When it comes to garlic I would have to say that it is one of my favorite ingredients. Garlic can be used in so many different ways including soups, salads, fish, meat, roasted, marinated or raw. it’s an all around great vegetable that adds aroma, taste, and added nutrition to your dishes.
Garlic is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. The list below contains just a few of the benefits you will receive by eating garlic:
- Cardiovascular Benefits
- Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
- Antibacterial and Antiviral Benefits
- Cancer Prevention
For a small vegetable, garlic also known as Allium sativum sure has a big, and well deserved, reputation. And although garlic may not always bring good luck, protect against evil, or ward off vampires, it is guaranteed to transform any meal into a bold, aromatic, and healthy culinary experience.
How to Select Garlic
For maximum flavor and nutritional benefits, always purchase fresh garlic. Although garlic in flake, powder, or paste form may be more convenient, you will derive less culinary and health benefits from these forms. Purchase garlic that is plump and has unbroken skin. Gently squeeze the garlic bulb between your fingers to check that it feels firm and is not damp. Avoid garlic that is soft, shriveled, and moldy or that has begun to sprout.
Store fresh garlic in either an uncovered or a loosely covered container in a cool, dark place away from exposure to heat and sunlight. This will help maintain its maximum freshness and help prevent sprouting.
Depending upon its age and variety, whole garlic bulbs will keep fresh for about a month if stored properly. Inspect the bulb frequently and remove any cloves that appear to be dried out or moldy. Once you break the head of garlic, it greatly reduces its shelf life to just a few days.
Recipe (This one is great for your Shabbat table)
Roasted garlic and butternut squash hummus
2 medium butternut squash
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to rub on the squash and garlic and to serve
4 garlic bulbs – about 25-30 cloves
Lemon zest from ½ lemon and a generous squeeze of juice
2 tbsp tahini
10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves torn from stems
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
1 Preheat oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Rub it with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on size.
2 Split the garlic into individual cloves but keep the peel on. Rub them with a little olive oil and bake for around 20-25 minutes beside the squash. Keep an eye on the garlic cloves – they should be tender and golden, not hard and burned.
3 When everything is done, scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash and peel the garlic cloves. Place both in a blender and add the lemon zest and juice and tahini. Pulse until the garlic and squash are well combined. Transfer to a bowl.
4 Add half the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5 Serve with a splash of olive oil and the rest of the fresh herbs scattered on top.
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