Yes, GARLIC! It can do a number on your breath, but compared to what it does for your health, that’s a small price to pay.
As winter approaches and we brace ourselves for cold and flu season, today is not a day too early to add this easy, and flavorful food to your meals. Particularly when eaten raw, garlic has antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties. A new study shows it to be 100 times more effective than two common antibiotic drugs! According to Dr. Andrew Weil, garlic works well for the common cold, sore throat, ear infections, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and fungal, yeast and bacterial infections. Garlic also gets credit for cancer prevention and treatment and for the removal of heavy metals.
When you feel something coming on, make yourself some nice garlic toast: a couple of slices of whole wheat bread, butter or olive oil and then crush a good-sized clove of raw garlic on to it with a bit of salt to taste.
A simple all-purpose wellness measure is to add garlic at the end of the cooking time of recipes that call for it. I used to start by sautéing onions and garlic, until I realized that the heat and cooking time greatly reduces the health benefits of garlic. Now, I toss it in at the very end, keeping the garlic as raw as possible.
Salad dressings, sauces, spreads (such as pesto) and dips (such a hummus) present easy opportunities to consume additional raw garlic. Using a garlic press or a sharp knife (chopping very fine), you can add garlic to just about any sauce or dressing.
If the fear of bad breath is keeping you from eating as much garlic as you would like, you can give this method a try. Put a whole clove of garlic in a spoonful of applesauce and swallow whole. As long as you don’t cut or chew raw garlic, you won’t have the smelly situation afterwards.
Garlic keeps well so you can stock up the next time you are at the market, but what is really fun and easy is to grow it yourself! Fall is the time to plant it, so don’t wait! If you don’t already have a garden, you can start with a small patch of garlic this year. This weekend, turn over a small piece of earth, and plant several cloves of garlic. They will settle in underground until spring, when they will greet warmer and longer days with fresh new shoots. By early summer you will have interesting looking plants with a curlicue on the top. This is the garlic scape and should be cut off and used as you would garlic. Consider it your first harvest. Later in the summer, the single cloves you planted in the fall, will have transformed into full bulbs of garlic. Your second harvest. A phenomenal rate of return!
Click here for Step-by-step directions for growing your own garlic. If your ground is already frozen or you do not have garden space, you can grow garlic in containers.
As you watch fall take a few more degrees from the air and few more minutes of light from the day, enjoy one last round of spring-like planting. You’ll be giving yourself the tasty and very healthy gift of fresh garlic next summer. Enjoy!