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Friday, August 28, 2015

Garlic

Garlic:

About:

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus. Its close relatives include onion, shallots, leeks,  and chives.  Garlic is the most pungent member of the onion family.  The garlic bulb is made up of 8 - 12 sections or cloves.  Garlic is grown globally, but China is by far the largest producer of garlic  at 81% of the world's output. 
Garlic is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various regions, including eastern Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, eastern Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America.  
Garlic is available fresh, dried, and powered.  It is know many many as "the stinking rose".   Elephant garlic is a big variety that can reach a bulb size of up to a pound.

History:

Garlic is believed to be a native of central Asia and is the oldest member of the Allium family.  It has been in use for over 7000 years. It was known to ancient Egyptians.  In the Dark Ages people believed a garland of garlic would ward off evil spirits and the plague.  Garlic has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. 

Uses:

Aromatic garlic is used to season meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, breads, marinades, sauces, and pasta - just about everything except desserts.  Over the years garlic has been prescribed for everything from athlete's foot to baldness.

Nutrition:

Garlic is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin B6.  It is a very good source of vitamin C and copper.  Garlic is a good source of selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and calcium.

Health Benefits:

Research ha shown that garlic clearly lowers our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol., even though this reduction can be moderate (5 - 15%).  Garlic's sulphur containing compounds help protect against oxidative stress and unwanted inflammation.  
A 2013 meta-analysis concluded that garlic preparations may effectively lower total cholesterol by 11 - 23 mg/dl and LDL (bad) cholesterol by 3 - 15 mg/dl in adults with high cholesterol, if taken for longer than 2 months.  The same analysis found that garlic had a marginally positive effect on HDL (good) cholesterol, and that garlic preparations were generally tolerated with very few side effects.  
There is insufficient clinical research to confirm that garlic supplements may prevent the common cold.  
Whole garlic is a common flavoring in food some scientists have suggested may have a role as an additive to prevent food poisoning.  There is some evidence fresh garlic , but not aged garlic, can kill certain bacteria such as E coli, anti-biotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella entiriditis in the laboratory.

Season:

Garlic is available year round, fresh, dried, or powdered.

Selecting and Storing:

Choose garlic as you would onions.  The bulbs should be fat and very firm with no spongy areas and no green sprouts.  Sprouts indicate the bulb has been in storage for too long.  Store in a cool, dry, well ventilated place for a month.  Avoid refrigeration or plastic wrap.  Dampness quickly deteriorates the bulbs.

So.....Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but Good:


    Mediterranean Dressing:

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil 
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a bowl and give a quick wisk. 

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