Jarred Garlic Is Great — And This Is the One Everyone Should Buy

published Apr 14, 2020
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I know there are plenty of purists out there who believe you should only buy garlic fresh, by the head. I am not one of those people. In some ways, I’m the exact opposite of those people. See, I frequently buy jarred chopped garlic, and whenever I run out I just buy the first jar I find at whichever grocery store I’m shopping at. I’m not picky.

I’ve never stopped to wonder if one jar of minced garlic is better than another — until now. Which is why I rounded up five different jars of garlic, and pitted them against each other. (Yes, I’m pretty sure I’ll have garlic breath for at least the next 48 hours but no one can smell me over Zoom calls!)

Why Jarred Garlic Is Great

Before we get to my official taste test, let’s take a minute to appreciate jarred garlic. With jarred garlic, you don’t have to spend any time peeling papery skins or mincing — and you don’t have to worry about de-stinking your hands after working with it! Stash a jar of minced garlic in your fridge and you’ve always got some ready to go at a moment’s notice for pasta, sauces, veggies, and more.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy fresh garlic; I’m merely saying this is nice to have on hand for busy nights or in case you run out of the fresh stuff. (Or if you can’t find the fresh stuff to start with; I know a lot of grocery stores have had a run on garlic lately.)

Does jarred garlic taste exactly like the fresh stuff? No, but it’s decently close and certainly gets the job done. And again, it has all those pros I listed above.

Credit: Kendall Wenaas

How I Tested the Jarred Garlic

I thought about cooking up several batches of garlicky pasta, but that seemed like a lot of work, and a lot of pasta for one taste test. Instead, I spooned a bit of garlic onto a plain water cracker, and tasted each option that way. This allowed the garlic to really shine.

Honestly, I didn’t expect to see many differences from jar to jar, as it’s just garlic (plus some oil or water and maybe salt). Once I started, though, I noticed major differences between each jar right away — and not in a good way.

A couple were too sweet for my taste, and another was super bitter. One jar had too much water, and another was more garlic mush than chopped garlic.

Without further ado, the garlic I’ll be using from now on is …

Credit: Kendall Wenaas

The Best Jarred Garlic: Polaner Chopped Premium White Garlic

The number-one thing Polaner Chopped Garlic has going for itself is that it tastes a lot like fresh garlic (more than any of the other jars of garlic did). Beyond that, it has a crisp, slightly sweet flavor, without being too sweet, plus enough bite to give any dish a good garlicky kick. Even eating it straight, there was no bitter aftertaste — just pure garlicky goodness (that, yes, even fresh-garlic purists may enjoy). From now on, this is the jar I’ll keep in my fridge door.

Buy: Polaner Chopped Premium White Garlic, $2.60 for 4.5 ounces

Do you have thoughts on jarred garlic? Discuss in the comments below!