Why Is Garlic Good For Us?
Garlic is full of antioxidants and has been said to have antibacterial, anti fungal, anti cancer and heart-healthy benefits.
Here’s a great explanation on the heart health benefits from the New York Times:
“In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that eating garlic appears to boost our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is actually poisonous at high concentrations — it’s the same noxious byproduct of oil refining that smells like rotten eggs. But the body makes its own supply of the stuff, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow…
The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer, say the study authors. Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts…
The concentration of garlic extract used in the latest study was equivalent to an adult eating about two medium-sized cloves per day.” Read the full article here.
Incorporating Garlic Into Your Diet
It can be easier than you think to get this amount of garlic into your diet.
- You can start using it every time you cook. You can add quite a few cloves to soups, stir-fries, casseroles and sauces.
- You can also increase your consumption of garlicky foods like hummus, pesto and baba ganoush.
- I love to purée roasted garlic, cooked sweet potatoes and olive oil together to make delicious garlic mashed sweet potatoes. Season to taste with sea salt.
How to Grow Your Own Garlic
The picture above is of my mother’s garlic crop this year. They won’t last long especially if she makes a lot of pesto as usual.
1. In the fall, about 6-8 weeks before the first frost, collect some organic garlic bulbs from your local farm market
2. Separate the bulbs into individual cloves (do not peel the individual cloves)
3. Plant them 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep, in their upright position – pointed side up. Cover with straw if you are in an icy/snowy climate.
4. Next summer you will have a whole bulb for each clove you planted. You’ll know they’re ready to harvest when the green shoots that they’ve sent up start to turn yellow and fall over. This may be mid-July for northern climates.
5. After harvesting, brush off any excess dirt and allow them to hang to dry for about 2 weeks in a well-ventilated and shaded place. They’ll be ready when the outside layers of skin are dry and papery and the roots have dried completely.
Store your garlic in a dry, dark and cool place. A kitchen cabinet located above or near an air conditioning vent may work well.