Garlic (Allium sativum)

                      

     Ah!  There is nothing else like it.  That distinct aroma of garlic softening to golden in the gently heat

of olive oil, foretelling the start of another delicious meal soon to come. 

     Garlic is best harvested when the seeds growing on the top of the plant have ripened.  Using a shovel, dig up the entire plant including the root bulb, or garlic head.  To dry the bulbs, set the plants away from direct sunlight on a screen or rack.  Let the garlic dry for a day or two, then brush the dirt off the bulbs, make bundles or braids, and hang them to finish drying.  Garlic bulbs do not need to be refrigerated.  It

is best to store them in a cool place away from direct sunlight, such as in a basket on a pantry or cabinet shelf.  Remember to sow the garlic seeds from the seed heads back into the garden for next year's crop. 

     Garlic is both a culinary and a medicinal herb.  All parts of the garlic plant are edible. When using the fresh herb in cooking it is best to chop, press or slice the cloves 5 to 10 minutes before adding them to

your cooking.  This will allow the healing properties of the phytochemical allicin to develop and

withstand the cooking process.

     Eating 1 to 3 cloves of fresh garlic each day is an excellent way to support the immune system for garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties.  By virtue of its antimicrobial properties, garlic will also inhibit the growth of any new infection.  Furthermore, garlic is renowned to reduce mildly high blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque in the arteries.  As an expectorant for the lungs, fresh garlic is useful for coughs, bronchitis and pneumonia.  Garlic acts a digestive aid by stimulating bile production. *

     Nutritionally, garlic is a source of calcium, chromium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, and vitamins C and B6.  That being said, there is only a minute amount of these nutrients in the 1 to 3 cloves dose that is recommended medicinally.

     For those concerned about garlic breathe or do not like the taste of garlic, taking it in a supplement form that is encapsulated or enteric coated should alleviate the problem.  Also, eating some fresh parsley after consuming garlic will freshen your breath.  If the garlic scent is coming out in your sweat, you are taking too much of it.  Cut back on the dose or try it in a different form.

                                   Try my recipe for Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Chicken.

      Ingredients:  

                          one 4 - 5.5 lb. whole roasting chicken 

                          5-12 cloves of fresh garlic

                          3-9 sprigs of fresh rosemary

                          4-5 sprigs fresh parsley

     Place the peeled and smashed cloves of garlic, the rosemary and parsley sprigs into the chicken cavity.  Adjust the amount of herbs according to your personal taste.  Salt and pepper the whole chicken.  Place the chicken in a Dutch oven or roasting pan.  Cover and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour or so.  When a thermometer inserted into the flesh of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it is done.  Let the bird rest 10 - 15 minutes before carving. 

References:

Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth, Sharol Tilgner, ND, Wise Acre Press, 1999.

The Ultimate Herbal Compendium. Kerry Bone, Phytotherapy press, 2007.

Nutritional Herbology, Mark Pedersin, Wendell W. Whitman Co., 1994.

The World’s Healthies Foods, George Meteljan, George Meteljan Foundation, 2007.

 

     *When using any herb, remember to check for all contraindication and interactions.  Among other contraindications, high doses of garlic should not be used with blood thinners.  It is also advised to discontinue garlic 10 days before surgery.  For nursing women, consuming an abundance of garlic can adversely affect the taste of mother’s milk.

                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Copyright Donna Burka Wild 2021

 

 

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