by Daphne Lambert
Pungent garlic has been cultivated for thousands of years and is used in nearly every cuisine in the world. In addition to adding flavour to food it is a potent medicine shown to possess antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic activity. 1
Garlic stimulates the activity of the digestive organs, is a natural antibiotic, is excellent for intestinal infections, helps lower blood pressure, lowers the risk of heart disease, stimulates circulation and is good for respiratory problems.
Garlic is a source of a variety of nutrients, including manganese, selenium, and vitamin C. However, it is the sulphur rich compounds found in garlic that are so immensely beneficial to our health. Allicin in raw crushed garlic is a well-studied therapeutic sulphur compound. The action of crushing or chewing raw garlic cloves releases the enzyme alliinase, which converts the compound alliin in garlic to allicin, which reduces inflammation and protects the body from free radicals.
Heat destroys the enzyme alliinase, so give the allicin time to form before cooking. Resting the crushed garlic also allows numerous other beneficial sulphur compounds to form. Garlic contains several sulphur containing amino acids, including cysteine and methionine.
Garlic has an infinite number of uses in the kitchen from a gentle rub in the salad bowl to the delicious, intense taste of garlic soup and the lively flavours of ferments.
2 garlic heads
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
600g potatoes, peeled and diced
1 litre veg stock
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Cut a slice off the top of 1 head of garlic to reveal the tops of the cloves. Brush with oil and place in a small shallow dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
Peel and finely dice the other head of garlic and set aside.
Gently cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil for 10 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching. Add the thyme and the raw chopped garlic and continue to cook on a low heat for 3–4 minutes. Add the potatoes, stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes.
Take off the heat and squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the soup. Blitz in a processor or blender until smooth. Return to the pan, warm through, check for seasoning, divide between 4 bowls and serve.
brine made from 2 tablespoons salt & 1 litre of water
Fill a litre jar within 1 inch of the top with garlic cloves.
Pour over the brine. Add a weight to keep the cloves submerged under the brine.
Loosely cover with muslin.
Sit on a plate and leave at room temperature to ferment for 4 weeks.
Fix a lid and store in a cool dry place.
225ml garlic cloves
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
225 ml raw honey
Fill a 500 ml jar with garlic cloves add the apple cider vinegar
Completely cover with honey
Fix a lid loosely, stand on a plate, and leave to sit at room temperature
Every day tighten the lid, shake well to make sure the cloves are well coated with honey, then loosen the lid and return to the plate.
Once bubbles appear on the surface of the honey, stop the shaking and leave to ferment for 1 month before using.
Store in a cool dry place
Excellent medicine but not suitable for babies under 18 months