Garlic is more than delicious. According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the consumption of garlic, whether raw or cooked, may lower the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer. In animal studies, high doses of raw garlic have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. It also lowers bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol and increases good ‘HDL’ cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure. This is great news, especially since garlic tastes so good, adds tons of flavour to almost any dish, and is inexpensive. Trouble is, most of us are so rushed to get meals on the table, we might not always take the time to peel and mince fresh garlic for every recipe. Instead, it’s easy to reach for the jar of pre-chopped stuff, which often contains sodium and preservatives.
There is a much better way to add a powerful dose of flavour to meals on even the busiest nights of the week: Set aside an hour on one day so you can roast, purée or pickle some, making it so easy to have garlic on hand to add to meals.
Tip: For each of these recipes, start with a bag of pre-peeled, fresh garlic, or, if you have time, peel and separate six or more whole heads.
To a food processor, add 1 cup (250 mL) peeled garlic cloves, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt. Whirl until smooth. Transfer to small jars with lids. After filling, tap jars on the counter to dislodge air bubbles, top with more oil to make a seal, and put on lid. Store in fridge for up to 3 months. Use in vinaigrettes, soups, rubs, mashed potatoes, garlic bread and dips.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Add 2 cups (500 mL) peeled garlic cloves to an ovenproof dish; pour in enough olive oil to cover. Roast until cloves begin to turn golden, about 20 minutes. (Garlic will continue to brown in the hot oil even when out of the oven.) Cool at room temperature, then spoon into jars, top with enough oil to cover cloves, and put on lid. Store in fridge for up to 3 months. Chop and add to mashed potatoes, pasta dishes, dips and dressings. Or warm it up and serve with crusty bread and cheese.
No grandmother’s pickling wisdom required! Save the juice from jars of pickled cucumbers, peppers or beets. Pour juice from these into a pot and bring to a gentle boil, drop in as much peeled garlic as you can fit and immediately remove from the heat. Let cool, then spoon garlic into jars, top up with pickle juice and put on lid. Pop it in the fridge and it will be ready to eat in 1 week (it can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months). Use as a side for burgers or sandwiches.