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Allium sativum. The scientific name of this bulbous plant which has been appreciated in the kitchen, by herbalists, and in the world of medicine for thousands of years.
Bedouin. In the desert, the Bedouins peel and squeeze garlic to obtain its juice, which they then use to alleviate the venomous effects of scorpion stings.
China. The world’s biggest producer of garlic, China recently made a request to the European Union for PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status for its Jinxiang Da Suan garlic.
Drew Barrymore. This actress is allergic to some foods including garlic and coffee. It’s a very different situation for other stars like Halle Berry and Megan Fox, however, who love garlic.
Egypt. Here, garlic was considered to be a true panacea. Doctors prescribed eating it to cure coughs and fevers. Beginning with the Pharaohs, garlic was also periodically used over the centuries in enemas designed to purify the body and avoid intestinal infections.
Flavor. Its pungent flavor is unmistakable. After having eaten it, the flavor remains in the mouth, causing very noticeable bad breath. It also enters the bloodstream, however, changing the smell of your sweat.
Glue. All you have to do is peel a clove of garlic, squeeze it, and filter the juice. The result is an extremely sticky liquid which can be used to glue paper and smaller pieces of wood or ceramics.
Hinduism. For Hindus, garlic, like onions, is not an ingredient which favors the free flow of energy. Strict believers think it should hardly ever be consumed.
Insects. Garlic is a natural insecticide. In order to keep many kinds of parasites away from your plants, all you have to do is bury a few cloves nearby, or prepare a garlic infusion and spray it onto them.
Jamie Oliver. The famous English chef and TV star shows off the perfect technique for peeling, slicing and dicing garlic in this video.
Korea. In this country, black garlic is considered divine. Here, garlic undergoes a special fermentation treatment which turns the bulb completely black. Legend has it that those who eat it become immortal.
Low humidity. In order to better conserve it for use in the kitchen, it should be kept somewhere cool and dry with low levels of humidity.
Medicine. In many cultures, garlic is considered to be a natural antibiotic, with many uses. High in Vitamin C, it also has antiviral and antibacterial qualities, and helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Some experts also believe that it also protects against certain forms of tumors.
Natural history. This is one of history’s most famous and ancient treatises on science, botany and medicine, written by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century AD. Garlic is mentioned many times in the Naturalis Historia, in the sections on botany, herbs and medicine.
Onions. Onions and garlic are closely related plants, and are found together in many recipes, where they are used in the preparation of a flavor base. Shallots, another bulbous plant, are the natural link between these two odorous ingredients in terms of taste.
Powder. If you can’t find any fresh garlic, you can also use the powdered variety in the kitchen, which keeps well in the cupboard. A pinch of garlic gives the same amount of flavor as a clove.
Quantity. Before an operation or childbirth, it should only be consumed in low quantities, as it has the effect of thinning the blood, creating a risk of hemorrhage. On the other hand, it’s perfect during breastfeeding, as it favors the production of milk.
Rabbits. Garlic is toxic to rabbits. Some farmers use garlic bulbs to protect their crops from attack by these rodents.
Spirituality. In Islamic cultures, eating garlic before going to pray at the mosque is considered inappropriate. The resulting bad odor distracts the faithful from their prayers.
Testosterone. A clove of garlic will lower levels of estrogen and raise testosterone levels. Given its benefits for circulation, the combined effects mean that it’s considered to be a natural kind of Viagra.
USA. Garlic, in its different varieties, grows all over the USA, apart from Alaska. It is produced in the greatest quantity in California.
Vampires. Legend has it that these horrific creatures are terrified of garlic. There’s even a scientific explanation for this: vampires display similar characteristics to those who suffer from porphyria, an oversensitivity to light. For people who suffer from this disorder, garlic is dangerous: it stimulates the production of toxins which further worsen their health.
Water. 80% of a garlic bulb is made up of water. Other nutritionally interesting substances found in them are carbohydrates (8%) and fiber ( 3%). Proteins and fats are present in minimal quantities.
Xeric plants. These are plants, including some species of garlic, which have become adapted to very dry climates. Living in these extreme conditions means that they have less parasites to contend with.
Yunnan. This is a Chinese province where an unusual variety of garlic is grown: its bulbs are formed of one single large clove, rather than being made up of lots of cloves. This species is also known as Pearl Garlic.
Zinc and sulfur. These are just some of the minerals present in garlic. The first is responsible for its penetrating odor, while the second is an element which is good for male fertility: it stimulates the production of semen, and makes for healthy sperm.
Photo by gail m tang | flickr