Garlic

Garlic (Allium sativum)

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

Flavour

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

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

Aroma

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

Pairing

Garlic is and essential ingredient in French, Italian, Spanish and Middle Eastern cooking. Garlic is often used as a base for stir fries, curries, soups and sauces and is gently simmered before onions and other spices are added. Garlic works wonderfully when matched with onions, ginger, basil, turmeric, greens, beans, spinach, chicken pork and seafood. Additionally garlic has the ability to modify other flavours such as tomato, chillies, onions and ginger

Growing

Propagation is by placing a single clove in the ground, for this plant to reach maturity will take 5 months. Bending the flower and stems to the ground will result in more focus being put in the growing of the bulb.

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

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

It is best to grow garlic in a sunny location that 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 pyramids were given garlic to give them strength. The first workers strike then occurred when, to save money, they removed the garlic from their 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, the used the garlic juice on swabs of sterile sphagnum 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 baptised 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. 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% more cancer cells destroyed.

Garlic oil can be used externally to help treat acne, ring worm and other skin ailments.

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

Facts about Garlic

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 flavour. 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 off?

As garlic gets older is does get a sharper and spicier flavour. 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 release the class garlicky aroma. It than reacts with bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath. A good way to counteract this smell is to eat parsley, or to drink milk while you are eating the garlic.