Miracle Pantry Item

I was fighting a cold for about 2 weeks so I popped into one of those “famous juicerys” that are sprouting up on every street corner and ordered myself a Garlic Elixir (AKA cure for the common cold). Have you heard about these elixirs? Picture the chic counterperson juicing 3 lemons, a handful of ginger and several cloves of raw garlic then pouring everything into a fancy shot glass. I desperately shelled out the $8 (ouch) and received my shooter. Words fail to explain the explosion of acidic, pungent, and overtly spicy flavor that overpowered my tastebuds. I may have even lost consciousness for a minute. It was intense, crazy, and surprisingly interesting all at the same time – like riding a roller coaster. It’s abundantly clear why the Romans thought feeding their soldiers garlic made them more courageous. As for my unrelenting cold, it ran for the hills, actually into the next galaxy. This got me thinking about this misrepresented and oddly nick-named (stinking rose) ingredient. Garlic seems to scare a lot of people (not to mention those creepy dudes from Twilight) because of its rather potent aroma. However, the nice people at Ohio State University figured out a way to neutralize garlic’s noxious effects. It’s as simple as neutralizing the sulfide compounds by eating an apple, sipping green tea or sucking on a lemon after your garlicky meal. No need to be scared of garlic anymore unless of course you are a vampire.

Garlic has a rich history, 7000 years worth, it was one of the first cultivated plants and native to central Asia. It was bestowed with sacred qualities and placed in the tombs of Pharaohs. This wonder ingredient has been used for various things throughout its history. However, just recently scientist have been able to  confirm its benefits of  improving circulatory, digestive and immunological systems in the body as well as lowering blood pressure, detoxification and healing. Garlic’s extensive health benefits include:

– Strengthening body’s defenses against allergies – Helps loosen plaque from artery walls – Help equalize blood pressure (both high and low) – Helps regulate blood sugar levels –  Kills and expels parasites from human body – Can thin blood similar to the effect of aspirin – Acts as an anti-inflammatory –  Reduces the incidence of common cold by 50% in a double blind, placebo-controlled study.

In order to receive these health benefits you need to eat garlic properly. When you crush, mince or cut garlic it releases a cascade of chemicals, however, you need to allow the garlic to sit on the cutting board for 15 minutes before changing the PH (i.e. the temperature), otherwise you lose a significant amount of the health benefits. Hmm, do you wish they taught this in science class. Me too!

Now the fun part, incorporating more garlic into your daily/weekly food? Try roasting (see video) a head of garlic at the beginning of the week then throwing a clove into your stir-fry, salad dressing, stews, sandwiches, mash potatoes and sautées. It’s an easy way to boost the nutritional value of all my meals.

Some creative inspiration:

Garlic Tahini Dressing

 Black Garlic Chocolate Cake

Roasted Garlic Aioli
garlic aioli

Pumpkin Garlic Souppumpkingarlicsoup

Storage Tip: Do not put garlic in the refrigerator or in a plastic bag, these things will cause them to mold and sprout. Always keep it in a location with good air circulation such as a mesh/wire bowl or paper bag in a well-ventilated spot. To remove the smell from hands, try washing them with soap and water then rub them against stainless steel.