What You Need to Know About Garlic
A Short History of Garlic
Though garlic may be commonly used in cooking today, many people don’t know where it came from. This blog post will give a short history of garlic and how it spread to different parts of the world.
The use of garlic can be traced back over 7,000 years to central Asia, where it was used as both food and medicine. From there, it spread to other parts of Asia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. In the 18th and 19th centuries, garlic was brought to the Americas by immigrants from Europe.
Garlic has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes throughout history. It was used by the ancient Egyptians as a food flavoring as well as for embalming. In China, garlic was used to treat respiratory problems, Snake bites, and leprosy. In India, it was believed that eating raw garlic could help prevent baldness!
Nowadays, garlic is grown all over the world and is a common ingredient in many cuisines, particularly in Italian and Asian dishes. It is also still used for medicinal purposes, such as treating colds and high blood pressure.
Though it is now commonly found in kitchens all over the world, garlic has a long and interesting history. It has been used in both food and medicine for thousands of years and originated in central Asia. If you’re looking to add some flavor to your next meal, try reaching for some garlic!
How is Garlic grown? Season?
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used both as a food flavoring and as a traditional medicine.
The garlic plant’s bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. It is composed of many cloves that are covered in a thin white skin. The cloves themselves are rather small and contain a germ or sprout in the center. Each clove will eventually produce its own garlic plant.
Garlic grows best in well-drained soils with ample organic matter and full sun exposure. Loamy sand or sandy loam soils are perfect for garlic cultivation as they provide good drainage while still holding enough moisture and nutrients. Garlic can be planted in the fall or spring depending on your climate.
Once the garlic is harvested, it can be used fresh or stored for later use. When storing garlic, it is important to cure it first by allowing it to dry out slowly in a shady, well-ventilated area for three to four weeks. This process will intensify the flavor and allow the garlic to keep for several months when stored in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or root cellar.
Garlic is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and Chinese onion. It has been used as both a food ingredient and a medicine for centuries. Annually, garlic is grown in more than 160 countries and is a popular choice for home gardeners. The garlic plant grows to about 1-2 feet tall and produces a garlic bulb that is composed of smaller cloves. Each clove can be planted to produce a new garlic plant. Garlic is usually planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. The garlic bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant and can be eaten raw or cooked. Garlic is rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin C. It also contains sulfur compounds that give it its characteristic pungent odor. Garlic has been used medicinally for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including colds and flu, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Some studies have shown that garlic may help to reduce cholesterol levels and prevent cancer, but more research is needed to confirm these effects.
What is the history of Garlic? Where did it come from?
1. Garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family. It is native to Central Asia and has been cultivated for over 5,000 years.
2. Garlic was first mentioned in texts from ancient Egypt, where it was used as both a food and a medicine.
3. Garlic was introduced to Europe by the Romans, who brought it with them when they invaded England in the first century AD.
4. Garlic quickly became popular in Europe and was used in many different dishes.
5. In the Middle Ages, garlic was used as a remedy for a variety of ailments, including the plague.
6. Garlic was brought to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 16th century.
7. Garlic was first planted in California in 1854 by Chinese immigrants who were working on the construction of the transcontinental railroad.
8. Today, garlic is grown all over the world and is used in cuisines from all over the globe.
9. The United States is the largest producer of garlic in the world, followed by China and India
10. There are over 300 different varieties of garlic that are grown all over the world.
11. Garlic is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes
Varieties of Garlic
1. Hardneck garlic
Hardneck garlic is a type of garlic that has a hard, woody stalk. The cloves of hardneck garlic are also larger and easier to peel than those of softneck garlic. Hardneck garlic is typically more pungent than softneck garlic and has a shorter shelf life.
2. Softneck garlic
Softneck garlic is a type of garlic that has a soft, flexible stalk. The cloves of softneck garlic are smaller and more difficult to peel than those of hardneck garlic. Softneck garlic is typically less pungent than hardneck garlic and has a longer shelf life.
3. Elephant garlic
Elephant garlic is a type of garlic that is actually more closely related to leeks than it is to other types of garlic. Elephant garlic cloves are much larger than those of other types of garlic, and the flavor is milder and sweeter than that of other types of garlic.
4. Purple stripe garlic
Purple stripe garlic is a type of hardneck garlic that gets its name from the purple stripes that run along the outside of its cloves. Purple stripe garlic tends to be less pungent than other types of hardneck garlic, and its flavor has been described as being nutty and earthy.
5. Porcelain garlic
Porcelain garlic is a type of hardneck garlic that gets its name from its white skin, which is similar in appearance to porcelain. Porcelain garlic cloves are large and easy to peel, and the flavor is milder and sweeter than that of other types of hardneck garlic.
6. Rocambole garlic
Rocambole garlic is a type of softneck garlic that gets its name from the spiral shape of its cloves. Rocambole garlic has a strong, pungent flavor, and the cloves are difficult to peel.
7. Silverskin garlic
Silverskin garlic is a type of softneck garlic that gets its name from the silver skin that covers its cloves. Silverskin garlic has a milder flavor than other types of softneck garlic, and the cloves are easy to peel.
