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25 Jun 2006

Wonderful Smelly Garlic

At home in the medicine cabinet as it is in the kitchen, garlic is a wonderful bulb. From Ancient Egypt thousands of years ago when it was fed to slaves for stamina to WW2 when it was used as an antiseptic to today when we use it as a culinary condiment extraordinaire or to improve our health, garlic has been popular.

To obtain the best health effects of garlic, it is necessary to crush, chop or slice it and wait approximately 10 minutes to allow the enzyme allinase in the clove to convert to the allicin which contains sulfur compounds. This is what gives the garlic its healing powers. The American Dietetic Association suggests we should eat one clove a day or take 600-900mg supplement daily to obtain these health benefits.

Garlic possesses the ability to stimulate the immune system so helps fight infections, clears mucous from the lungs, promotes blood circulation and lowers high blood pressure. It eases the pain in arthritis, kills the bacteria responsible for bladder infections and helps preventing colds. It is even successful in removing warts. Studies are also being done into garlic’s phytochemicals, which researchers believe inhibit cancer growth.

To make sure that you obtain the best out of garlic when cooking always remember to allow 10 minutes between chopping and cooking so you do not only get the flavor but also the health properties of the garlic. Garlic compliments almost any savory dish and is wonderful raw in salad dressing.

Chewing parsley after eating garlic will remove the smell to a certain extent but if you are eating the same meal there will be no problem at all!

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Recipe of the Day

Garlic Salsa
Gourmet Sleuth

10 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
1 baguette
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

In a bowl, combine garlic, parsley, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper and, if desired, red pepper flakes. Tear baguette into bite-sized pieces and dip into salsa.

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