Making Carbs Count garlic


or all that a mention of

garlic makes many of us

think of France, there's

a booming business of

home-grown garlic crops

here in the UK. Most of the information

in this article is based on information

from the Really Garlicky company based

in Scotland and The Garlic Farm in the

Isle of Wight.

Looking back in time and further afield,

however, it is known that the builders

of the pyramids were often paid in fresh

garlic, in part to maintain their strength and

stamina. Garlic was even found in King

Tutankhamen's tomb. Egyptian medical

manuals from 1500 BC list almost two

dozen treatments using garlic.there is

evidence that garlic was placed in ancient

Egyptian tombs as early as 5000 years

ago and here are numerous references to

garlic in Chinese literature as far back as

2000 BC. Chinese sacrificial lambs were

spiced with garlic to make them more

appealing to the gods. Garlic was praised

in ancient Sanskrit writings. By 1500 BC,

the cultivation of garlic had spread to

virtually every civilization in Europe, Asia

and North Africa.

A root herb, the plant belongs within

the family of Alliaceae, in the genus,

Allium; and scientifically known as Allium

sativum. It is believed to be originating in

the mountainous Central Asian region,

from whence it spread.

About garlic

A mature garlic plant produces a bulb,

sometimes called a 'head' of garlic, with

numerous individual cloves inside the

paper-like wrapper. An individual clove


continued over

when planted will reproduce an entire

bulb after about nine months. Some

varieties of garlic also produce bulbils on

top of their tall stalks (scapes). These are

not true seeds, but can serve the same

function. Bulbils are secondary cloves

often produced in the flower cluster. There

may well be over 450 identifiable strains

of garlic.

Just like bananas and bread, garlic

should never be stored in the refrigerator!

After harvest, keep bulbs in well-aerated

bags or baskets. The humidity should

not be too high or germination will start.

Relative humidities in the 30-50% range

are best. Temperatures a little below 15

degrees are ideal. In the kitchen, keep

the bulbs at room temperature in a wellventilated container.

After harvest, bulbs

will keep for several months, depending

on the variety. If cloves begin to shrivel

inside the wrapper, or if humidity causes

sprouting, this bulb is way past its prime.

By chopping, the chemical reaction

in the garlic is not activated fully so will

give a milder flavour than crushing. Sliced

garlic can give a good visual effect if

you're adding it to sautéed vegetables

or in a salad. Lightly salting the garlic

can also enhance its flavour. When garlic

is cooked as whole cloves, no chemical

reaction takes place to create allicin or

other sulphur compounds so the flavour

of the garlic will be much milder and quite

different to crushed garlic. Roasting garlic

whole with skins intact gives a wonderful

mild, sweet, caramelised taste.

It is the sulfur compounds in garlic

where the health benefits lie, it's certainly Nutritional


A single garlic clove: 5 calories, 0.2

grams protein, 0.1 grams fat, 1 gram

carbohydrate. Garlic cloves have

amazingly high levels of vitamins and

minerals. In 100g there is (in % of

recommended daily allowance) 95% of

vitamin B-6, 52% of vitamin C, 33% of

copper, 21% of iron, 18% of calcium,

26% Selenium, and 73% of manganese.


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