April 3, 2019 10:47:44 AM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
So many foods, spices and herbs we take for granted have amazing histories. Garlic is one of them. Even if there's nary a werewolf or evil spirit to ward off, springtime's harvest of fresh garlic can inspire a peek into this wonder food that has a significant place in culture and folklore.
Garlic, a close relative of the onion, shallot, leek and chive, has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes by civilizations from Egyptians and Babylonians to the Greeks and Romans.
Did you know slaves building the pyramids were fed garlic for endurance? That Greek athletes would take copious amounts before competition? That Greek and Roman soldiers ate garlic for strength and courage before battle? That in World War I, garlic was used to treat wounds on the front lines? Garlic juice on swabs of sterile sphagnum moss helped prevent gangrene and sepsis in the trenches, says gourmetgarden.com.
Cloves of garlic were found in King Tutankhamen's tomb. Henry IV of France was baptized in water containing garlic (academic.oup.com). Ancients prescribed garlic for digestion, animal bites, arthritis, convulsions, respiratory ailments and a host of other concerns. Modern research, as most of us are aware, has shown that bygone cultures were on to something. Garlic is currently used vfor conditions related to the heart and blood system and numerous other health issues.
But back to the kitchen. Garlic is used in cuisines worldwide. With its spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens with cooking, it's great in stir fries, curries, soups and sauces and pairs well with onions, tomatoes, chili, ginger, basil, beans, chicken, pork and seafood.
Mississippi's garlic harvest season is "coming into bloom," so a few recipes to put garlic to good use are suggested below. One might even find a place in your Easter menu. The garlic-apple pork roast is simple to prepare for a slow cooker. Or use lemon and garlic new potatoes as a side dish. Shrimp lovers may opt for that dish coated in a delicious sticky honey garlic butter soy sauce. Having corn on the cob for supper? Try the garlic lemon butter on it.
A kitchen tip for getting that heady garlic smell off your hands after peeling, from lifehacker.com: Neutralize the odor by rubbing your hands with a stainless steel object (spoon, knife, etc.) under cold water, as if the object was soap. (Try it after handling onions, too.)
Oh, and according to folklore, dreaming that garlic is in the house is supposedly lucky. Dreaming about eating garlic means you will discover hidden secrets. So after eating well, sleep well.
HONEY GARLIC BUTTER SHRIMP
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of one small lemon
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter
Green onions, for garnish
(Source: the recipecritic.com)
GARLIC-APPLE PORK ROAST
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours + standings
Makes 12 servings
1 boneless pork loin roast (3 1/2-4 pounds)
1 jar (12 ounces) apple jelly
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
Nutrition facts: 4 ounces cooked pork: 237 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 165mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 0 fiber), 26g protein.
(Source: tasteofhome.com, Jennifer Loos)
LEMON GARLIC NEW POTATOES
Prep/total time: 25 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1 pound small red potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Nutrition: 3/4 cup: 166 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 2g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1-1/2 fat.
GARLIC LEMON BUTTER
Prep/total time: 10 minutes
Makes 1/2 cups
1/2 cup butter, softened
2-3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
Pepper, to taste
(Source: tasteofhome.com, Margie Wampler)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.