Garlic is a member of the Allium family (which also includes leeks, shallots and onions). Individual cloves act as seeds and grow underground into a new head of 6-8 cloves. Dating back over 6,000 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. Even though Garlic is a common edition to American dishes today, wild garlic only grows in Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. However, in the early history of the Old World, garlic grew in areas of China, India, Egypt, and the Ukraine. In Egypt, garlic was so highly-prized, it was even used as currency.
Garlic is not only delicious, it is also considered a “super food.” Each clove contains a significant amount of the trace mineral manganese. It is necessary to incorporate a only a small amount of this nutrient in the diet, but manganese is extremely important for helping to maintain bone health and prevent osteoperosis. Manganese also helps with controlling blood sugar, and can help those with diabetes to manage their symptoms. In many studies, garlic has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health, by reducing blood triglycerides and total cholesterol.Garlic contains a substance called Allicin, which holds anti-bacterial properties similar to the effects of a weak penicillin. Some of its common medicinal uses include treating allergies and tonsillitis.
Storing & Cooking Information
Handling: You do not need to peel garlic cloves first if you are roasting them whole; the cloves will slip from their skins after cooking. To make peeling easier, simmer the garlic in water for thirty seconds to loosen the clove from the paper. To easily peel garlic when chopping, smash individual cloves with the side of a chef’s knife and then peel.
Storing: Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark, dry and well ventilated place. If stored properly, it will last several months. Warm temperatures encourage it to sprout. Peeled cloves can be refrigerated for short time. Keep in airtight container to avoid garlic odor passing to other foods.
Freezing: For longer term storage, garlic can be minced and covered/blended with olive oil and placed in small airtight container and frozen.