Tuesday, November 1, 2016

That amazing superfood, garlic

It is the first of November. The sun rises later and sets earlier. The colorful leaves are falling from the trees, and, in the process, are turning brown and brittle. My part of the world is preparing itself for winter, a time of dormancy and of shadows. The time of vivid colors is nearly over.

Today was one of those rare and special warm autumn days. It was bright, sunny, and with very little wind. In other words, it was a good day to spend outside. Today, I went to a farm and planted garlic (allium sativum). Garlic is planted in rows. Each garlic bulb is broken apart, and individual cloves are planted. Some people plant garlic in the spring, but, in many places, it is considered preferable to plant garlic in the fall.

Here is some interesting facts about garlic:
  • garlic is a species in the onion family. It is related to onions, leeks, shallots, and chives.
  • garlic is a native species in central Asia.
  • China is the largest producer of garlic.
  • The use of garlic in China dates back 7,000 years.
  • Most garlic grown in the United States is grown in California. In Gilroy, California, garlic is celebrated with a festival at the end of July each year. The next garlic festival is scheduled for July 27th, 28th, and 29th, 2017. It promises to be a lot of garlicky fun, not to mention delicious. Foods that are served include calamari and scampi, sausage sandwiches, pasta con pesto, garlic fries, and garlic bread. The most unique item that will be served (given away for free, just to entice you to try it) is garlic ice cream. Hmmm... In addition to the opportunities for a garlicky meal, there will also be a garlic cook-off, a wine pavilion (no mention was made of whether or not it would be... um.. garlic wine), entertainment for children, and more.

Garlic has a variety of health benefits.  It actually has the ability to fight off the bacteria (yersinia pestis) that causes the bubonic plague, otherwise known as the "black death." Garlic has a property called allicin, which results in a number of health benefits. Unlike medication, garlic has no side effects. Garlic can help strengthen the immune system and it can fight the common cold. Garlic can help to reduce blood pressure and it can improve cholesterol levels. In addition, garlic contains antioxidants, which are considered to be beneficial.

A few more facts about garlic:

  • the ancient Egyptians loved garlic and placed it in the tombs with deceased royalty.
  • the ancient Greeks did not care for garlic.
  • it is believed that garlic will ward off vampires.
  • during Shakespeare's time, people in northern Europe were not fans of garlic because of the odor.
  • Now, garlic is eaten around the world and people see it as a delicious flavoring for food.


1 comment:

Cerebrations.biz said...

I, too, use garlic in my cooking. But, only in sparing quantities.

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