Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Garlic

Uses
Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment. It is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various regions, including eastern Asia, south Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America.

Garlic may be applied to breads to create a variety of classic cuisines such as garlic bread, garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini and canapé.

Mixing garlic with eggs and olive oil produces aioli. Garlic, oil, and a chunky base produce skordalia. Blending garlic, almond, oil, and soaked bread produces ajoblanco.

Garlic powder has a different taste than fresh garlic. If used as a substitute for fresh garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to one clove of garlic.

Availability
Dried is available all year round. Fresh garlic is in season from July to the start of October. You could try growing your own, too.

Prepare it
Using your fingers, divide the whole bulb into individual cloves (if you don't want to use the whole bulb, just pull away the number of cloves you need and leave the rest of the bulb intact, as it will last longer that way). Remove any green shoots, as they taste bitter.

For crushed garlic, either use a garlic press (you don't have to remove the skin) or lay the blade of a large knife on top of the clove and press it down hard with the heel of your hand. Then remove the skin. If you'd like to break it down even further, sprinkle with some salt and crush it again.

For chopped garlic, peel the skin off, then slice. You can then remove the skin. If any of the cloves have small green shoots, remove them before chopping, as they taste bitter.

Store it
Kept in an open container in a cool, dry place, dried, unbroken garlic bulbs will last for a couple of weeks. Separated cloves will keep for up to 10 days. Wet garlic should be kept in a cool, dark place and will last up to a week.

Cook it
Use dried garlic raw in dressings, salsas and butters; roast whole bulbs (25 minutes) or individual cloves (20 minutes) to serve with roast meat; fry (slowly, for just a couple of minutes) to use as the base for sauces, casseroles, soups. Roast fresh garlic (25 minutes).


Health and Nutrition Benefits of Eating Garlic
  • Garlic is known best for keeping cold at bay. Eating a clove of garlic when you feel like you may have an onset of cold, improves your immune system and strengthens up the natural defense system of the body.
  • Garlic is also credited with anti-oxidants that help fight cancer and cancerous tumors. Medical science has proof that garlic contains compounds like diallye disulphide and s-allycystein, which have anti-tumor properties and help in slowing down the growth of tumors and also reduce their size.
  • Garlic has compounds that help prevent any kind heart disease. It helps in lowering the cholesterol level in blood, which in turn makes sure there is nothing to block the arteries. It helps keep the aorta of the heart flexible and enables it to pump the blood effectively.
  • Garlic also helps in the control of blood pressure or hypertension. A chemical known as Ajoene is found in garlic which helps in thinning the blood, thus reducing clots from forming and reducing hypertension. Garlic was used in ancient China to treat people suffering from angina attacks and poor circulation.
  • Garlic is effective against fighting off a host of infections. It is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties and has been used since a long time to treat wounds, typhus, cholera, intestinal parasites, recurrent yeast infections and candida albicans.
  • Garlic can also be used as an effective aphrodisiac and may be used to treat impotence. Garlic produces an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase, which is required to get an erection. Garlic stimulates the production of this enzyme in people who have lower levels of it.
Side-Effects
Raw garlic is very strong, so eating too much could produce problems, for example irritation of or even damage to the digestive tract.

Recipes

Herb and garlic beef with crisp
Broccoli with garlic and chilli
Roast lemon and garlic drumsticks

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