What is garlic?
Garlic is a well-known vegetable used to create the signature flavour in hundreds of dishes around the world.
In New Zealand, the most common variety is the white skinned soft neck bulbs that contain 10 cloves in each head of garlic. Much of the garlic in NZ is imported from China and is often smaller and not as flavourful. The New Zealand garlic usually has a pinkish colour and has a much stronger flavour. Farmers markets are fantastic places to find high-quality NZ garlic - remember to buy local when possible!
Many of the benefits of garlic are attributed to allicin, which is a compound produced when the garlic is chopped or damaged in some way. It is the allicin which gives garlic its unique taste and smell.
Allicin has been proven to reduce high blood pressure just as well as conventional medication, to have the desired effect you need to consume approximately 4 cloves of garlic per day. The cloves can be swallowed whole before a meal to avoid the garlic breath effect.
Garlic has the ability to reduce the severity and length of symptoms of the common cold, so start increasing your intake now to help protect yourself through the winter months.
The use of garlic in traditional medicine was for antibacterial purposes. Yeast, candida, fungi and worms can all be controlled with garlic, both internally and externally. New research has started to look at the use of garlic to control difficult to treat infections due to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Garlic extracts or supplements are often the best way to use garlic when treating infections.
How to use garlic?
Garlic is one of the easiest plants to add to your diet, here are a few ideas to help you increase your intake.
Garlic Salad Dressing
1 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely crushed
1 cup of parsley or coriander, finely chopped
½ cup of lemon juice
salt and pepper
Put ingredients into a clean glass jar, shake and enjoy. Keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge.
Chop the top of a head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil then wrap in tin foil then roast for 30-45 minutes. You will be left with caramelised garlic that can be added to salads, spread onto meat or fish, or used to flavour cooked vegetables.
Whole Roast Cloves
Place whole cloves still in their skins into the roasting dish with your vegetables. Enjoy the caramelised garlic with your meal.
Garlic is an essential component of hummus; when you make your own simply add a few extra cloves.
Soup and stock
I always add lots of garlic to soups and broths, it adds a great flavour and adds extra nourishment.
My Extra Nourishing Pestocontains garlic, add it to salads, use it as a dip or spread over cooked vegetables.
Just like sauerkraut and kimchi, you can also find facto-fermented garlic. It still has all the benefits of garlic as well as some gut-friendly bacteria. Win-win!