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Appetite for life: History of garlic reaches back 6,000 years

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Special to the Citizen

A staple in Mediterranean cooking, a member of the onion family and a well-known way to ward off vampires, garlic’s long history can be traced back to Asia more than 6,000 years ago. Used for culinary and medicinal needs, garlic has been a staple plant in many cultures, including the ancient Egyptians.
In the culinary world, garlic is used to flavor oils, it is grated or chopped for garlic bread and it is added to Italian pasta dishes. It can be used raw, sautéed or roasted. Roasting it makes it softer, sweeter and milder. It can even be pickled and served with Italian giardiniera as an appetizer. Some chefs use the leaves and shoots of the garlic plant in stir-fry dishes.
Along with garlic’s uses in cooking, it also has medicinal values. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic can be use to prevent heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and it may protect against cancer. Garlic is also known to be high in antioxidants which block free radicals that can damage cell tissue.
So, whether you are making lasagna, protecting yourself against disease or just have some pesky vampires annoying you, integrate garlic into your life and make it an ingredient you always have on-hand, and experiment with it in multiple recipes and preparations.

Note: This can be used in many, many recipes, like my recipe for Stuffed Hatch Peppers found on my blog, sarafinaskitchen.com

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of garlic
  • olive oil for drizzling

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
2. Slice the very top of each head of garlic off, revealing the cloves below.
3. Gently remove the loose skin, leaving only the skin around each clove.
4. Pour a small amount of olive oil over each head of garlic, allowing the oil to soak in, before repeating a second time.
5. Wrap the heads of garlic in aluminum foil, into the shape of a pouch.
6. Roast in the oven for one hour.
7. Allow them to cool and remove them from the foil.
8. Separate the cloves and dice or mince as needed.

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