Garlic responds to our cardiovascular problems so completely that I actually think of it as a wise vegetable that co-evolved with us humans almost in lockstep: What we need, it has!
Garlic also increases our body’s supply of glutathione, a natural detoxifier, and aid in colon health. Garlic is also good for combating an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria. With all of these protective effects, no wonder legend has it that garlic also repels vampires!
Tips for Buying and Preparing Garlic
To me, garlic is the king of vegetables: It makes almost every recipe better, and I can’t imagine cooking without it. If you’re used to using garlic powder, I can’t wait for you to switch to the real thing, which has so many more health and flavor benefits that it really is worth the tiny amount of extra trouble involved.
When shopping for fresh garlic, look for a moderate-sized white bulb covered in a natural white papery skin. The skin covers many little cloves of garlic, which you will pull away, peel, and chop up.
Look for firm bulbs, neither mushy nor dried out.
Please avoid the jars of pre-chopped garlic — it just doesn’t taste the same.
To cook garlic, my one overall note: You never want to brown the garlic, only to warm it up enough to flavor the oil. Cook garlic carefully on low heat, and you will be rewarded with a delicious, subtle taste that wakes up all the other ingredients’ flavors.
Rich Vegetable Soup
The French call this type of soup “Soupe a la pistou”: a fragrant vegetable soup garnished with pistou, a savory infusion of chopped fresh basil, garlic, and tomato. It’s a wonderful way to load up on vegetables, which will leave you feeling full and satisfied without that overstuffed, bloated feeling you can sometimes get from too much meat or starch.
You’re also loading up on microbiome superfoods — leeks and carrots in the soup and garlic and tomato in the pistou. If you’re looking for some extra protein, add the chicken pieces. The pistou makes enough for a few servings and will keep well in the fridge or freezer.