Garlic Mad

garlicWe’re reaching the end of the season for foraging the mild leaves and flowers from the Wild Garlic but before wondering where to find this pungent taste from next, maybe you planted some autumn garlic last year? These juicy bulbs will be ready to harvest shortly and provide a wealth of health benefits and taste to any diet.

But what makes garlic so popular?

Over the different times' lines in history, garlic has had multiple uses and in particular, was considered to be a medicinal aid to a number of ailments. It was thought to cure gangrene and help treat infected wounds. It was used as a direct source of strength and was given to workers who had very physical jobs. It was used to repel insects, protect against leprosy and even to help to stop the spread of smallpox. Quite a clever and useful bulb then!

Garlic has also been used as part of superstitious and religious ceremonies over the years and many of us can relate to the protection garlic can offer against any visiting vampires! Some believed garlic could prolong life and was used to keep evil spirits away whilst others would request garlic being buried with them to help with their journey after death.

There is no doubt about it, garlic has got a long history and even today it is an ingredient found in most homes, in some form or another. But what are the health benefits and is it worth the troublesome breath that some experience afterwards?

Garlic is considered to help lower blood pressure and to reduce the risk of heart disease so it’s certainly one to include in your diet if these are a concern to you. There are some studies that suggest garlic is able to help prevent platelets from sticking together in the blood, so the risk of blood clots is reduced.

Garlic contains a number of vitamins and minerals that are really useful to our diet too. In particular, Vitamins C and B6, manganese and selenium and it also provides a good source of potassium, iron and calcium.

But What About The Smell?

If eating raw garlic, it can leave quite a strong taste in your mouth, but you can help this by chewing on a little fresh parsley afterwards, as this can help reduce a little. Cooking garlic sweetens and mellows the flavour and smell, so it may be a little less fiery consumed this way.

Here’s an easy recipe to use a whole bulb of roasted garlic, which has been teamed up with sesame seeds – a great addition of Vitamin E and another boost of calcium and Vitamin C.

2 bulbs of garlic – drizzled with a little olive oil and roasted (wrapped in foil) in a low oven for 45 minutes.
100g Greek yoghurt/soya yoghurt
½ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp tahini
½ tin of chickpeas
1 tbsp lemon juice

Squeeze out the garlic clove flesh and add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender or processor. Blend until you have a smooth or coarse mix (your preferred texture). Serve with chopped raw vegetables, a little extra olive oil to drizzle and oregano leaves if you like.

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