Garlic is an ingredient that I use in cooking almost daily. Vampires don’t stand a chance in this house! My husband is intolerant to onions and so I rely on garlic as a key flavour in lots of dishes. We all know that garlic is good for us, with some even classifying it as a superfood but do you know why? Garlic contains Vitamin C, Manganese, Selenium and antioxidants. It is a natural antibiotic and is said to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and reduce the chances of some types of cancer. My mum always tells me to take garlic if I’ve a cold or am run down. Garlic and honey tea anyone? Garlic contains the compound Allicin, which is formed when a clove is crushed, minced or chewed. It is this allicin which provides most of these benefits.
How to Store Garlic
It is best to keep garlic in a basket, a small bowl with ventilation holes or a paper bag. Storing in plastic bags or sealed containers is not recommended. My garlic house is aerated and stores garlic on the counter-top while still looking pretty! I received this as a gift from Uncommon Goods, an online store with a mission to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly goods while supporting excellent creative design. The site is great for choosing unusual gifts and you can search by who you want the gift for, for example presents for friends or for kids etc. I am looking forward to browsing through their gifts for Christmas page shortly!
Raw or Cooked Garlic?
There are many articles on the interweb as to which is better – raw or cooked, with the general consensus being that the benefits are much less when garlic is cooked especially if it is at a high temperature. If garlic is cooked whole and the clove is not crushed or chopped, the allicin won’t form so the health benefits are reduced. However if you chop or crush the clove and leave for 10 minutes before cooking, the allicin will still form and the benefits will be preserved. So how would you eat raw garlic you might ask? Well, some people will eat the garlic raw directly off a spoon but there are easier ways!
5 Ways with Raw Garlic
Pesto – homemade pesto is a great way to get more raw garlic into your diet. Mix with al dente pasta, drizzle over a salad, schmear over fish before roasting, there are hundreds of ways to use pesto and you can put lots of minced raw garlic in any homemade pesto. You can even add some to a shop bought pesto before serving.
Salad dressings – balsalmic vinegar, minced garlic and olive oil is a good basis for a salad dressing.
Salad – sprinkling some crushed garlic into your salad is a great flavour hit.
Toast – good old garlic bread but make your toast first and then spread with your butter alternative mixed with crushed garlic.
Salsa – tomatoes, white wine vinegar, chopped green beans and minced garlic make for a lovely salsa.
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