Can anyone imagine a world without garlic? This is one food flavoring that is good for a person and adds just the right flavor to many foods. People can buy fresh garlic bulbs, garlic powder, dried minced garlic, or other forms of garlic to cook with. One nice way to buy garlic is minced in a jar ready to add to any dish being prepared. Garlic has been used in cooking for thousands of years.
Garlic Can Be Purchased in Several Forms
People who garden can grow their own garlic from seeds or from cloves. But, for those who are not interested in growing their own garlic, it can be purchased as fresh bulbs, as minced garlic ready to use, as dried minced garlic, like garlic salt, or garlic powder. Spice World Inc Garlic is one source of garlic, shallots, and ginger. These are all good additions to the recipes we cook. When we use fresh garlic, we can crush it, mash it, or mince it to get different cooking benefits. When a person is in a hurry, they can reach for a bottle of minced garlic in water.
Garlic Is A Healthy Addition to The Diet
Garlic is one spice or food additive that is completely natural and has health benefits. Garlic adds a good flavor and a wonderful smell to foods. The aroma from garlic cooking comes from the allicin it contains. When fresh garlic is used, it has immune-boosting and cancer-fighting properties. Garlic is closely tied to onions, leeks, and shallots as all are members of the Allium family.
Garlic contains sulfur compounds that are released as it is chopped, mashed, or chewed. These compounds include allicin, diallyl disulfide, and s-allyl cysteine. They enter the digestive tract with food and then are released into the body for potential health effects. Garlic is low-calorie but has nutrients including manganese, selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin c, and fiber. Garlic also contains small amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, iron, vitamin B1, and phosphorus.
Garlic has been shown to have health benefits including the following.
- It can make the immune system function better to fight things like colds and other infectious diseases.
- Garlic contains ingredients that reduce high blood pressure.
- Garlic can also help regulate cholesterol levels.
- It contains antioxidants that help to reduce a person’s chances of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Eating garlic can also help the body detoxify heavy metals, avoiding their damage to the body’s organs.
- Garlic may also help improve a person’s bone health and increase the levels of estrogen in women.
These health benefits depend on how much garlic is eaten each day. But, it is nice to know that every time a person uses garlic in their cooking, they are giving themselves a small health boost as well as adding a pleasing flavor to their dishes.
Garlic Can Be Easy to Grow
For those who would like to grow some of their own herbs, garlic is not difficult to grow. It can be grown from seeds or from mature cloves taken off of the same garlic bulbs that are bought to use in food. The two main types of garlic grown are hard neck garlic, which is best for growing in colder climates, and soft neck garlic to grow in warmer climates. The hard neck garlic is more commonly found in stores and has an easier-to-peel skin, but the soft neck garlic has more cloves held together by layers of skin.
To plant outside for best results, plant the garlic cloves or bulbs in the fall in loose, well-fertilized soil. It needs to be weed-free if possible. Dig little holes that let the cloves be buried about two inches deep and eight inches apart. Cover the garlic and wait for shoots to come up. When the shoots are up, mulch them with straw. The first hard frost will kill the shoots. Put mulch over them.
Then, in the spring, pull the mulch back and wait for the new garlic shoots to emerge. Give them a little liquid fertilizer and water sparingly. Too much water is not good for these plants. The garlic bulbs will grow faster in warm weather and slower in cold weather. When most of the garlic leaves are brown and some upper ones are still green, on an overcast day, carefully dig and lift the bulbs out of the soil. Spread the garlic bulbs out to dry in a warm, shady spot. When the outer layer of skin is papery, brush off the dirt carefully, and clip the roots. It will look a little dirtier than commercial garlic but that is fine.
Growing garlic indoors in pots is also an option. Did you know that garlic greens are edible and make a good-tasting garnish? Choose the right 12-inch pot with a drainage hole and fill it with planting medium. Then, purchase good garlic bulbs at an online supplier or the local food co-op. Break up the bulb into cloves and plant the biggest ones in the pot, two inches down, in a circle. When the shoots come up and are tall enough, you can trim them to garnish food. Then, after about ten months, pull up the bulbs and let them dry and cure before using. Plant new garlic bulbs and the process begins again.
Garlic Recipes are Easy to Find
Garlic can be added to many recipes for salads, vegetable dishes, bread, meat, and hot dishes. Some of the recipes that can be found using garlic are mashed potatoes, one-pan chicken and veggies recipes, garlic and Parmesan shrimp dishes, Italian garlic bread, and pull-apart bread. Some cooks like to make roasted garlic bulbs as a side dish. Garlic is called for in many Asian stir-fry recipes and in fried rice. Pasta dishes often have garlic for flavor. Salads can benefit from the addition of garlic on its own or as a part of a salad dressing.
Soups and stews call for the addition of garlic to add to their rich flavors. Garlic is called for in many dishes with the exception of desserts and smoothies. And, who would want a pizza or a spaghetti sauce without a bit of garlic? When we make ribs or other barbecued meats, the sauce we brush on them will have garlic as an ingredient. Garlic is one easy-to-store herb that should always be kept on hand.