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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

National Garlic Day is Today- April 19th!

Posted by Jenna Smith -

Yep, it's stinky breath day. But garlic is more than that; it's a widely popular food that delivers on flavor and possibly good health. Some evidence suggests garlic may lower the risk of certain cancers and may slightly lower blood pressure and slow the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). While health benefits of garlic are gaining scientific credibility, there is much more is to be learned. But the thing I love most about garlic: it's so versatile.

It's used in virtually every cuisine in the world. You can use fresh garlic when making your own pizza, marinara, or barbecue sauce. Try it in a stir-fry, shrimp gumbo, or as part of a rub for meats. Mince it, sprinkle it over vegetables drizzled in a bit of olive oil, and roast in an oven to give the veggies a bit of a nutty flavor. For a sweeter, less pungent taste, leave the garlic cloves whole when roasting. But be careful not to overcook and burn the garlic; it will leave a bitter taste.

You can vary the amount of garlic flavor released by how you prepare the garlic. The more juices and oils extracted, the more the garlic flavor is incorporated into the food. Using a garlic press will release the most garlic oils and therefore, provide the strongest garlic flavor. When buying garlic, make sure the heads are dry with plenty of paper covering. If you can see green shoots then the garlic is probably too old. Cloves that are too old may crumple under the slightest pressure.

Want garlic bread without the greasy, soggy buttery tops? Easy! Make your own garlic bread by roasting the garlic. But if you're short on time or short on garlic, skip the roasting and simply sprinkle garlic powder and Parmesan cheese on lightly "buttered" (trans-fat-free margarine) bread. It's not the same, but it will do in a pinch!

How to Roast Garlic

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut off the top head of the garlic so the tips of the cloves are exposed, and peel off any loose papery layers.
  3. Place garlic on a baking sheet, cut side up.
  4. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil for each head of garlic.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until garlic is soft.
  6. Allow garlic to cool slightly before squeezing the paste from the garlic.

For Easy Garlic Bread

Slice a loaf of French bread, long ways. Rub the tops with the roasted garlic (about 4 heads). No butter necessary! If desired, sprinkle with a dash of salt or Parmesan cheese. Toast in the oven or broiler until warm.

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