The Controversial $5 Amazon Item I Always Keep in My Fridge

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

I often have lofty goals when it comes to my dinners. Around noon, I’ll start to plan the elaborate meal I’m going to cook myself, complete with fresh bread and a glass of wine. (Hey, I deserve the best of the best.) I’ll spend my afternoons daydreaming about flaky salmon, moist chicken, or cheesy potatoes.

However, by the time the evening comes around, it’s a whole different story. At 7 p.m., when I finally drag my dejected body through the door, my dinner dreams wither away faster than you can say, “You’re no Ina Garten.”

The end result is always the same: I am way too tired to head to the grocery store. Instead, I gloomily look through my fridge, my freezer, and my pantry in order to whip up something using the hodge-podge of ingredients I have on hand. (Sound familiar?)

Badia Minced Garlic
Badia Minced Garlic
$5 for a pack of three

Enter: my controversial best friend, jarred minced garlic.

Yes, I know jarred garlic isn’t as good as the fresh stuff and yes, I do have Anthony Bourdain’s infamous quote on the matter memorized. He wrote in his book, Kitchen Confidential, “Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”

Now I mean no offense to Mr. Bourdain, who I respect as one of the greatest culinary minds of our time, but I vehemently disagree.

I do often use fresh garlic for the quick fried rices or sautéed spinach dishes I wind up tossing together on a busy weeknight. But when there is no fresh garlic in my pantry, isn’t it better to turn to the jarred stuff rather than forgo garlic altogether?

For a mere $5, I can ensure that I have garlic on hand for every pasta, shrimp, or broccoli dish that I make in a pinch. Not only is that not lazy, but I also think it’s smart — a smart way to add flavor.

One tiny jar of the stuff lasts for a long time in my fridge, so it’s hardly a huge investment. And this listing on Amazon includes three jars (the other two jars can sit, unopened, in my pantry), so I’m set for a while.

Also, if this tiny little jar in my fridge keeps me from ordering takeout, I consider it a win not only for my wallet, but also for my growth as a home cook.

Which camp do you fall in? Are you in favor of jarred garlic as a last resort or is it totally unacceptable to you? Discuss in the comments below!

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