That’s right: Garlic is not just for smearing on bread or tossing into pasta sauces; it appeals to the younger crowds, keen on big flavors and powerful sauces. People are so into garlic-derived health benefits that they’ll take it in pill form. Even those all over the world, from Korea to California (the long way round), are putting it in their food. In short, despite what it does to our breath, a smell so strong even moms won’t kiss us, garlic is a crowd-pleaser.
Garlic is wicked good for us, especially for our heart, joints, brains and digestion. It helps with everyday illnesses —colds, flus and muscle aches — and provides us with an assortment of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The easy conclusion is that we should enjoy it often, and luckily, there are many splendid ways to use it. We may just need a little more guidance.
1. Crush It
Before getting into the recipes, the first notable thing to do with garlic is crush or chop it then let it sit for a few minutes. Letting it rest helps to preserve some of the powerful enzymes we are after. To crush garlic, chop the cloves into small pieces and mash it in a mortar and pestle or simply on your counter with a large flat spoon or the flat edge of a knife (be careful!). You can then use this in hummus, in soup, a sauce, or just spread some on some whole grain toast for a nice, flavorful kick!
2. Spread It
Garlic ‘butter’ is nothing new, and it’s a beautiful thing on a toasted pita or hunk of French bread. But, also realize that there are many other garlic spreads and dips that can adorn a cracker or sandwich even. They make a great alternative to cheese and will do the body more good anyhow.
3. Roast It
Roasted garlic is sweet, rich deliciousness incarnate. It’s a simple thing to do by just placing the heads in the oven (you can cover in foil to keep them moist) and roasting for 45 minutes at 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roasted garlic can be used in many ways, such as in salads, dips, as a side dish to a stellar meal, or just devouring on whole cloves warm from the oven. And, it’s a pleasant option for those who don’t like a sharp, raw garlic flavor.
4. Let It Be
As good as roasted garlic is, throwing a bit of minced raw garlic into a bowl of soup, a sauce, some beans or whatever will add a real kick, spicy on the uptake and fire-breathing afterwards. And, it’s very good for us.
5. Blend It
Home-spun vegan cheeses are delicious, but throw some garlic into the mix and it may just be remarkable. Make a nut-based cheese isn’t as difficult as many of us think, and then we can even make specialty blends with herbs, spices and garlic.
6. Boil It
This is a personal favorite, and so it’s worth sharing. Having grown up with crawfish boils, when I crave that old familiar flavor, I like to take seafood boil (no seafood, just spices) and steep a pot of corn on the cob, potatoes, mushroom and garlic cloves.
7. Diversify It
For whatever reason, many of us think of Italian food when we think of garlic. In actuality, garlic is a massive component to many cultural cuisines, including Korean (known as “the garlic eaters”), Indian and much of the Middle East (See hummus).
8. Take It
Seriously, for the third time, garlic is medicinal, in a big way, so much so that we should consider including it in our diet as an effective preventative of cancer, cold, cardiovascular problems, cholesterol levels, and more. You can eat a clove a day to get the benefits or take a supplement if that’s more your thing than eating garlic everyday.
9. Grow It
Garlic is amongst the easiest vegetables to start growing. It’s will start to grow by itself if a bulb is left too long before use. Anytime those green sprouts start coming out of a clove, plant it and produce a new bulb. In the meantime, use the green garlic sprouts, which are milder but still have that garlic goodness flavor, in any recipe you want the taste of garlic without too much of a punch!
10. Spray It
While we are in the garden, why not take a minute to whip up and all-natural, homemade pest repellant for those more organically grown plants? It only takes a little onion, garlic and cayenne to ward off irritating bugs.
11. Smell It
While undoubtedly a few breaded cloves of deep-fried garlic would probably be tasty, this is more of an in-some-oil or stir-fried suggestion. The kitchen just erupts with mouth-watering aromas. Stop and smell the garlic.
12. Combine It
Garlic has many, many friends, including chickpeas (hummus) and tomatoes (pasta sauce). But, don’t skip out on pairing it with other buddies, like potatoes, beans and mushrooms. It sautés nicely with just about anything.
Well, hopefully we’ve touched on a few new ways for a few of us to put a little more garlic in the mix. It’s worth it for the flavor, it’s worth for the health benefits, and it’s worth it because it’s a very economical addition to the fridge.
Lead Image Source: Roasted Garlic Hummus