Make it a flavorful month with garlic
By Lisa Crockett
April is National Garlic Month. In times gone by, people used garlic for everything from warding off vampires to treating the plague. And while both of those uses have mostly fallen out of favor, garlic still looms large on the world stage, with proponents using it for everything from flavoring ice cream to curing the common cold. Here are some other interesting facts about garlic:
*Allicin, the product of an enzymic reaction that occurs when garlic is chopped or crushed, has been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
*Most people are accustomed to eating garlic bulbs, but the leaves are also edible, and provide a more subtle flavor. Use them in place of chives or other herbs.
*According to greyduckgarlic.com, more than 30 garlic festivals were held in the U.S. and Canada last year. Festivals feature food and events ranging from garlic-themed 5K races to weddings based on the plant.
*Humans have been consuming garlic for an estimated 7,000 years. Garlic is native to central Asia, but has been adopted by cultures on every continent.
*Garlic plants are generally pest resistant; gardeners often spritz other plants in the garden with a mixture of garlic and water to repel insect infestation.
*Garlic is grown in every state in the union except Alaska, but 90 percent of the country’s garlic comes from California. Gilroy, CA is known as the garlic capital of the world.
*To combat garlic breath after eating a garlic-heavy meal, consume a fatty snack like a handful of nuts or drink a bit of whole milk.
*For an easy and tasty appetizer, mix a half cup of soft butter with a quarter cup of parmesan cheese, two cloves of minced garlic and a quarter teaspoon each of dried marjoram, dried basil, dried oregano and salt. Spread the mixture on crusty French bread and bake in an oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until golden and crispy.
*Garlic will keep for several weeks if you treat it right. Store it in dry place, and keep it cool – if it is exposed to temperatures above 45 degrees for prolonged periods of time, it will sprout. Do not store it in a plastic container or bag, or it will begin to mold.