This year, National Garlic Lovers’ Day is on October 6th! A similar national day is called garlic day, but that occurs in April and is different from garlic lovers’ day. Today, we will be sharing facts about garlic and recipes to help you celebrate this national day dedicated to the love of garlic.
Garlic is closely related to the onion family. It was often used medicinally and is still seen today in the form of garlic supplements. Some studies have shown that taking daily garlic supplements can reduce cold symptoms and sick days during cold and flu season. It can also lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and enhance athletic performance. Even though some people can’t stand the pungent smell of garlic, it does have several properties that are beneficial to our health.
The humble garlic plant is native to Asia. Foreign merchants traded garlic to Egypt beginning around 3200 BCE. The ancient Egyptians believed that garlic would protect them from evil spirits due to its strong smell. Workers who built the pyramids ate garlic to help increase their endurance and strength. Today, China is the leader in garlic production, with the United States coming in around the 6th largest garlic producer. Unsurprisingly, China is the country that consumes the most garlic per capita as well.
Now that you know a little more about garlic, here are a few ways to incorporate it into your diet. Garlic is commonly sauteed along with onions and becomes a nice golden color when cooked properly. Many people add minced garlic to pasta, soups, and various Asian dishes. If you don’t like mincing garlic, thinly slice some raw garlic and toss it into a savory salad. A garlic lemon dressing may also add an element of freshness to green salads.
If you prefer tasting a mellow garlic flavor, we recommend roasting your garlic. The best way to do this is to cut off the top part of a garlic bulb, drizzle it with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and wrap it tightly in tin foil. Bake it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to an hour and the garlic cloves will easily squeeze out of the bulb and provide you with deliciously caramelized garlic. As a side note, you can roast two or three heads of garlic in one tin foil packet if you want. One head of roasted garlic will give you about one tablespoon of garlic. Roasted garlic goes well when used in creamy salad dressings, pasta sauces, and sides like mashed potatoes.
Many Americans love garlic bread, so we thought we’d share a simple recipe for garlic butter. That way, you can have some in the fridge ready to make homemade garlic bread whenever you want.
2 sticks of unsalted butter
5 whole garlic cloves (peeled)
½ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs of fresh oregano
1 Tbs of fresh basil
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
Begin by softening the butter on a plate at room temperature. Get a food processor and start with the garlic cloves, oregano, and basil. Pulse to mince these ingredients, then add the butter, cheese, salt, and pepper and blend them into the garlic and herbs. Keep the garlic butter in a sealed container in the fridge. Spread it on warm toast for a quick snack or cut a loaf of French bread, spread it on both sides, and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Garlic butter is also perfect for slathering onto grilled steaks or chicken for added flavor.
For a colorful side dish, try this garlic and spinach orzo. This recipe makes enough for six servings and only requires one pot. If you want to make an entree out of it, pair it with beef, chicken, or shrimp.
1 garlic bulb (roasted)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 ¾ cups of orzo
2 ½ cups of chicken stock
3 ounces of cream cheese (cubed)
9 ounces of fresh spinach (trimmed and chopped)
¼ cup of shredded Asiago cheese
¼ cup of low-fat milk
¼ tsp of salt
¼ tsp of black pepper
2 Tbs of freshly minced parsley
First, roast the garlic bulb and let it cool before squeezing the garlic cloves from the skin. In a large pot, heat the oil and add the orzo. Stir and let it cook for about 2 minutes until they turn light brown. Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let the orzo cook for about 10 minutes until it absorbs the liquid. Stir in the cream cheese until it melts, and add the remaining ingredients. Let it continue to cook until the spinach has wilted, and sprinkle the parsley on top right before serving.
Lastly, here’s a hearty vegetarian-friendly garlic tortellini soup to warm you up during the cool fall weather.
1 Tbs of butter
2 freshly minced garlic cloves
43.5 ounces of vegetable broth
9 ounces of refrigerated tortellini pasta
14.5 ounces of Rotel (undrained)
10 ounces of frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed)
Put a large saucepan on medium heat and saute the garlic in melted butter for about a minute. Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it for about 7 minutes, then stir in the last two ingredients and let it heat through before serving.
As you can see, there are various ways to add garlic to a dish, and we encourage you to experiment with new recipes and cuisines at home. From all of us at The Lintonian, we hope you enjoy national Garlic Lovers’ Day this year!