All About Garlic

All About Garlic

April 19th is National Garlic Day! Consider this your chance to learn everything you've always wanted to know about garlic, from its health benefits to the best ways to incorporate it into a meal. It's safe to say that this vegetable definitely does more than just make your breath stink!

The Basics
Garlic is a member of the onion family, which is actually part of the larger lily family.  There are two main types of garlic: common garlic and hard neck garlic.  As you’ve probably guessed, common garlic is the most well-known and widely used.  In Northern areas, garlic is generally planted in the autumn or early winter, and its shoots will begin to sprout in the spring.  However, in warmer, Southern locations, it is often planted in late winter, around February or March.  The garlic season peaks from March to August, but garlic is available year-round.  It very adaptable and has been successfully grown in both cold and warm climates.

Pick garlic that is firm and tightly packed.  Look for big, heavy bulbs that do not feel soft or spongy.  Also, avoid garlic that has begun to sprout. 

Health Benefits
Garlic’s health benefits are numerous.  So numerous, in fact, that garlic is often referred to as a “wonder food.”  To start, eating garlic on a regular basis can greatly benefit your cardiovascular health.  Garlic can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, which can help prevent heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.  Garlic can also fight against inflammation, viruses, and bacteria.  As a powerful antioxidant, garlic can help prevent certain types of cancer.  It contains important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, and manganese, which combine together to give it its potent antioxidant properties.  

Fun Facts
1. During the Middle Ages, some people used garlic in an attempt to ward off the Black Death.
2. Garlic has also been said to ward off evil spirits and vampires.
3. Ninety percent of the garlic grown in the USA is grown in California. 
4. In ancient Greek and Roman weddings, the bride would hold bouquets of garlic and herbs instead of flowers.
5. Garlic is sometimes referred to as the “stinking rose.”

Garlic Cauliflower

Garlic French Onion Soup

Garlic Herb Cheese Dip

Garlic Shrimp and Pasta

Garlic Crostini

Garlic Chicken

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing

Roasted Garlic Potatoes

Do you have a garlic recipe you’d like to share?  Submit it here.

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