Garlic’s healing powers are renowned and it is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Did you know that garlic is over 5,000 years old? It has been revered by the ancient Egyptians, Israelites and Chinese. Modern science agrees that garlic has many health benefits and there is much research to support this. While garlic may not always keep the vampires away or ward off evil, it will certainly transform any meal into a tantalizing, bold, aromatic and healthy culinary experience. Fresh garlic is available in your produce market all year long. Garlic is arranged in a head, called the “bulb,” which is about 2 inches in height and diameter. This bulb has a number of small, separate cloves and each one is encased in a paper-like skin. The taste of garlic is unique and is pungent with a hint of sweetness.
When you are cooking with garlic, remember to chop or crush the cloves just before cooking. This stimulates the process that converts the powerful phytonutrient “alliin” into “allicin” which is attributed to many of garlic’s health benefits. Once you have chopped the garlic and it’s ready for cooking, wait a few minutes before adding it to your dish. This will produce more allicin in the garlic. Garlic is an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and copper. These are important nutrients for maintaining a healthy immune system. Garlic is beneficial for helping to lower blood pressure and even heal athlete’s foot. Garlic like onions, shallots, chives and leeks belong to the “alium” family. Also known as the “stinking rose”, garlic has been used to treat everything from cancer and heart disease to athlete’s foot and the common cold.