Garlic

Garlic (Allium Sativum)

Garlic is one of the most popular of the herbs and spices for many reasons, one is the flavor it adds to dishes and the other is the myriad of health benefits it offers.

Flavor

Raw garlic has a very strong, pungent and heated taste.

 

Garlic has a strong, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. While cooking softens the flavor, roasting gives garlic a well-balanced, delicate, nutty flavor.

 

Aroma

When a garlic bulb is whole it has very little aroma. When a clove is cut or bruised the alliinase is released giving it the pungent, spicy and mellow smell it is known for.

Pairing

Garlic is an essential ingredient in French, Italian, Spanish, Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Garlic is often used as a base for most dishes and is gently simmered with onions and other spices. Garlic works wonderfully when paired with onions, ginger, basil, turmeric, greens, beans, spinach, chicken, pork and seafood. Additionally, garlic has the ability to modify other flavors such as tomato, chili Peppers, onions and ginger.

Growing

Garlic is grown by planting a single clove in the ground and takes 5 months for this plant to reach maturity. Bending the flower and stems to the ground will result in more focus being put on the growing of the bulb of garlic instead of the flowers.

 

If you’re in a hot environment, placing the clove in the fridge before planting will help with leaf development and maturation.

 

When the leaves have yellowed completely it is then time to dig up the bulbs.

 

It is best to grow garlic in a sunny location and make sure the plant is well drained. Also it is best not to plant garlic near peas and beans as it is believed that this will hinder growth.

 

History

Slaves building the Egyptian pyramids were given garlic to give them strength. The first ever recorded workers strike occurred when, to save money, they removed the garlic from the slaves diet.

 

A garlic clove was worn around the neck to ward off evil.

 

During World War I, soldiers depended on garlic for its antiseptic properties. They used the garlic juice on swabs of sterile moss. It was said that this prevented gangrene and sepsis when in the trenches.

 

It was believed that garlic had a significant role in restoring youth and health.

 

To prepare a child for life a baby was baptized by having a clove of garlic rubbed on them and then giving them a sip of wine.

 

Medicinal

Garlic has been used for a long time to fight colds and coughs and is found in many natural medicines. It has been found that garlic protected against cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure and reducing lipoproteins causing high cholesterol.

 

Garlic has been named the anti-cancer food. It has been researched that cancer patients eating a considerable amount of garlic had 140—160 percent more cancer cells destroyed.

 

Garlic oil can be used externally to help treat acne, ring worm and other skin ailments. Some podiatrists recommend garlic for foot fungus.

 

There is an old Spanish proverb that says, “where you find garlic, you find good health.”

 

Facts about Garlic

If your hands have a garlic smell on them you can remove it by running your hands under cold water while rubbing a stainless steel object.

 

Common Questions

Can I use garlic leaves?

Generally garlic leaves have a wonderful garlic taste; they can be substituted in a recipe for a milder flavor. The amount you substitute differs quite a lot depending on the potency of the leaves. It is best to judge via taste.

Does garlic go bad?

As garlic gets older is does get a sharper and spicier flavor. The garlic will begin to sprout though at this point the garlic can still be used if you cut the sprout off. The best way to tell if your garlic is no longer good is to look at it. If there are brown spots and the clove goes soft this means that it has started to rot so it is best not to consume.

Why does garlic make your breath smell?

When cutting into garlic, a reaction occurs that releases the classic garlicky aroma, it then reacts with bacteria in your mouth and causes bad breath. A good way to counteract this smell is to eat parsley, or to drink milk while you are eating garlic.