By: Kelly Atyeo-Fick, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.
Garlic is one of the most commonly used plants in cooking – and for good reason! Garlic can be used in recipes both cooked and raw, offering a different taste to back a flavourful punch.
This April it’s time to celebrate National Garlic Month and use garlic wherever you can in your cooking!
Types of Garlic
You can find garlic in the following ways:
- Fresh garlic – this is a more mild garlic that is only found when in season – or if you harvest your own garlic between July-October.1 You can also find dried garlic in bulbs year round. When buying garlic, make sure the skin of the bulb is not bruised and the bulbs are firm.2 Fresh garlic may have green shoots – remove these as they taste bitter.1
- Powdered garlic – for stews, chilli or sauces, sometimes a combination of powdered garlic will be suggested. Typically, powered garlic doesn’t add as much aroma as fresh garlic, but still has a garlic flavour.
- Garlic salt – This is a mixture of salt with garlic powder. If you are using it, do not add extra salt!
- Garlic scapes – these are the flower buds of the garlic plant that add garlic flavour and texture to your recipes.3
The mild flavour of chicken makes it the perfect vehicle for bold garlicky flavour. This classic chicken recipe with 40 cloves of garlic (yes, we said 40 cloves!) is definitely a great way to kick off National Garlic Month: Garlic Chicken
A great and simple way to compliment garlic flavour in your chicken recipes is to add herbs. Sage, rosemary and thyme are just some of the herbs that are a great match with garlic chicken! Try this fantastic roast chicken recipe chalk full of herbs and garlic! Herb and Garlic Roasted Chicken in Mushroom Pepper Ragout
Citrus is also a great match with garlic to add acidity. Using lemon in your chicken recipes adds acidity, while cooked garlic imparts a subtle sweetness. This Lemon Garlic chicken is a perfect example of the versatility of garlic!
No escaping scapes! Garlic scapes are fantastic to add to salads or soups – especially when garlic is in season! Try this Chicken Wild Rice Green Garlic Soup! If you don’t have garlic scapes, you can easily substitute with chopped garlic gloves. No problem!
Health benefits of garlic
Since ancient times, garlic has been used to improve, treat and maintain human health. 4 Our ancestors were on to something! Now, we know that garlic contains a very important phytochemical called “allicin” that is released when garlic is chopped, crushed or chewed. 4 Allicin is continually researched for its health benefits, which include4:
- heart health, improved cholesterol levels
- immune health
- cancer prevention and treatment
The health benefits we receive by eating garlic is coupled with the fact that not only is it healthy, it makes food taste awesome!
- BBC Worldwide. (n.d.). Glossary: Garlic. Retrieved April 3, 2017, from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/garlic
- Rachel Ray Everyday. (2013). Get Fresh with Garlic. Retrieved April 3, 2017, from http://www.rachaelraymag.com/food/get-fresh-with-garlic
- Cedar Circle Farm. (n.d.). Garlic Scapes. Retrieved April 3, 2017, from https://cedarcirclefarm.org/tips/entry/garlic-scapes
- Natural Health Publications Limited. (2010). Allicin Facts. Retrieved April 3, 2017, from http://www.allicinfacts.com/about-allicin/what-is-allicin/