Garlic is an edible bulb in the lily family–ALLIUM like onions, leeks, shallots, chives etc. The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin derived from gar (a spear) and lac (a plant) . The bulb which grows underground is the most useful part though the entire freshly grown garlic is also used sometimes. In Britain there are many varieties like—wild garlic, crow garlic, and field garlic, while in America is found the meadow garlic. The best known is the elephant garlic Allium ampeloprasum which is known as Lehsun in Urdu and Hindi.
Garlic was worshiped by the Egyptians. They used it when the Giza pyramids were built. It has been mentioned in the Bible and the Talmud. China has recorded its use since AD 510. The Greeks and the Roman soldiers and the rural classes used garlic as a palliative for the heat of the sun. Very ancient use of garlic is often mentioned to ward of vampires and evil spirits and many of the ailments were attributed to them, actually the garlic kept at bay the ailments. In 1858 Louis Pasteur observed it is anti-bacterial activity and it was used as an anti-septic to prevent gangrene during world –war I and II. Myths exist stating that the Gods offered black garlic to the women they were attracted to for immortality.
China is the world’s largest producer of garlic –approximately 10.5 million tonnes that explains it use in Chinese culinary and India follows with 4.1 million tonnes.
It has properties as an—
It is therapeutically used for
-respiratory diseases like chest congestion, pulmonary gangrene, tuberculosis, pneumonia, asthma
-digestive disorders, worm expelling
-high blood pressure
-decreasing triacylglycerol concentration
CAUTION excess of garlic is harmful and those taking insulin should not do so without the physician’s advice.
While used for cooking, the pungent, spicy, flavour mellows and sweetens with cooking. The seasoning or condiment is often paired with onion, tomato or ginger. In Japan and Korea heads of garlic are fermented at high temperatures to yield black garlic a sweet syrupy product.
Breads like garlic bread, toast, bruschetta, crostini and canapé are garlic flavoured.
Aioli is something which is prepared with a combination of garlic+eggs+oliveoil.
Ajoblanc is prepared using garlic oil +almond oil and soaked bread