Ingredient of the Month: Garlic
By now you may have noticed that each month we feature one of the 10 core ingredients in Fire Cider, April is Garlic Month so here are 10 fun facts about Allium sativum!
1. The average person consumes 2lbs of garlic per year.
- That might not be fun for the people around you but finding different ways to eat roughly 300 cloves could be fun!
2. The cloves, those adorable little lumps all wrapped up together in the papery bulb, are not the only way to enjoy adding a garlicky kick to your meals.
- Some varieties of garlic produce “scapes,” green shoots that can be used like scallions and are a great addition to pestos, soups, and butters.
3. When you cut or smash garlic it goes through an amazing transformation! When the cell walls are broken garlic’s thio-sulfinite compounds turn into allicin, and this stuff is awesome.
- Antibiotic and antifungal, allicin is believed to reduce bad cholesterol, as it inhibits enzymes from growing in liver cells. It also helps oxide release in the blood vessels, relaxing them and thus bringing about a drop in blood pressure. Who knew stress relief could be so tasty?!
4. It delivers so many vitamins, minerals and beneficial compounds to your system.
- Packed with potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and Vitamin C.
- Garlic also contains 17 amino acids that are essential to nearly every bodily function, and make up 75% of the human body.
- Every chemical reaction that takes place in your body depends on amino acids and the proteins that they build. It is important to ingest essential amino acids daily because they are not stored for later use in the body like fats and starches.
5. Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated crops and even appears in ancient Egyptian scrolls!
- It’s believed that Pharaohs plied their pyramid-builders with garlic for strength.
- The Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian text lists 22 different medicinal uses for the plant.
- Garlic also makes appearances in some major classical texts with shout-outs from Virgil, Pliny the Elder, and Chaucer!
6. Though its origins are in Asia, the name we know it best by possibly comes from a combination of two Anglo-Saxon words.
- The spear plant, seemingly named so because of the shape of it’s leaves, “gar” (spear) and “lac” (plant).
7. In a pinch, garlic can be used as a glue!
- If you've chopped or sliced garlic you know how sticky it can make your fingers.
- Cliff notes version: some of the compounds in the garlic are chemically attracted to the proteins in your skin.
8. It’s part of a colorful and tasty family of plants, calling shallots, onions, and leeks, as well as lillys part of it’s clan.
9. The city of Chicago may be named after garlic!
- There is a word from the dialect of the Algonquin language, “shikaakwa,” meaning striped skunk or smelly onion.
- The spelling “Chicagaoua” was first put in print by a French Canadian fur trader describing a settlement along the banks of Lake Michigan.
10. If you are afraid of garlic you have Alliumphobia.