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A Herb for Halloween!
Member Name: anwar7
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A potted history
Garlic originated in central Asia. It was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians and even used as a currency. Clay sculptures of garlic bulbs have been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 3,200 B.C. The ancient Greeks also worshipped garlic and used to leave it out as an offering to their Gods. Greek military leaders gave garlic to their troops prior to a battle believing it would give them strength and courage. Garlic was also used by Greek Olympians to improve their performance.
In central Europe garlic has long been associated as a powerful protector against vampires and were wolves. To be safe this Halloween you should hang garlic around your doors and windows and just to be really safe you could rub some around all your keyholes too!
In the Middle Ages garlic was hung around doors and windows to protect against the plague. However garlic was mainly used in Mediterranean Europe and was not widely used in Britain until the 17th century and in America garlic was not really used until about 1920.
For me, garlic is essential! I use it in numerous dishes and love both its taste and smell. To use garlic simply break off 1 or 2 cloves and peel away the paper like covering. Then either chop finely or crush the garlic. Garlic goes really well with tomato and onion sauces such as that used in pasta dishes.
Simply add crushed garlic and cook gently in olive oil with your chopped onion. I like to add green and red peppers too. I have a garlic press and this little gadget is really useful for mincing garlic to add to recipes. I find that 1or 2 cloves of garlic is enough for most recipes. Garlic has a very strong flavour and too much will overpower the dish and can even burn your tongue, so go carefully! One of my favourite recipes is for garlic mushrooms. It is really easy and tastes wonderful.
8 oz of mushrooms-I like to use chestnut mushrooms.
Ĺ oz of unsalted butter.
2 crushed cloves of garlic.
Salt and pepper.
1. Wash the mushrooms and melt the butter in a saucepan.
2. Add the mushrooms and cook slowly for a few minutes until softened.
3. Add the garlic and season.
4. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and allow to sweat for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
This is a great starter and I usually serve it with a green salad and some wholemeal toast. My children like this for lunch too.
I never buy garlic bread, as it is so easy to make.
1 tablespoon of crushed/minced garlic.
1 Ĺ oz butter.
1. Make several slices partly through your baguette at an angle.
2. mix the garlic together with the melted butter.
3. spread the garlic butter into the slices you have made.
4. Wrap the baguette in foil and place in a pre heated oven- 180 c for about 15 minutes.
Garlic croutons are another favourite in our house and go well with home made soup.
2 cloves of garlic crushed.
2 oz butter.
3 slices of bread, cubed.
1. Preheat your oven to 200c
2. mix the garlic and melted butter together.
3. add the bread cubes and place on a baking tray.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
If your children are reluctant to eat vegetables you could try roasting a variety of vegetables in a little olive oil. I use peppers.garlic, onions, courgettes and carrots. Simply place all your vegetables roughly chopped onto a baking tray, cover with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes. The dish looks very colourful and tastes great!
Although garlic is widely available and inexpensive I like to grow my own. It is really easy to grow and my children enjoy helping to plant garlic too. I have grown garlic successfully using a bulb bought from my local supermarket. However ideally you should buy your garlic for planting from a plant supplier .To plant simply break the garlic into cloves and plant in well prepared soil. Garlic needs to be planted from November to January and will be ready to harvest in July. It is important to water your garlic and make sure the soil drains well. You will also need to weed around your garlic.
If you buy from a supermarket look for firm bulbs with a dry papery covering. Donít buy garlic that is sprouting or feels soft. Store garlic in a cool dry place away from sunlight.
Medicinal uses of garlic
Garlic is not only essential for cooking but has numerous health benefits too. There are several published studies that confirm that eating garlic either in its crushed form or as a supplement can lower cholesterol. Some studies have shown that benefits can be measured after just 4 weeks of taking garlic supplements. Garlic can also help to lower blood pressure. Not sure my garlic mushrooms with all that butter would be beneficial however!
Garlic may also be beneficial for pregnant women at risk of developing pre-eclampsia. As I developed severe pre-eclampsia during my first pregnancy this would have been useful to know! However taking excess garlic can cause bleeding so be careful!
Garlic is also good for stomach upsets and can improve your circulation. Garlic is a powerful anti-oxidant that can help protect against free radicals that can encourage tumours to grow.
Garlic is has anti-bacterial properties and can help protect against colds and other infections. Garlic can be taken in tablet form if you are worried about having garlic-smelling breath. Our family eats garlic on a regular basis and we donít get as many colds as friends who donít eat garlic so maybe it really works!
Garlic also has antiseptic properties and can help to prevent gum disease. Garlic oil can also help to cure warts.
As you will have guessed I love garlic! I forgot to mention that chewing a small piece of parsley will help to prevent your breath from smelling of garlic. Finally donít forget to decorate your doors and windows with garlic for Halloween!
Summary: A useful herb for both cooking and medicinal purposes
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