My life would be boring without garlic. What can I say, I love food and garlic definitely makes it more interesting. I mean seriously, it boosts the flavor of anything it’s added to and it has a million health benefits to boot. Could it be the most perfect plant? I don’t know, but what I do know is that garlic has become a staple in my life since I was a young’un.
Plus, it works great against vampires.
1. Garlic is a hardy, bulbous plant that produces hermaphrodite flowers and comes in several varieties. It is usually planted in the fall before the first frost and sprouts in the spring.
2. Garlic originated in Central Asia, where some varieties still grows wild (I would love to run through a field of wild garlic…)
3. Garlic has been used as both a medicine and a food dating back to Ancient Egypt. During WWI and WWII, it was used by soldiers to prevent gangrene and as an antiseptic. Since garlic has antibacterial properties, this makes sense, but I had no idea that they did this.
4. Now it’s time for science. Here’s how garlic destroys free radicals in your body: garlic contains a compound called allin which turns into allicin. Allicin is an oily compound that decomposes fast, which in turn, produces an acidic compound that reacts with free radicals and destroys them. So, basically, garlic acts like the Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator. Garlic is the one that stays behind to hunt down and destroy the bad guys while you get to save yourself and run to the chopper.
5. Garlic may reduce the risk of prostate, uterine, breast and colon cancer. In a 2011 study, garlic helped suppress growth of cultured human breast cancer cells. It was also found that the compounds reduce the effect of chemo.
6. It is believed that by squeezing a garlic clove and rubbing it on the scalp, you can prevent hair loss. You can also try this by rubbing garlic infused oil into your scalp. (Since, I’m basically as hairy as a gorilla, I have not had a need to try this but I’m interested to see if this works.)
7. The anti-bacterial properties in garlic can also help acne. Got a bad zit? Crush a garlic clove and rub it on that miserable little eruption. Leave it there for 15 minutes then rinse. You’ll notice a sizable difference. (Yes, I have tried this one and it actually works! Just make sure the skin where you apply the clove to isn’t broken or it’ll burn like hot lava.)
8. Garlic’s amazing ability to increase blood circulation makes it an aphrodisiac (Oooh la la!)
9. The day after a not-so healthy meal, (i.e. coney dogs- it’s a Michigan thing) my mom would always make a garlic intense meal. Her theory was that garlic would counteract all the bad stuff we ate and clear out our system. Well, turns out Mom was right. Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary heart disease.
10. The antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties of garlic are an immune booster as well. The next time you feel run down, whip up a delicious garlic soup and you should be feeling better in no time ( I have tried this too, and it also works!)
What’s the best way to make garlic?
Well, since there are a million ways to add garlic to anything it’s hard to pick the best method. One of my favorites is simply roasting garlic and then spreading it on crunchy toasted french bread.
Amazing Roasted Garlic Bread
1 large bulb of garlic
Coarse Sea Salt
Dried basil and oregano (optional)
Crusty Bread- French, Italian, or Ciabatta work nicely.
First, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop off the top of your garlic bulb and drizzle enough olive oil to keep it moist. Next, sprinkle some course sea salt across the top to really bring out the flavor. Wrap the bulb in foil and place on the top rack of your oven. Roast for roughly 30-45 minutes, depending on how big you bulb is. You want the cloves to be super soft so that they spread like butter.
When your garlic has finished roasting, remove from your oven and set aside. Switch your oven to broil. Cut your crusty bread into slices and dip one side into olive oil (I like to add dried basil and oregano to the oil for added flavor.) Place on a baking sheet and broil until toasted. When your bread is finished, take a clove and smear on top. Garnishing with some faux parmesan never hurt either.
This goes really great as an appetizer or accompaniment to any Italian dinner.
What are your favorite garlic infused recipes?
Also by Krystle: Super DIY Chai Concentrate
Photo: Wikipedia, K. Troia-Alvarado