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Hy-Vee Dietitian: Gaga for Garlic

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Garlic has been known for centuries for its medicinal qualities. It is a true "original super food." Garlic contains an important cancer-fighting and cholesterol-lowering phyto-nutrient called allicin. This compound is activated by the crushing, mincing or chopping of the garlic bulb. Garlic also contains essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and calcium. Garlic is not a seasoning; it's not even a second cousin to salt and pepper. It is a bulb related to the shallot, onion, leek, and chive. Garlic enhances the flavor of almost any savory dish. Roasting garlic creates a mellow flavor and can be used as an ingredient or as a spread.

When to Buy: Fresh garlic is available year-round, but it's at its peak between February and June.

How to Buy: When buying fresh garlic, look for firm, plump bulbs with dry white or purple papery skins and avoid yellowing skin or bulbs that are shriveled, feel hollow, light, or have brown spots, or those with green sprouts. Note: Minced garlic in the jar is convenient, but there is a flavor difference and the antioxidant, phytochemical allicin is no longer intact. One teaspoon minced equals one clove.

How to Store: Keep fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Unbroken bulbs can be kept up to eight weeks. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will last 3 to 10 days.

How to Roast: Cut off the top of the garlic head, drizzle with a little olive oil, wrap in foil and roast on a baking sheet in 400° F for about 30 minutes until tender and fragrant. Garlic can also be "roasted" in the microwave by preparing as above and instead of foil, cooking for 8 minutes in a shallow microwave-safe dish with a small amount of water and covering with plastic wrap.

Garlic and Jalapeno Hummus

This zesty hummus packs a powerful garlic punch and is best paired with grilled vegetables and whole grain pita bread.
Makes: 1 cup

All you need:

1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, whole
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons tahini
1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, canned, drained and rinsed

All you do:
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, jalapeño, and tahini and sauté until the garlic is golden brown, about 4 minutes.
2. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the remaining garlic clove, chickpeas, lemon juice, and salt. Puree the mixture until smooth, then use a spoon to fold in the parsley. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the hummus to a serving bowl, and serve immediately.
3. This hummus can be stored, covered, and chilled for up to 1 week.


40 Garlic Chicken in Slow Cooker

Enjoy the convenience and pleasure of a kitchen filled with the aromas of roasted chicken and garlic.
Serves 6-8

All you need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
40 cloves (about 3 heads) garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges, divided
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

All you do:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to the slow cooker, along with garlic, wine, stock, lemon juice, bay leaves, and thyme. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook on the low setting for 6 hours.
2. To thicken the sauce, remove from slow cooker discard the thyme and bay leaves. Strain liquid into a small stockpot over medium-high heat, reserving garlic. Simmer until desired thickness is reached, about 10 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste if necessary, and serve chicken with garlic, sauce and lemon wedges.

Source: Recipe adapted from

Alicia Aguiar represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert working throughout the community to promote healthy eating and nutrition. Alicia is a Registered Dietitian and Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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