Did You Know? Garlic was not an accepted spice/herb in America until the 1940’s? Surprisingly, until 1940, the use of garlic was frowned upon by the middle and upper class in the United States. It was used instead exclusively in ethnic dishes in the lower working-class neighborhoods. But in the 1940’s, America finally began to embrace garlic, recognizing its not only a minor seasoning, but as an actual ingredient in recipes.
Worldwide, Garlic mythology states garlic can repel vampires, protect it’s users against the Evil Eye, as well as scaring off jealous nymphs said to attack pregnant women or those about to be married. But garlic was also believed to have aphrodisiac like powers throughout the ages.
Native to Central Asia, garlic has long been a staple in the Mediterranean, as well as in Africa, and Europe dating as far back as 6,000 years ago.
Clay models of bulbs of garlic were found in the tomb of many Egyptians Kings and Queens, including King Tut. Garlic was worshiped and so prized that it was even used as currency.
In the 1920’s American’s used several quaint slang words in restaurants and diners to request garlic. Often referenced as Bronx Vanilla, Italian Perfume by those who enjoyed it’s addition to foods and then some not so nice terms by those who did not appreciate this seasoning for it’s aroma and taste.
One either loves the smell and taste of garlic or hates it. The aroma is released when the bloom has been broken down into cloves and is crushed, grated, minced, or pressed which releases oil enzymes resulting in that heady, pungent garlic smell which is a mainstay in kitchens all over. These oils can be absorbed by the human body which often stays with a person well after eating the dish.
And WOW! Can you believe this? One raw clove of garlic that has been minced or pressed can release more flavor than a dozen cooked whole cloves.
Garlic cloves if cooked whole, has a flavor that mellows into a sweet, almost nutty taste that barely resembles any form of pungency that garlic is so well known for. The nutty flavor makes a surprisingly nice addition to desserts, such as brownies or even ice cream. Can you imagine going into your local ice-cream parlor and asking for a scoop of garlic ice-cream?
Also, garlic cloves that are cooked whole and not pierced in any way have almost no aroma at all, while raw garlic is the strongest in flavor. So the smartest thing to remember when using garlic that the smaller you cut it, the stronger the flavor. Chopping finely and/or pressing a clove exposes the oils to the air, causing it to produce that strong aroma and potent flavor.
But the amount of cutting is not the only worry when it comes to the flavor. When you are sautéing garlic, be very careful not to burn it. The flavor turns terribly bitter and you’ll need to start the dish all over again.
If you have a good garlic press, you won’t even need to peel garlic cloves before pressing, which can be a wonderful time-saver. Just place the unpeeled clove in the tool cavity, press and discard the skins left in the cavity. Most stores sell at least one form of a garlic press as well as a grater.
Since the Middle Ages, garlic has been considered a medicinal food. Used by Monks, garlic was thought to protect people against the plague. Garlic vapors were used by the notable ancient healer, Hippocrates, in treat cervical cancer. Poultices were placed on wounds in World War II as an inexpensive, but very effective replacement for antibiotics which were so hard to come by during wartime.
Modern science after many studies finally accepted the proven fact of the medicinal properties of garlic that our ancestors took for granted. Some studies have proven that garlic can suppress the growth of tumors, and is an antioxidant that is good for the heart. Garlic has been found to also reduce LDLs (bad) cholesterol and is has excellent blood-thinning agents to avoid blood clots which could potentially lead to heart disease.
What’s even better is that 1 garlic clove only has 4 calories! Good taste, wonderful aroma, medically good for you and low in calories! What more can you ask for?
I hope you found this as interesting as we did and if you have any comments, questions or suggestions about garlic please let us know by commenting below! Also, be sure to share this with your friends and family and subscribe for more did you know segments by clicking the Subscribe Now button on your screen! I am Stephen Rummey from http://HomeCookingSecrets.com and I would like to thank my partner and the COO, Pam Upton, for providing this amazing content.