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Roasted garlic loses the harshness of fresh garlic and becomes mellow, creamy and rich in texture. Use the garlic in mashed potatoes, spread on bread, in sauces or -- if you're a true garlic lover -- eat it as a vegetable. Roast whole heads in the skin for ease of preparation and cooking. Roasting garlic is simple, it's hard to overcook it, and it can be done in the oven or a toaster oven with satisfying results.

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Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're using a toaster oven, preheat it to 400 F.

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Cut off 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top of each garlic head. This will make it easier to squeeze out when roasted.

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Peel away some of the outer layers of the garlic bulb's skin and add the garlic to a small roasting pan. Drizzle the garlic with olive oil, spreading it over the bulbs so they're well coated.

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Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast until the garlic is soft when pressed, approximately 40 minutes to an hour in the oven. In the toaster oven, roast for 30 to 35 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the garlic does not burn.

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Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can handle it. Use your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

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Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip

If you’re not going to use the roasted garlic immediately, store it in an airtight container with just enough olive oil to cover the cloves in the refrigerator. Use within three to seven days. Or, freeze mashed garlic or whole roasted cloves for up to three months. If you don’t have a roasting pan, wrap the garlic heads in aluminum foil and roast them.

About the Author

Charmiane Wilson

Charmiane Wilson's writing career began in 1992 as a contributing reporter and writer to "Hollywood Beat" entertainment magazine. This position lasted until 2005, when she returned to her passion of writing fiction. Her novel, "A Series of Prayers," was published in late 2008. She holds an associate degree in business from Axia College.