Garlic must be one of the best foodstuffs known to humanity. There’s so much that you can do with it! Many people are put off by its pungent aroma and avoid it wherever possible. But, for the life of me, I just can’t see why.
Garlic is most famous as flavouring for savoury dishes. Garlic can bring its particular tang to many otherwise bland foods, whether you use it cooked or raw. Mashed potato can be greatly improved by adding raw crushed garlic just before mashing along with butter, salt and milk (and cheese is great, too). Sprinkle it raw on lasagne or into a salad. Add it to stews and mince during the initial stages. Use it generously in curries. Put it into a cheese sandwich. You can also use it to add flavour to roast meat – a whole head can be used as a quick, easy stuffing for chicken. Alternatively, brush it with olive oil and roast the cloves to use as a side dish – it’s delicious. And don’t forget the many uses of garlic butter…
If you’re worried about the resulting bad breath after eating garlic, then eating parsley, using a mouthwash or chewing cloves can help. Failing that, you can remember the French and Italian rule for consuming garlic: if one person eats garlic, then everyone in the house must eat garlic. You don’t notice garlic breath on someone else if you have also got garlic breath.
If you do use garlic, then you are going to get the other benefits of garlic. Garlic contains many antioxidants and disease fighting compounds. In fact, garlic is listed by many dieticians and nutritionists as the one of the top “superfoods” for fighting off cancer and cardiovascular disease. Garlic boosts the immune system (put it raw into chicken soup if you’re in bed with the flu or a bad cold) like nothing else – in some ways, it’s right up there with vitamin C for its health giving properties.
The strong disease fighting and antibacterial properties of garlic make it excellent as a topical treatment for acne. Crush a bit of a clove and apply the juice directly to the skin. It will sting and it will smell strong, but it really does help clean up spots. It can also be used to disinfect wounds – this was one treatment used by field surgeons in battlefields of the past.
Garlic is great for you, but it’s not so good for other creatures. This means that garlic can be used in a number of ways for organic pest control. If you have your own garden and want to grow garlic, then garlic can be planted around roses or tomatoes. The smell from the leaves is undetectable by you but the aphids can smell it and they hate it! The rule of thumb for planting garlic is to plant it at midwinter and harvest it at midsummer (“Plant on the shortest day; harvest on the longest” is the old gardening adage for many alliums (onions and garlic).
If you don’t want to grow your own garlic, then it’s easy to make a spray with it. Boil a generous amount (a whole head or so) of chopped or crushed garlic in a litre or so of water. For extra potency, add cayenne pepper or dried chillies. Strain and bottle, then use as a spray once it has cooled. Aphids hate it and will begin scurrying off the roses immediately. However, unlike commercial sprays the spray won’t harm you at all. If you spray this on aphid-prone vegetables, you don’t have to worry about the spray residue harming you. If anything, a little bit of garlic and chilli on your broccoli will do you good.
Nick Vassilev founded Anyclean, his London based domestic cleaning company, back in 1998. Nick is an expert on cleaning and loves to help people with his cleaning tips, articles and knowledge. If you would like to know more about his cleaning company, please visit http://www.anyclean.co.uk.