- Handy for warding off vampires and other evil creatures
- A “Stinking Rose”
- “Nature’s Wonder Drug”
- A staple in Italian food everywhere
- Deliciously pungent and incredibly healthy
- And…It starts with a ‘G’!
Yes… we are talking about one of the greatest ‘filled with goodness’ gifts from nature--garlic.
And we are talking about it because April 19th is National Garlic Day!
What Is Garlic Anyway?
Garlic is funny in that it appears to be everywhere–and yet it somehow defies definition. Like onions, shallots and leeks, garlic is a member of the lily family.
Garlic, which grows underground in the form of a bulb, is best known for its intense and unique aroma. Undoubtedly one of the most all-pervasive ingredients in any kitchen, its unique flavor can be found in every cuisine in the world–from Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and North America.
Since garlic has an exceedingly powerful taste when eaten raw, most cook garlic before eating it.
And when it comes to cooking, garlic is a moveable culinary feast. This infinitely versatile bulb is delicious sautéed, roasted, baked or stir fried and always succeeds in dressing up almost any dish.
Garlic–A Journey Through Time
An annual April party, National Garlic Day is a special time for garlic lovers everywhere to unite and celebrate the beauty of garlic.
And while no one really knows who came up with the idea for National Garlic Day, we do know that garlic itself has had a colorful and lengthy history, dating back over 6,000 years.
Originally from central Asia, garlic has spread in location and popularity to every corner of the world, with major garlic production taking place in Egypt, China, India and Russia, to name a few.
Throughout history, there have been a lot of old theories and traditions associated with garlic, including its ability to ward of vampires, and its traditional placement in bridal bouquets in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures.
For centuries garlic has also been referred to as the “stinking rose” because of its highly overwhelming smell and taste, and its reputation for causing bad breath.
But, old stories aside, garlic’s fame and popularity does not just come from ancient history–it is still a hit in the 21st century.
To give just one example, here in California, we have a city (Gilroy) which is called the Garlic Capital of the World. Famous for its garlic crop, Gilroy hosts an annual summer garlic festival, which attracts thousands of people.
Garlic Is Awesome Because…
Some say that garlic is “Nature’s Wonder Drug” because of the many health benefits associated with it.
Garlic, and other vegetables in the Allium genus have been mainly studied in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
In vitro studies suggest that garlic may be one of the most potent cancer-fighting vegetables capable of inhibiting the growth of breast, brain, kidney, lung, pancreas, and prostate cancer cells.
Garlic’s protective mechanisms against cardiovascular disease include inhibition of platelet aggregation, as well as antioxidant, anti-clotting, and blood pressure lowering effects. Garlic also seems to protect cells against DNA damage.
It is important to note that the health benefits are only seen when garlic is eaten raw! If you want to eat the garlic cooked, make sure to crush the garlic first and wait 10 minutes before adding it to the pan!
Some may love garlic while others might completely hate it, but there is no denying that it is excellent for your health.
So…are you ready to celebrate National Garlic Day?
To my mind, the very best way to celebrate is by eating garlic!
To help you along with that, we have created a recipe to remember, Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. A mock mashed potato recipe, it is lighter than regular mashed potatoes but still has almost the same feel and consistency. And the garlic in it makes it absolutely irresistible.
Whichever nickname you prefer to use for garlic, let’s all tip our hats to this beautiful bulb. An amazing addition to so many dishes (and our health!), garlic has a lot to offer and deserves to be celebrated.