There are many reasons to eat garlic. And while many love the taste, it also provides an array of health benefits. So it makes sense to eat and enjoy garlic in a way that will maximize its nutritive potential. Chopping helps increase the healthy, potentially disease fighting enzyme found in garlic called allicin. Storing garlic correctly then helps maintain allicin’s healing potential. Follow these tips to make garlic an immunity boosting, anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
4 Ways to Get the Best Out of Garlic:
1. Wait for the Right Time:
One of the health promoting components found in garlic is this enzyme allicin. The trick is that this forms only 10 mins after chopping. So you must chop garlic 5 to 10 minutes before use. If you consume or cook it right away your garlic won’t live up to its full protective, disease fighting potential. I first learned this one from George Mateljan’s fabulous book The Worlds Healthiest Foods. This is a great book and you can learn more from him about preparing and cooking healthy foods here.
2. Don’t Overcook, Go Raw:
Including raw garlic in your daily regimen is considered advantageous. Many of the cancer fighting, cardiovascular supporting enzymes found in garlic are destroyed by the cooking process. A better way to maintain the nutrients when using garlic for a cooked recipe is to first chop it. Once the allicin has formed, add the garlic in the last few minutes of cooking. This will protect the garlic from getting burnt. The reduced cooking time will also mean that fewer of the developed enzymes will be destroyed.
3. Avoid Delaying Consumption:
While letting garlic sit for a few minutes increases its health potential, letting it sit too long does quite the opposite. While chopped garlic will stay edible and fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week, the enzymes begin to lose their potency in just a few hours. A general recommendation is to store chopped garlic for a maximum of 12 hours. It will taste fine once this window passes, but your cells will be missing out on much of what it can provide.
4. Cautious Storage:
Storing chopped garlic and olive oil at room temperature can actually lead to botulism. This is a real threat and is directly proportional to storage period. If you make more than you can use, always refrigerate leftovers and discard after a week. Additionally, be careful not to use high heat when cooking with garlic olive oil. Both garlic and olive oil are meant for low to medium heat at most and the mixture is likely to become burnt and rancid otherwise.
Enjoy garlic. It is one of the healthiest foods out there. It has many health benefits from cancer prevention to immunity support to cardiovascular protection. Consuming garlic is one of the best ways to use food to fight the common cold. Just make sure that you are getting everything you can out of this viable superfood. Follow these tips for chopping and storing to maximize allicin and get the most out of its health potential.