Garlic is not a seasoning; it's not even a second cousin to salt and pepper. It is a bulb -- that is, related to the shallot, onion, leek, and chive -- and a pugnacious bulb at that.
In Season: Fresh garlic is available year-round, but it's at its peak between February and June.
What to Look For: Find firm, plump bulbs with dry white or purple papery skins. Avoid yellowing skin or bulbs that are shriveled, feel hollow, light, or have brown spots, or those with green sprouts.
How to Store: Keep fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Unbroken bulbs can be kept up to eight weeks. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will last 3 to 10 days.