Known as the Stinking Rose, garlic brings out strong emotions in people. Some people absolutely adore garlic while others cannot stand it. Garlic has been around since ancient times and has been used as medicine, cooking and to ward off evil.
Garlic as a medicine – Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes for a long time. Monks wore garlic around their necks to protect against the plague in the Middle Ages, Hippocrates treated cervical cancer with garlic and gangrene was prevented in WW II with garlic poultices. Among the many benefits of garlic are the following; garlic suppresses tumor growth in some cancers, it can lower cholesterol, is used as a blood-thinning agent, has been used as an antibiotic, is anti-viral, is anti-fungal, can prevent heart disease, can lower blood pressure, is rich in antioxidants and can improve our immune systems.
To reap some of these benefits, you should try to eat garlic every day. Cook you meat with garlic, mince it and add it to salad dressing or make garlic toast. There are many creative ways to add garlic into your diet. Garlic poultices can be placed on wounds and inhaling garlic oil can help respiratory problems.
Cooking with garlic – To garlic lovers everywhere, garlic is the number one ingredient in most dishes whether it is breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. True garlic lovers simply cannot get enough of this delicious, and highly aromatic (some might say an assault on their olfactory senses) vegetable/herb.
Garlic comes as a bulb with 10-20 cloves. To use a bulb of garlic, first remove the outer papery skin until you get to the cloves. The cloves can be used in a number of ways. Recipes often instruct to chop, mince or crush a certain number of cloves. The finer a clove is chopped, the more intense the flavor. Crushing a clove brings out the strongest flavor of all. Adding garlic to a recipe near the end will make the garlic stand out while adding it to the recipe right away (which cooks the garlic all the way) makes the flavor mellow and sweet. Some people prefer using a garlic press. An advantage of a garlic press is that you do not even have to peel the garlic, it ends up in the press. The disadvantage, however, is cleaning the garlic press.
Finding garlic recipes is easy; there are thousands of garlic recipes online, books written about garlic recipes and classes made for cooking with garlic. Ask around and most people will gladly share their favorite garlic recipe with you. A traditional way of preparing garlic is by roasting it. In this, simply remove loose papery skin, cut off the top and bottom (very thinly, just so the garlic can stand), place in a baking dish, drizzle a little olive oil on top, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about an hour. When it is done it will be the color of brown sugar. After it has cooled, simply squeeze out the garlic paste onto crusty beard spread with butter, mix into mashed potatoes or eat as is.
Garlic to ward off evil – Garlic has been worn around the neck to protect against evil for ages. Odysseus defeated an evil sorceress with garlic, miners in Germany wore it to protect against evil spirits in mines and people all over have considered it as a protection against vampires. While all this is good fun, garlic has been shown to help (or ward off) diseases such as Alzheimer’s, sickle cell anemia, strokes and cancers. That, along with all the other health benefits, is another great reason to eat lots of garlic.