By MARCUS MOORE (Founder / Spiceologist / Nutritionist / Chef)
Let’s jump right into this LOL… NO!
- Garlic is not a Mosquito Deterrent
- Wearing Garlic Won’t Prevent a Cold
- Garlic Does Not Detoxify Your Blood
- Garlic Should Not be Used to Treat Acne
- Garlic doesn’t have magical powers
- Garlic Should Not Be Used on Snake Bites
- Garlic had nothing to do with curing the Bubonic plague
- Garlic does not ward of Vampires
Here’s the naked truth about garlic.
Garlic is part of the Allium family which also includes onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. Garlic is a superstar ingredient that gives us a nutritional punch and adds wonderful flavor to many recipes.
As a chef, I love Black garlic, it’s one of my favorite garlics to use for its rich aroma and dark sweetness. It’s not commonly used and only found in specialty stores, but once you start using it’s hard to go back. Some of the most common types are:
- Hardneck Garlic
- Softneck Garlic
- Creole Garlic
- Garlic Scapes
- Garlic Ramps
- Elephant Garlic
Here is a little bit of GARLICistory:
The name garlic comes from the old Anglo Saxon word garleac, meaning ‘spear leek.’ A century ago, French writer and physician Henri Leclerc coined the term ‘stinking rose‘ after roughly translating garlic’s ancient Greek name, scorodon.
The ancient Greeks and Egyptians used garlic for cooking and also believed it had healing properties. India has a long history with garlic, as do many middle eastern and east Asian countries.
Incredibly, there are 600 varieties of garlic in the world, categorised into two main subspecies – hardnecks and softnecks. The most well-known form of garlic is the bulb with nine to twelve cloves.
On a basic level, garlic is a delicious addition to savoury dishes, sauces and dressings but it’s not considered a health food, although it has some health properties. Here are some of the benefits of garlic I found to be credible and based on research include:
- Whole garlic contains the amino acid alliin. When chewed or crushed, alliin combines with alliinase to make allicin. Allicin is the main active ingredient in garlic. It turns into other sulphur-containing compounds which can boost the disease-fighting response in white blood cells when they encounter a virus. Most studies into garlic’s health benefits have focused on allicin.
- Allium vegetables are a good source of antioxidants and a fat-soluble form of vitamin B1 that our bodies use more readily than water-soluble B1. Garlic also contains compounds that may have an anti-ageing effect by counteracting the glycation process. Glycation ages the tissues through impaired elasticity of blood vessels, skin, and tendons and may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Garlic May Help Reduce High Blood Pressure
- One of the most recent findings is the effect garlic has on high blood pressure. A review of 11 studies of garlic supplements and blood pressure showed garlic reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 4.6 mmHg.
- Using garlic instead of salt to flavour food is also an excellent way for you to manage high blood pressure.
- Garlic Does Have Antibiotic Properties
- Garlic is considered one of our best natural options because its chemicals have antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic properties. To date, studies have shown garlic is an effective treatment against E coli bacteria and drug resistant tuberculosis. While garlic has some antibiotic benefits, it shouldn’t be a substitute for any medications prescribed by a doctor.
NOW LETS RECIPE IT:
How To Buy Garlic 101
When shopping, choose plump, firm bulbs with tight cloves. Bulbs that appear drier, where the skin easily falls off, are likely old. If you slice open your garlic clove and notice that there is a green stem inside, this indicates that your garlic is sprouting and past its prime. Some find this green stem to be bitter and pungent, but it’s still okay to use the clove — simply remove the green stem prior to cooking.
How To Handel Garlic 101
When garlic is chopped, the release of sugars and oils can make for a sticky exterior, and this sometimes makes it difficult to work with. If you don’t like handling garlic, a garlic press is an excellent solution; they’re a little more work to clean, but they quickly produce evenly minced garlic.
- Roast. Roasting garlic is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy it. This process mellows the pungency of the bulb and releases the sugars, giving it a rich caramel flavor. For the ultimate in roasted garlic try our Shrimp Taco Tuesday with roasted garlic (https://www.cookbycolor.com/blogs/news/shrimp-taco-tuesday). Garlic can also be roasted whole. To do so, slice off the top of the head of garlic and drizzle it with avocado oil. Season with Sassy Me and wrap with foil. Bake at 350F for approximately 40 min. Once the roasted garlic has cooled, simply squeeze the bottom of the head of garlic and the roasted cloves will pop out.
- Eat it raw. Many people are afraid of raw garlic due to the fact it’s often overdone in recipes. However, with the right balance of acidity and seasonings, the addition of raw garlic can be fragrant and pleasant.
How Not To Handel Garlic 101
- Don’t Burn it. Burnt garlic has a very distinct, bitter and unpleasant taste. To prevent burning your garlic when cooking in a frying pan, always add it toward the end of your process. Garlic can act as a great addition to a grilling marinade, but since it burns easily (especially on the grill), it’s best to use whole crushed cloves when mixing your marinade, removing them before you start grilling.
- Don’t Overuse it. While many of us enjoy garlic, sometimes we love it too much. Some say that if you can taste it, there’s too much in the recipe. While I disagree with this, garlic should be used wisely as too much overwhelms the dish, masking the other flavors.
And one more thing:
Try our amazing gourmet blend Mushrooming Around – is an unexpected burst of flavors that makes you smile when you smell the shiitake mushrooms, sweet banana, crushed garlic and a dash sweet white onion. Perfect for those moments when your mood needs a little pick me up or when you want to nestle in from a rainy day.