Thursday, April 19th is National Garlic Day, so we decided to do a deep dive into the flavorful, healthy, and hardy plants.
Garlic (Latin name Allium sativum) is in the onion genus, and is a close relative to shallots, onions, leeks, and chives. It has a history going back thousands of years and has been used for both food and medicinal purposes. Although 1–3 cloves of garlic provides no significant nutritional value, a 100 gram serving (typically through tablet or capsule supplement forms) is moderate source of certain B vitamins, as well as calcium, iron, and zinc.
According to the National Institute of Health, a lot of research has been done on garlic, but much of it consists of small, preliminary, or low-quality studies. However, the bulb is still used as a dietary supplement for many purposes, including “high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the common cold, as well as in attempts to prevent cancer and other diseases.” The National Cancer Institute recognizes garlic as one of several vegetables with potential anticancer properties but does not recommend using garlic dietary supplements for cancer prevention.
Some garlic culinary advice, courtesy of StrongerTogether.coop:
- The longer garlic is cooked, the milder the flavor.
- Garlic is great roasted, but don’t burn it or it will become bitter.
- Store unpeeled garlic in an open container in a cool, dry place, away from direct light.
- See a sprout? Throw it out!
Garlic recipes to try:
Spicy Roasted Garlic Hummus – The sweet, mellow, nutty flavor of roasted garlic and a little kick from jalapeno offer a delicious twist to this popular Middle Eastern dip.
Garlic Poached Mushrooms with Fresh Basil – These poached mushrooms make a delicious appetizer on their own or as part of an antipasto platter.
Pickled Garlic Cloves – This simple pickled garlic clove recipe is made by adding whole peeled garlic cloves to a flavorful brine.