Wild for Garlic

Garlic has been around for years and is well known for its medicinal uses. It continues to be a nutrition power house today and is often referred to as super food. Super foods have a wide array of health benefits from heart disease prevention to cancer prevention. Garlic, in particular, is popular for a phyto-nutrient called allicin that prevents cancer and helps to lower cholesterol. Allicin is a compound in garlic that is activated when garlic is crushed, minced, or chopped. Garlic also contains vitamin C and calcium for added vitamin and mineral benefits. Garlic is a great addition to any savory dish, it adds tons of flavor while providing loads of health benefits.

Garlic is available in the grocery store year round but is specifically in season right now, from February to June. When shopping at the grocery store, look for fresh garlic bulbs that are firm, dry and have white or purple papery skins. Avoid garlic bulbs that are soft, feel light, have brown spots, and have green sprouts. It is important to remember that while jars of minced garlic are convenient, they are missing the most important health benefit of garlic: allicin. Allicin is broken down into other compounds during the processing, therefore, to get the best health benefits use fresh garlic and consume it shortly after preparing.

Garlic can be stored for a long time if kept under the right conditions. Trying to keep garlic in an open container in a dark, cool place can be stored for up to 8 weeks. Once the bulb has been broken and the individual cloves are separated, the cloves will last about 3-10 days.

Try roasting garlic for a delicious spread or additional ingredient to any dish! To roast garlic, cut off the top of the garlic head, place on tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the garlic head with olive oil in the tin foil and place on a baking sheet in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 F. Once the garlic is tender and the fragrance is filling the room, the garlic is roasted. Be sure to let it cool before handling.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

1 bulb garlic
1 19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut off the top of the garlic head, place on tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap garlic bulb up and place on baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes. Unwrap and cool after baking. Squeeze the garlic from the peel.
2. Puree the garlic, chickpeas, lemon juice, soy sauce, tahini, and water in a food processor. May add more or less water to make desired consistency.
3. Transfer to a small serving bowl and stir in parsley, salt, and pepper (to taste). Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 2 Tbsp, 47 calories, 1 g fat, 8 g sugar, 2 g protein, 1 g fiber
Recipe Source: http://www.eatingwell.com

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