The stinking rose

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stinking Rose. Hee. A cute name for garlic. It’s called that because a) it stinks; and, b) it has many reported therapeutic benefits.

I don’t care if it stinks; garlic is just GOOD STUFF. You can perk up the flavor of just about any dull old food simply by throwing in some garlic. Besides, it’s an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and selenium and, when hung in a cluster around your neck, also helps in warding off vampires.

In addition, studies have shown garlic has significant cardiovascular benefits and may promote weight control. If I started listing the myriad of health benefits that have been laid at the door of garlic, my vow of shorter posts would be broken in the very first week. If you need more details, go here.

I have always been afraid of fresh garlic. No, I don’t mean to imply that I might be a vampire - I love everything about garlic, but the whole fresh bulb thing kind of freaks me out. I have never learned how to use it. So I buy it pre-chopped in glass jars at the grocery store. Or just use garlic powder.

If I had cool kitchen gadgets like this garlic peeler or this garlic press, I would be a garlic chopping fool. And this ceramic garlic keeper is so cute I think I would buy lots of fresh garlic just to have an excuse to put this on my kitchen counter.

But I don’t have any of those things (yet) so I must do this the old-fashioned way. I will now share with you garlic preparation tips for the novice.

Tips for Preparing Garlic:

Not to scare you or anything, but the first thing you have to know is that there are TWO LAYERS of skin that you have to get rid of before you get to the actual garlic. (Those pre-chopped jars of garlic don’t sound so silly now, do they?) The first step is to separate the individual cloves. Place the bulb on a cutting board or hard surface and gently, but firmly, apply pressure with the palm of your hand at an angle. This will cause the layers of skin that hold the bulb together to separate.

So now you’ve got the first layer off, but you still have to get the skin off the individual cloves. Oy. To do that, place a clove with the smooth side down on a cutting board and gently tap it with the flat side of a wide knife. You can then remove the skin either with your fingers or with a small knife. That’s it. Now start chopping.

I am still practicing with these instructions – it’s not as easy for me as that made it sound – but I will persevere until I can peel garlic in two seconds like this guy:

P.S. For heaven’s sake – don’t MICROWAVE your garlic. Doing so strips it of its beneficial blood-thinning effects.


Bonnie said...

Garlic is terrific stuff! I have heard that the pre-chopped does not have the same health benefits as chopping it fesh. I believe it loses vitamins when it's been cut and exposed. Any truth to that? And the little jar is a new reason to buy fresh! (Although I have a large jar sitting in my fridge right now!)

Tanya said...

I love garlic. I mince it into everything! I have never heard of that jar before. You always find the most interesting little tidbits woman!

Irene said...

And don't forget my best friend, the garlic mandoline

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

I like the mandoline - pretty cool!