Garlic and everything that is Garlicky!
Say garlic bread and the mouth starts watering. Isn’t it? Considered to be one of the essential ingredients of several global cuisines, it is one thing that every Indian kitchen has except the Jain kitchen since they do not eat garlic or onions. Not just the amazing flavor and the aroma this herb adds to the dish but also it is a treasure house of several health benefits. Therefore, in this blog, I will be discussing the health properties, types and a recipe or two where garlic is the king! Read on to know everything that is ‘garlicky’!
Let’s begin with the types.
1. Allium Sativum – This is the most common variety of garlic you will find. It is easily available in any grocery store or a vegetable market. It is also known as the culinary garlic and the best part is, this is the one that has the maximum healing benefits.
It has two sub varieties – softneck and hardneck. Although similar in their healing properties, these differ in the flavour, size, shelf and the usage.
a. Softneck Garlic – the name derives from the fact that the garlic has several layers of clove surrounding the central bulb with the outermost layer being the stoutest and inner ones become smaller as it nears the core or the centre. It has a beautiful white colour and you can use it as part of your kitchen décor because it is easy to braid. The easy to grow variety of Softneck garlic is Silverskin Garlic. This one is easy to store and one can store up to one year provided the environmental conditions are right. Artichoke Garlic is the second variety and has a milder flavour when compared with the Silverskin one but it has larger cloves and has purple spots.
b. Hardneck Garlic – Unlike the abovementioned variety, this one does not have a flexible stalk. The structure is like that of flower because it has a bubil and has tiny little cloves packed inside it. If you want to save time,then Rocambole is the one for you because its easy to peel and can stored for six months straight. Porcelain variety has the look of porcelain dinnerware. It has four cloves wrapped in a smooth papery sheath and can be stored for eight months. Famous for the baked garlic dish, Purple stripe has the distinct purple streaks underneath their sheaths and can be stored for six months.
2. Allium Ursinum – a wild variety that is native to the Northern Europe, this one is occasionally available in the farmers’ market. But it does not possess the goodness of the first kind.
3. Allium Vineale – Commonly known as ‘crow garlic’, it has very small cloves and is just a weed.
Now that we know the types of garlic, the next step is how should you choose the best one for that perfect dish.
a. Select those that are completely dry.
b. The bulbs should be plump and firm. Watch out for shriveled or the ones with green shoots coming out because that means, they are past their prime time which translates into either bad flavor or no flavor.
What are the health benefits?
A) It has the power to keep those nasty running nose at the bay. It lowers the cholesterol and helps to reduce the build up of plaque in your arteries.
B) It helps you to keep a check on your blood pressure levels if you are suffering from high blood pressure. Four cloves a day would do a fine job.
C) Rich in antioxidants, the garlic has anti-ageing properties and helps to keep your stress under control.
D) It is known to act as a preventive measure in keeping the Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia at bay.
E) Since it has the infection fighting properties, consuming garlic in a healthy way every day means that you can live longer since you will be dealing with lesser number of diseases and ailments.
F) If you are into sports, then garlic is the supplement you need because it has ‘performance enhancing’ properties. The ancient Greek Olympic athletes used to take it as a supplement.
Want to know some fun facts about Garlic? Read on!
1. It is believed that garlic has the power to keep the nasty vampires and evil spirits at bay.
2. The term for the fear of garlic is alliumphobia.
3. Hate that smell of garlic? It is because of the break that happens in the garlic cells when the cloves are separated.
4. Next time you make a cocktail, try adding a bit of garlic into it because infusing garlic in vodka is a common practice.
5. The ancient Roman and Greek brides used to carry bouquets of garlic and other herbs because it was considered a symbol of good health auspiciousness and that’s what a newly married couple needs.
6. If you want to save your rose garden from the attack of aphids, then sprinkle the buds with a mixture of garlic and water and that should act as a Eco-friendly pesticide.
7. Did you know that California, USA is the largest producer of garlic since 90% is sourced from that state? If you didn’t, now you know!
Enough info about the garlic, now let’s put this knowledge into practice.
Here is an easy-to-make garlic bread recipe!
a. Baguette/ Bread/ loaves of bread
b. half-a-cup of salted butted
c. 1tsp of garlic powder
d. 2 tsp of chopped parsley
e. 4 tsp of minced garlic
f. 1/2 tsp of olive oil.
How to make it?
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice the bread roll into half lengthwise. Shape is not important. If you have the regular bread slices just cut into halves or into quarters.
3. In a bowl, mix everything that is all the ingredients mentioned in the list and whisk till all the elements are combined nicely. Add a Parmesan if you like the cheesy flavor
4. Spread the mixture generously on to the slices of bread.
5. Bake them for a 10-15 minutes and voila! You are done!
Serve them hot with your favorite sauce and let that garlicky goodness fill your senses!