Nobody can deny that most people who are engaged in cooking in practically majority of the dishes that we eat and dine in are mainly prepared using garlic as its main ingredient to add spice and proper flavoring. Usually prepared with oil or butter, garlic is used as the primary herb before the main ingredients such as pepper, onions, tomatoes, beef or chicken are put into the culinary pots or cauldrons.
Garlic is also known to have herbal and medicinal benefits. Left raw, it is widely known for leaving a distinctive odor towards most people’s breath. It possesses a hot flavor when it is still raw, and this only disintegrates once it has been put into the frying pan where such attribute slowly mellows down as it is slowly cooked.
Origins and Brief Historical Facts
Garlic has no clear point of origin as to how it was developed and discovered. It is closely associated with onions and lilies if grouped. The garlic is harvested through plants that produce bulbs and shoots, the latter being used by cooks as well for some selected dishes. These said shoots often used as appetizers as well, maximizing the plant as they are harvested as well.
A garlic plant has a distinctively long but narrow leaves. The head bulb has a whiter outer layer of skin similar to that of an onion. Once opened, smaller portions of bulbs are found inside. New bulbs can be procured by planting out selected seasons such as winter and spring.
Garlic usually produced certain chemical components that become the reason for its sharp flavor when plant's cells are damaged. Although people have come to enjoy the taste of garlic, certain compositions of garlic are believed to have evolved as a defensive mechanism, deterring animals like birds, insects, and worms from eating the plant.
A variety of components contribute to the smell and taste of garlic. Diallyl disulfide and Allicin have been found to be some of the compounds responsible for the spiciness of raw garlic. This chemical opens thermoTRP channels that contribute to the burning sense of heat in foods.
Culinary Uses of Garlic
As mentioned earlier, garlic is known to be one of the most important, if not necessary components in most culinary dishes today. Usually chopped and fried prior to the placement of other key dish components, it somehow directs the taste and base odor towards a sumptuous meal. Largely depending on the type of cooking that will be made, it enhances the taste of the entire dish, either strong or mellow in a sense. It is only normal to note that more people have become reliant on garlic, and know how this condiment can add and divert the overall finish of the food. It has also been known that garlic is good for the health conscious individuals as well, especially for people who are having problems with their cholesterol levels. However, consuming a more than enough amount of garlic can also be easily distinguished, as it can be seen from their perspiration and breath, something that can easily be traced from someone who eats too much of one meal with lots of garlic.
Medical Benefits of Garlic
It has been proven that garlic does indeed provide necessary health benefits to most people that are very conscious about their health issues. Among the usual health issues include platelet aggregation, lowering of cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and the protective nature of chronic garlic intake on elastic properties of aorta for the elderly population. Regular and prolonged uses of therapeutic amounts of aged garlic extracts lower blood levels, and prevent some complications of diabetes. It may have some cancer-fighting properties because it is high in diallyl sulphide (DADs), an anticarcinogen.
Garlic cloves continue to be used by aficionados as a remedy for infections, digestive disorders, and fungal infections. These cloves are considered to be an effective long-term remedy for cardiovascular problems reducing excessive blood cholesterol, risk of thrombosis, and hypertension. Whole cloves used as suppositories are sometimes used as a home remedy for yeast infections. Garlic is also known to control and regulate blood sugar levels, giving its claim on helping diabetes something that is not really surprising. There are some cases however where professional clearance from licensed physician with regards to regular intake, especially for people who digest such medications as insulin. To avoid any problems, it would be best to get the permission from such medical personnel and groups.
Dietary supplements in pill forms are usually known to have garlic content that helps in the process. Usually such components would not be itemized or described in the common form under the nutritional facts but its presence in them is highly probable due to the many health benefits that garlic can do for most people around.
Harvesting and Stocking Garlic
With the many uses that garlic has for most consumers, it is not surprising to note that most people would resort to harvesting their own garlic. It is known that garlic is not grown from seeds but rather the cloves which are used to help propagate them. For people who are starting out, they can purchase such garlic seed cloves as bulbs from available and known local garlic growers who make this as a business of their own for distribution. Ideally, a cold climate to grow such crops is needed to ensure a satisfactory harvest in most cases. This is a reason why most first time growers would want to start propagating in the winter.
Just like other herbs and plants, the usual methods of properly harvesting and growth of such plants is practiced. Proper planting, watering and space allocation is needed since these plants vary in height in most cases once they bloom and are ripe for the picking. The spacing will depend on the quantity of crops that a grower would want to yield which in most cases would also depend on the actual planting capacity based on their space for growing the plants. Usually, cloves are planted with their pointed side in an upright position. Doing this the wrong way may produce deformed or curved shoots, a part of the garlic plant that we know most cooks will also be using for some culinary dishes. It is recommended to plant the said plant 2 to 3 inches below the soil to get the necessary quality of garlic after some time of harvesting.