8. Creole Garlic
Creole Garlic is a type of soft necked purple stripe Garlic grown in Louisiana It was brought their during the 18th century by Canary Island immigrants..It shares characteristics with both hard necked and soft necked varieties having large easy to peel cloves with a nutty taste .However it can be more pungent then either variety .The plant produces fewer but larger bulbs then most varieties .It also stores very well .
9. Ajo Rojo This variety originates from Spain .It translates as “red Garlic”and indeed the bulb wrappers are red in color .The plants have 6-8 large easy to peel cloves per bulb with a deep rich flavor ideal for roasting .This variety stores very well only losing around 10%of its weight over 6 months storage .
10 . Chengdu This Chinese variety was developed in 1986 by crossing two local subspecies ( sativum and longistipitatum)It was released for cultivation in 1997 after passing government trials It grows well at high altitudes (up to 2200 meters)and so can be cultivated in areas where other varieties would not survive The plants have 6-9 large brownish purple cloves per bulb with light brown skins When raw it tastes like mild onions when cooked this taste disappears leaving just a hint sweetness It stores for around 3 months
Claimed Health Benefits of Garlic
1. Reduces the risk of heart disease
Garlic has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Numerous studies have shown that garlic can help to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, garlic has been shown to improve blood flow and prevent the formation of blood clots.
2. Reduces the risk of cancer
Garlic has also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, with some studies suggesting that it may be particularly effective against stomach and colon cancer. The active compounds in garlic are thought to help to protect cells from damage and kill cancerous cells. Additionally, garlic has been shown to boost the immune system, which can help the body to fight off cancer cells.
3. Boosts the immune system
As mentioned above, garlic has been shown to boost the immune system. This is due to the fact that garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Additionally, garlic has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infection.
4. Reduces inflammation
Garlic has also been shown to reduce inflammation, which is a major contributor to a variety of chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. The active compounds in garlic are thought to help to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body.
5. Lowers blood sugar levels
Garlic has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for people with diabetes or prediabetes. One study showed that taking a garlic supplement for 12 weeks resulted in significant reductions in fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c levels (a measure of long-term blood sugar control). Additionally, garlic has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which is another important factor in managing diabetes.
6. Prevents Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that leads to memory loss and cognitive decline. Dementia is a general term used to describe a decline in cognitive function due to aging or other factors. Several studies have shown that garlic can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by reducing inflammation and protecting brain cells from damage
The Micronutrients and Macronutrients of Garlic
1. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in metabolism and energy production. Garlic is a good source of vitamin B6, providing approximately 10% of the Daily Value (DV) in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in many important processes in the body, including the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, and the proper functioning of the immune system. Garlic is a good source of vitamin C, providing approximately 20% of the DV in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
Manganese is a mineral that is involved in many important processes in the body, including metabolism, bone formation, and wound healing. Garlic is a good source of manganese, providing approximately 15% of the DV in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
Selenium is a trace mineral that plays an important role in metabolism and thyroid function. Garlic is a good source of selenium, providing approximately 35% of the DV in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
5. Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber is an indigestible type of carbohydrate that helps to promote regularity and may help to lower cholesterol levels. Garlic is a good source of dietary fiber, providing approximately 2 grams per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
Protein is a nutrient that is essential for growth and repair. Garlic does not contain a significant amount of protein, but it does provide small amounts of some essential amino acids, such as methionine and cysteine.
Fat is a nutrient that provides energy and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.Garlic does not contain any significant amount of fat.
Carbohydrates are nutrients that provide energy for the body. Garlic contains carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber and simple sugars such as fructose and glucose.
Tips on how to select Garlic
1. Look for plump garlic bulbs that are firm to the touch.
2. Avoid garlic bulbs that are bruised, blemished, or have started to sprout.
3. Choose garlic that is stored in a cool, dry place.
4. If possible, smell the garlic before purchasing it to make sure it is fresh.
5. Select organic garlic if you are concerned about pesticide exposure.
6. Buy garlic that has been grown locally to support farmers in your community.
7. Choose fair trade garlic if you are concerned about the working conditions of farmers in developing countries.
8. If you are looking for a specific variety of garlic, such as elephant garlic or purple stripe garlic, make sure to check the label before purchasing.
9. Keep in mind that organic and local garlic may be more expensive than conventional garlic
Tips on how to store Garlic
1. Store garlic in a cool, dark place.
2. Do not store garlic in the refrigerator, as this can cause it to spoil.
3. Place garlic in a mesh bag or perforated container to allow for air circulation.
4. Do not wash garlic before storing it, as this can cause it to mold.
5. Inspect garlic regularly and remove any cloves that have begun to sprout or show signs of mold.
6. Use fresh garlic within two weeks of storage for best flavor.
7. Garlic can be frozen for long-term storage, but this will cause it to lose some of its flavor.
8. Dried garlic can be stored for up to six months in an airtight container.
9. Pickled garlic can be stored for up to one year in an airtight container.
10. Garlic powder can be stored for up to two years in an airtight container
Tips on how to prepare Garlic
1. Choose the right garlic
When selecting garlic, look for bulbs that are plump and firm with tight skin. Avoid garlic that is sprouting or has started to turn brown.
