Garlic

Keeps bad energy away!

In Greece when we want to compliment somebody but without casting him or her with an evil eye we tend to say “Ftou Skorda” which is something like spiting and evoking garlic. You must thing we’re totally crazy but customs like that shape this “ethnic charm” that makes different cultures so interesting to outsiders.

garlic_1For a small vegetable, garlic sure has a big, and well deserved, reputation. Whole books and myths are centered on garlic, an herb affectionately called “the stinking rose” in light of its numerous therapeutic benefits. Garlic is rich in a variety of powerful sulfur-containing compounds, responsible for its characteristically pungent odor, but also many of its health-promoting effects.

These compounds, the sulfur molecules have been shown to function as antioxidants and provide us with anti-inflammatory benefits. Additionally, garlic is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin B6, a very good source of vitamin C and copper, and a good source of selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, and calcium.

But more importantly garlic has amazing cardioprotective properties: it’s able to lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol as well as lower blood pressure.

In Greece, garlic has been cultivated since antiquity both for adding more flavor in food preparation, and its pharmaceutical properties. It’s been described by Herodotus and Aristophanes and Aristotle was said to be using it for its invigorating effects.

Nowadays more than 30.000 hectares of garlic are cultivated in the country, especially Macedonia, Thrace, and Larissa with the annual production reaching about 18.000 tons.

Garlic is a wonderful seasoning to add aroma, taste, and added nutrition to your dishes. In Greece we use garlic to make “skordalia” a thick puree made by combining crushed garlic with a bulky base—which may be a purée of potatoes, walnuts, almonds, or liquid-soaked stale bread—and then beating in olive oil to make a smooth emulsion. Vinegar is often added.

Go ahead and try it if you ever find yourself in Greece, it’s usually an accompaniment to fishes like cod or calamari, but please make sure that your “accompaniment” will also have a taste of it or return home alone!

MLGFB Tip: How to make your own “skordalia” with bread

garlic_2Ingredients (for a big cup):  4 cloves of garlic, 4 thick slices of bread, 4 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. vinegar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, salt

Preparation:

  • Remove the crusts from bread and soak in water.
  • Peel garlic cloves, remove sprout if exists and crush them.
  • Squeeze the water out of the bread.
  • Put bread, crushed garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and salt in a mixer. Blend, while adding the oil drop by drop, until  the mixture becomes smooth.

Recipe by skopelos.net

Photo Credits: Photo 1, Photo 2, Header Photo

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