre-crushed products, I’ve found the Gourmet Garden brand, available in tubes and stored in the fridge, has good reliable flavour. It’s made from Australian-grown organic garlic and has minimal additives.