2. Store garlic properly
Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Do not store garlic in the refrigerator, as this can cause it to spoil.
3. Peel garlic cloves
Garlic cloves can be peeled using a paring knife or by gently pressing on them with the side of a chef’s knife.
4. Mince garlic
Garlic can be minced using a sharp knife or a food processor. If mincing by hand, first make sure to mince the garlic cloves as finely as possible.
5. Use garlic immediately
Freshly minced garlic will have the best flavor and can be used immediately in cooked dishes. If you need to store the minced garlic, place it in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
6. Roast garlic
Roasting garlic is a great way to bring out its sweetness and mellow its harsh flavor. To roast garlic, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place whole heads of garlic on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cut off the top of each head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30-40 minutes, until the cloves are soft and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool before squeezing the roasted cloves out of their skins.
7. Add garlic to recipes early
If you want a subtle flavor from your garlic, add it at the beginning of cooking so that it has time to mellow out. For a more pronounced flavor, add it towards the end of cooking or just before serving.
8. Go easy on the garlic
It’s easy to go overboard with garlic, so start with less than you think you need and add more to taste. Remember that the flavor of garlic will become more pronounced as it cooks, so you may want to err on the side of caution.
Tips for eating more Garlic
1. Add garlic to your favorite recipes.
One way to make sure you’re eating more garlic is to add it to your favorite recipes. Whether it’s a savory dish like chicken Alfredo or a sweet treat like garlic bread, adding garlic is a great way to get more of this healthy ingredient into your diet.
2. Use garlic in place of other ingredients.
Another way to eat more garlic is to use it in place of other ingredients that you would typically use. For example, if a recipe calls for onions, try substituting garlic instead. You may be surprised at how much flavor it can add to a dish.
3. Eat raw garlic.
If you’re really looking to up your intake of garlic, try eating it raw. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but raw garlic has the most health benefits. Just be warned that it can be quite strong!
4. Make a garlic-infused oil.
One way to make sure you always have garlic on hand is to make a garlic-infused oil. This can be used in cooking or as a dipping oil for bread. To make it, simply simmer some garlic cloves in olive oil for 10 minutes, then strain out the cloves and store the oil in a jar or bottle.
5. Roast whole heads of garlic.
Roasting whole heads of garlic is a great way to make them more palatable and easier to eat. Simply cut off the top of the head so that the cloves are exposed, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. Once they’re done, squeeze the roasted cloves out of their skins and enjoy!
6. Add garlic to soups and stews.
Soups and stews are another great way to sneak more garlic into your diet. The long cooking time allows the flavors of the garlic to really infuse into the dish, making it extra delicious.
7. Make a garlicky salad dressing.
If you’re looking for a new salad dressing recipe, why not try one that’s made with garlic? It’s easy to do – just combine some minced garlic with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and whisk until combined
Popular recipes with Garlic
1. Roasted garlic
Roasted garlic is a simple yet delicious recipe that can be used as a spread on bread or as an ingredient in other dishes. To roast garlic, simply cut off the top of a head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.
2. Garlic bread
Garlic bread is a classic recipe that is easy to make and always a hit with family and friends. To make garlic bread, simply spread butter or margarine on a loaf of bread and sprinkle with garlic powder or minced garlic. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until the bread is crispy and golden brown.
3. Garlic mashed potatoes
Garlic mashed potatoes are a delicious and easy side dish that goes great with just about any meal. To make them, simply boil potatoes until they are soft, then mash them with butter, milk, and garlic to taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
4. Garlic shrimp
Garlic shrimp is a quick and easy recipe that makes a great appetizer or main dish. To make it, simply sauté shrimp in a pan with butter, garlic, and white wine until they are cooked through. Serve over rice or pasta for a complete meal.
5. Garlic chicken
Garlic chicken is another quick and easy recipe that can be made as an appetizer or main dish. To make it, simply sauté chicken breasts in a pan with butter, garlic, and white wine until they are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
6. Spaghetti with garlic and oil
Spaghetti with garlic and oil is a classic Italian recipe that is simple to make but packed with flavor. To make it, simply cook spaghetti noodles according to the package directions. While the noodles are cooking, sauté garlic in olive oil until it is lightly browned. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan with the garlic and oil. Toss to coat and serve hot topped with Parmesan cheese
Interesting, little-known, trivia, and fun facts about Garlic
1. Garlic is a member of the onion family.
2. Garlic is native to central Asia.
3. Garlic has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
4. The word “garlic” comes from the Old English word “garleac”, which means “spear leek”.
5. Garlic is a perennial plant that can grow up to four feet tall.
6. Garlic bulbs can be white, brown, or purple in color.
7. There are over 300 different varieties of garlic.
8. China is the world’s largest producer of garlic, followed by India and South Korea.
9. California produces the most garlic in the United States.
10. Garlic is traditionally planted on the shortest day of the year and harvested on the longest day of the year.
11. According to legend, garlic can ward off vampires and other supernatural creatures
Images from Wikipedia