Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Superfood: Garlic

It turns out that garlic is good for more than warding off vampires....
Garlic is rich in allicin, allinin and ajoene which have a lot of medicinal benefits. They are antibacterial and antiviral. They reduce inflammation and pain in the case of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Regular consumption of garlic reduces the risk of colon cancer and stomach cancers as garlic is digested in the stomach and intestine. It also lowers blood pressure.
Garlic is a source of selenium, vitamin C, B6 and manganese.
"Older" garlic is more potent in these things, so aging garlic yourself is beneficial. Just buy in abundance, keep in an aerated place and use (at any time) but best after a week or so.
Garlic is more potent raw and mellows tremendously when roasted or baked, even sauteed.
Italians cook their garlic in sauces and dishes and then remove the chunks so that the flavor isn't overpowering.
Personally, I enjoy the flavor and the smell of garlic. But, word of warning. The scent of garlic leeches out your pores. So, be careful if this is an issue on a special occasion. One time when Veronica was visiting us at college, we had garlic bread for dinner. Because she was so tiny, the next day, she sweat garlic scent! This happened with Allie too. I guess, I tend to cook with a lot of garlic.

Roasted garlic.
Slice off the top of a head of garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil on top. Cover with parchment paper, then wrap in foil. Roast at 350 for 45 min until the garlic gets soft and collapses. Press garlic out of each clove and spread on bread or press garlic out of all cloves and store in the refrigerator in a glass jar for a week. Use in place of garlic in food (will be very mild) or use as a spread. Yum.

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