Botanically speaking, garlic is a vegetable. Any edible portion of a herbaceous plant, such as the roots, leaves, stems, and bulbs, is considered a vegetable.
Garlic belongs to the onion family, alongside shallots, leeks, and chives.
Facts About Garlic
There are 450 varieties of garlic and it is one of the oldest food flavorings.
Archeological discoveries show that garlic was used as a seasoning in Neolithic times, more than 8 thousand years ago.
Garlic contains many trace minerals which are important for normal functioning of our metabolism. Among them are copper, iron, magnesium, germanium, zinc and selenium.
Garlic was first domesticated in central Asia where it spread out to the rest of the world in the 3rd millennia BC.
Garlic was used as a wound antiseptic and cure for infections in both World War I and World War II.
90% of United States garlic production comes from California.
Cooking With Garlic
Although garlic is a vegetable, it is more commonly used to flavor foods, as it has a pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens with cooking.
In fact, second only to onions, it may be the most popular vegetable used for flavoring cuisines worldwide.
Garlic can be used in cooking either crushed, minced, or used whole. It is commonly roasted or sautéed.
Garlic mixed with butter or olive oil may be applied to different kinds of breads to create garlic bread, garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini, and canapé.
Olive oil is typically mixed with minced or chopped garlic and herbs, like thyme, rosemary, parsley or basil among others and used to season vegetables, such as with these Roasted Green Beans & Tomatoes with a Garlic Sour Cream Sauce or meats, and pastas.
Garlic is even used to make pesto, salsa and dressings or vinaigrettes.
Garlic must be stored unpeeled in a dark, cool, dry place, away from other foods. It is not recommended to store garlic in the refrigerator.
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