Garlic – not just for the Gallic!

A powerful food, flavour and medicinal wonder plant, the unattractively named ‘stinking rose’ has been popular for millennia. Pyramid-building slaves of Egypt were fed garlic to keep them going each day – look closely between the stones and you may see a preserved clove or two! Native to Central Asia, China is still the largest producer of garlic globally.

Fresh or roasted, the heady cloves will add to every dish – just don’t burn it or be too heavy-handed and you can’t go wrong. Some say it is best consumed family-wide, ensuring you aren’t the only garlic-eater within view, or should we say, within whiff! But keep it in moderation and you will love it. For most of us, half a clove is enough for seasoning a family meal. It should enrich but not overpower, and if your diners can pick there is garlic in the meal, you may have overdone it!

Peeling garlic can be fiddly and off-putting for even diehard garlic lovers. One trick is to push down hard on the garlic bulb with the palm of your hand, to separate the bulbs from the root. If necessary, use one hand on top of the other for extra punch. Once the cloves are separated, place them in a large bowl and put a plate over the opening. Hold the plate firmly in place and shake enthusiastically for about half a minute. Take a peek and you should see the skins now hanging loosely. Shake some more and, abra cadabra! You’ll find the loose skins come away very easily.

So how does it actually benefit our bodies? Freshly cut or pressed garlic emits hydrogen sulphide, a disinfectant that helps to kill germs. Once garlic is consumed, our body absorbs it into the bloodstream, which then carries it throughout the various organs, and thus helps our skin, intestinal and bladder function, and respiratory systems with its healing properties. Garlic helps cholesterol control, all sorts of clot reduction and will set you on a better health path with regular minimal use.

There are three main varieties of garlic: softneck, hardneck, or elephant.

  • Softneck: most garlic you see at the grocery store is softneck, which has the longest shelf life and is best suited to temperate climates. They have small, slightly spicy cloves that can be tricky to peel.
  • Hardneck: this variety originated from wild garlic, and often has fewer and more uniform cloves than softneck. It also has a hard core at the centre and will deteriorate much faster than its softnecked counterpart.
  • Elephant garlic: this variety is more of a leek than a garlic. As the name suggests, elephant garlic grows the largest of the three types, and has the mildest flavour. You can eat both the leaves and the bulb, which is less pungent than either the softneck or hardneck.

It’s a small addition that packs a big punch, so start eating your way to a healthier, flavourful, and much more garlicky lifestyle.

Recipe Inspirations

Cheese, Garlic & Herb Pâté

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Chicken Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons

Creamy Werther’s Original Dip- Thermomix

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