Six weeks ago I began exploring 13 super foods, identified by www.EverydayHeatlh.com. Today, it's all about garlic, perhaps the most super of all foods. It is an ingredient I am never without, and one I use practically every day.
Everyday Health chose garlic, pointing to research that shows that garlic lowers total cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels, which helps prevent clogged arteries. The site also suggests that just two to three cloves a day cut the odds of future heart attacks in half for heart disease patients. In addition, garlic also tops the National Cancer Institute's list of potential cancer-preventive foods. Whole baked garlic helps detoxify the body of heavy metals like mercury (from fish) and cadmium. Garlic also acts as an antibacterial and antiviral, boosting resistance to stress-induced colds and infections.
A few years ago, Sal Gilbertie, owner of Gilbertie's Herb Farm in Westport, CT, told me I should only buy organic garlic, because garlic grows under the ground, which makes it a sponge for pesticide absorption. I decided to believe Sal, and since that day, I only buy organic garlic. It's easy to find, and since garlic is pretty inexpensive, I think it's worth the extra money. I never buy elephant garlic, because I find the flavor too mild. But if garlic is not to your liking, try the elephant. In this case, the big elephant cloves are gentle giants.
Store: I used to have a garlic keeper, but it broke in our last move. I store mine in a basket, at room temperature, and it keeps for a long time. I rarely have to throw out a bulb.
1 head garlic
2 Tblsp. olive oil
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Slice 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic bulb. Place in a small baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven, and after 20 minutes, check bulb: The outside should be nicely browned and the garlic cloves should be soft.
- Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, squeeze each clove to extract the garlic. Use it as a spread for bread.