Glorious Garlic

by : delinda

Oh the glorious stinking rose! And the aroma! I love garlic. It's a mainstay of almost every cuisine. It can conjure up the vision of a fabulous meal. Others might say, go for the breathe mints. But there's no denying that garlic has been valued for thousands of years and has served a wide range of purposes. A little bulb with a big history. It has even been used as currency. In the days of the pharaohs, ancient Egyptians considered garlic so valuable that they placed it in tombs, including in King Tut's. Ancient Greeks gave it to Olympian athletes for strength and stamina. And in India, 5,000-year-old Sanskrit records describe its curative properties.

Why not try several varieties? There are 300 worldwide! The American version has a strong flavor and papery, white skin. Whatever variety you choose, fresh garlic--a little or a lot--is a healthy way to put that extra zing in almost anything. Select garlic with firm, compact cloves and no green shoots. Store garlic in a cool, dark place away from moisture and it will last several weeks. (Note: if you put it in the refrigerator, it can turn bitter)

Try roasting garlic, it becomes mellow and has a sweet taste. Cut off the bottom of one head and separate the cloves, leaving the paper covering on. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 F. for 20 minutes.

You can enhance the flavor of mashed potatoes with garlic. Just boil the garlic with the potatoes (2 large peeled cloves per potato) and mash together.

You can remove the garlic smell from your hands by rubbing them with a stainless steel spoon.

Garlic is not only a culinary aid, it is also one of the oldest known medicinal plants. Traditional Chinese medicine has made use of garlic for more than 3,000 years. Current research is trying to determine the role it could play in treating many health problems. Some are, protection from heart disease and strokes, possibly helping to prevent cancer, and increasing your immune system.

In addition, garlic may offer help for oily skin. Use garlic often, and delight in the benefits of one of the oldest known medicinal plants.