Garlic has been used as a culinary herb and medicine by many cultures and for many years. In Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece garlic was used to treat blood and heart conditions. According to the Chinese, garlic was a remedy for diarrhea, worms, and depression. Chinese culture, back in 2000 BC, believed that garlic was a useful plant. In India, also about 2000 years ago, garlic was used to improve heart function, as well as to fight off infections, worms, fatigue, and digestive ailments.
Onions, scallions, and chives all belong in the same family as garlic. If you choose, buy a solid clove of garlic and plant in some soil. Water moderately, keep in a sunny area, and soon you will see a young garlic plant sprouting up from the soil. If left alone, you will notice new garlic cloves growing from your first garlic bulb.
Medical experts have researched and discovered that garlic reduces LDL- cholesterol (the “bad” kind) and increase HDL – cholesterol (the “good” kind) by about 12 percent if using eight or nine cloves of garlic. Garlic has been used in the oil or pill forms, where the juices are squeezed out of the garlic cloves.
When it comes to cooking with garlic, several methods may be used by cooks. My first use of garlic came from cutting a clove in half and rubbing the juicy side of garlic against a wooden salad bowl. The garlic juices will soak into the wood and provide a garlic flavour to your salad.
Garlic soup is another delicious find, especially for a cold and chilly winter day. To add a bit of flavour, try roasting your garlic first before making your soup. To do that, first preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On a baking sheet, place your garlic cloves wrapped in aluminum foil securely. This will keep the moisture in your garlic. Bake for about twenty minutes. Once cooled, remove your roots and outer garlic skins, then smash your garlic cloves.
In a pot of two cups of boiling water, place 3 cups of diced potatoes, 6 cloves of roasted garlic, 1 teaspoons of sea salt (I like to use a smokey salt for a stronger flavour), and two cups of heavy cream. Stir slowly and turn down to simmer. You may choose to add freshly ground peppercorns. I like to use a variety of green and black peppercorns. Continue to stir every ten minutes. When potatoes are cooked, remove from stove. When your soup has cooled down to room temperature, place in a blender or food processor. If you are impatient and your soup is still too hot, you might end up with a mini-explosion of soup all over your kitchen counter! I’ve had that unfortunate experience!
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