It is part of the allium family. It is grown in a bulb shape and each bulb contains cloves. So when a recipe states add a clove of garlic is doesn’t mean the whole bulb. I careful to mention this fact to my children when i sent them off to university and a bolognaise recipe.
So if it smells so bad, why eat it?
It has been around for about 6,000 years and was first used in Asia and has long been a staple in Mediterranean cooking. Most people know it and use it, except for my Dad who doesn’t like it. Although the cloves are used in cooking most of the rest of the garlic plant including the stalk and flowers can also be eating, except for the papery thin skins that cover parts of the bulb and the cloves. Immature garlic bulbs can be boiled whole and eaten like an onion.
Garlic is often added to dishes as a seasoning and often paired up with tomatoes, onions and ginger. It can also be used to make garlic bread, but personally i use garlic salt, which is garlic dried and crushed into grains.
Garlic has been found to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has also been shown to prevent some forms of stomach and bowl cancer and atherosclerosis. However a study done in 2007 showed that it had no effect on heart disease and cholesterol levels (2007, National Institute of Health). Garlic consumed in a medicinal amount (doesn’t say what the amount is) have been shown to prevent diabetes but those who already have diagnosed diabetes should take a medicinal amount under the care of a physician.
It has also been shown to help with the common cold, an antiseptic, mouthwash, the absorption of thiamin which prevents beriberi and because of it’s high vitamin C content it’s good at preventing scurvy.
So along with the tomatoes and onions i have talked about this week, add garlic to your diet liberally. If nothing else it won’t do you any harm and may even do you some good. In fact i have known my children make garlic bread and eat it on its own, just because they can.