Ahht, ahhht, ahhh isn't garlic the best! I use it all the time and love how it bring the flavors of food together.
1. Garlic contains two well known phytochemicals, allicin and ajoene. Allicin, responsible for it's distinctive aroma, is released as soon as you bruise the clove. The more bruising and cutting the more allicin gets released. It's this compound that may lower cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of stomach cancer. Ajoene is responsible for garlic's ability to make blood platelets less sticky. Completely cool that those small little things can be so powerful!
2. Garlic dates back over 6,000 years native to central Asia. Used widely in the Mediterranean, it was also so coveted it was found in King Tut's tomb in Egypt. It's also known to ward off vampires and equally as powerful, lesson the symptoms and duration of the common cold.
Occasionally, my hubby will enjoy lunch at a Mongolian stir fry place. Upon entering the house he is detected at first wiff and risks sleeping outside if his scoop of garlic was too heavy handed. I LOVE garlic but not as a body spray.
3. In the spring, foodie snobs can find garlic spears or garlic scapes at the farmers market. Genius on the part of the farmer or you if you grow your own. Instead of letting the bulb go to flower, and discarding the stem and spear when you harvest the cloves, you eat it! Simply cut the spears and roast (see pintrest) or sauté with other veggies.
We saw these at Pikes Place in Seattle this past June. Totally unusual and totally cool!
SIMPLE BRUSCHETTA with GARLIC
- 1 garlic clove crushed and finely minced
- 4-5 tomatoes, diced (seeded if seeds bother you)
- 5-10 basil leaves chopped
- tiny bit of salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil (or more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)
If these ingredients are handy they only elevate the level of deliciousness:
- artichoke hearts (packed in water) - diced
- hearts of palm (packed in water) - diced
- fresh mozzarella - diced
- cucumber - diced
Mix and let merry for flavors to blend at least 30 minutes prior to digging in. If you want extra garlic goodness, rub a clove of raw garlic atop your piece of toasted bread...BAM! Goodness is waiting for you to enjoy.
I usually make this when I can grab crusty artisan bread off of the bakery 'day old' racks.
GROW YOUR OWN GARLIC
Garlic is a crop you actually plant in the fall. Growing you own garlic is easy peasy.
- Buy an extra head (or several) of garlic at the garden center, farmers market or grocery store.
- Break a head of garlic into cloves, keeping the papery skin attached.
- Plant NOW - it's something you plant in the fall - garlic cloves about 1 inch deep in loose, healthy soil. Space cloves 4-6 inches apart in all directions.
- Water occasionally until the snow comes and harvest mid to late spring. When the tops start to dry up you know they are ready to pull from the ground.
- Remove from the soil and dry for a few weeks. Mine dry on an old plastic sled in the garage. Knock the dry dirt off and rub loose skins off. Store in a cool dry place for your own garlic all winter long!
Happy Learning, Eating and Growing!