4 Reasons We Love Garlic So Much
Your palate has five distinct tastes: bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami (savory). You also sense cool and hot components, such as peppermint’s refreshing bite or peppers’ sharp heat. Perhaps one of the reasons we love garlic so much is that it satisfies several different tastes, depending on the preparation.
This makes it an incredibly versatile addition to a wide range of dishes. Are you wondering why so many people adore this ingredient? Here are just a few reasons to add it to the menu.
1. It Tastes Amazing (Obviously)
Sometimes referred to as “the stinking rose,” a garlic bulb is most notable for its pungent aroma. This odor is due to allicin, a volatile organic sulfur compound. Garlic releases this compound as a defense mechanism when you damage it by cutting or crushing it.
This strong aroma can make raw garlic difficult to consume. But chefs can neutralize the allicin with heat. Cooking garlic leaves behind a pleasant flavor that can be sweet, spicy, and savory.
You might roast garlic whole for maximum sweetness. Alternatively, you can add minced garlic to dishes in the final cooking moments. Adding it at the end punches up the complexity with the addition of spice and pungency. For the strongest flavor, you might serve raw garlic in dressings, aioli, or crushed to a paste.
2. Exceptional Versatility
The flavor of garlic changes when it’s raw, cooked, or in the form of dried powder. This versatility allows it to enhance a wide range of dishes. You might add it to sauces like pesto, Bolognese, or even simple aglio e olio. It can transform the taste of bland pasta with its sweet and savory appeal.
Garlic also complements a range of other spices, from sweet basil to savory thyme to herbal oregano and parsley. Its addition creates a richer and more complex profile that elevates the appeal of all kinds of dishes.
You’ll find that garlic also pairs beautifully with savory meats. It upgrades basic potato dishes and even enhances the appeal of desserts like cakes, cookies, and truffles.
3. Health Benefits
You might already love garlic for its flavor. You’ll also be happy to know that studies have shown a number of health benefits linked to this bulbous vegetable. It may boost immune function and reduce high blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Garlic also delivers antioxidant benefits that contribute to greater overall health at the cellular level.
4. It Wards Off Pests
The sulfur compounds in raw garlic are responsible for its pungent odor. They also serve as a preservative for the bulb and a means of warding off predators. That’s why medieval Europeans considered garlic a curative or antibiotic substance. It also explains why many thought it would counteract the blood disease believed to cause vampirism.
In addition, the odor will keep pests like aphids, flies, mosquitos, slugs, beetles, and worms out of your garden. It may also repel vermin like mice, moles, rabbits, and deer. While a garland over your door is more decorative than a deterrent, growing it in your garden offers many advantages.
Do You Need More Reasons to Love Garlic?
By this point, you’re probably sold on garlic’s benefits from a health and culinary perspective. But you might need one more reason to reach for a bulb. Consider that this common vegetable and spice option is incredibly easy to procure. You can simply grow your own at home. It’s also readily available in grocery stores, where you can buy it fresh, powdered, minced, or crushed.
You can also find garlic in your favorite dishes at Spizzico Italian Kitchen. Stop by the next time you’re hankering for the home-cooked delight of an Italian meal. You’ll find pizza, pasta, subs, and more that will satisfy the whole family.