This week in our CSA basket we got some delicious green garlic! Also known as spring garlic, it’s a little more mild than the softneck variety you get at the grocery store. I also love green garlic because it is dug up in the spring as soon as the green top comes up and so it can be used more like a green onion. No peeling individual bulbs! We’ve been cooking with garlic all week. Check out the “Recipe” page for some of our recipes. So let’s talk about garlic shall we?
Garlic is in the aromatic vegetable group (no surprise there) and cousin to the onion. Aromatic vegetables deliver a deep flavor when heated or crushed. Garlic is the most pungent of all the aromatics and can be enjoyed raw or cooked- although if consumed raw please wear a mask. Nutritionist get pretty stoked on garlic and other aromatic vegetables because it offers a great substitute for fat or salt. In fact, the earlier on you can learn to substitute salt for garlic or other flavorful herbs and spices, the happy your vascular system will be!
And even more great things about garlic...
Garlic is an immune booster and loaded with Vitamin C and B6. Garlic may reduce atherosclerosis and is touted as being a heart healthy super food. As little as one clove a day may cut the risk for prostate cancer in half! Studies have also shown garlic to be protective against stomach and colorectal caner. Garlic is rich in phytochemicals which causes the cholesterol-lowering and cancer-fighting characteristics.
While researching garlic I came across some stuff that was news to me and totally interesting. John A. Milner, chief of the Nutritional Science Research group at the National Cancer Institute, said that the only way to obtain the cancer-fighting benefits of garlic is to chop or crush it. Crushing garlic releases the active allyl sulfide compounds (the good phytochemical), BUT immediately heating garlic inactivates the crucial enzyme in the chemical cascade. So although your food may smell amazing while cooking and taste even better in your mouth, you miss out on the health benefits. Hold up, WHAT! I saute garlic and oil for every meal, and all this time I’ve been missing out?! Well the answer is yes, but I learned if you crush or mince the garlic and let it sit for 10-15 minutes the chemical process has time to complete before being disrupted by heat. So a good tip is to let it sit, pre-crush/mince your garlic and store so it’s ready and on hand for cooking, or consider buying the jars of minced garlic at the store.
I also learned that garlic does not need to be refrigerated necessarily. It stores best between 32-38 degrees, so depending on how cold you keep your fridge, maybe keeping it in a cool storage room or space is better. So there it is folks, garlic. Please stay away if you can’t stand the garlic breath because I will sporting it like perfume for the next couple weeks!