Taste (Rasa): Sweet, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent
Energetics (Virya): Heating
Doshic Effects: Pacifying for Vata and Kapha
Benefits & Use: Intensely aromatic and flavorful, garlic is used in virtually every cuisine in the world. When eaten raw, it has a powerful, pungent flavor to match its mighty benefits. It is particularly high in a certain sulfur compound, alliin, that is believed to be responsible for its scent and taste, as well as its positive effects on health. (Garlic benefits rank only second to turmeric benefits in the amount of research backing this superfood.) Eating garlic regularly has been linked to reducing or even helping to prevent four of the major causes of death worldwide, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and infections. It is also a known blood cleanser, aiding in detoxification and immunity.
Additional Uses: A an external application, garlic paste improves blood circulation and relieves pain, which is excellent for joint inflammation and stiffness from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and sciatica.
In the Kitchen: Garlic is consumed in both raw and cooked forms. When enjoying it raw, be sure to thoroughly chew the garlic to crush the plants cells and release the alliinase enzymes. If going with the cooked route, I recommend finely chopping or mincing the garlic, crushing far more plant cells and again, releasing the beneficial alliinase enzymes. High heat for long period of time will risk damaging these nutrients as well as make the garlic bitter so expose garlic to heat for as little time as possible (5-15 minutes).
Recipe: Tuscan White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup
- 1 lb dry Cannellini beans, rinsed
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled
- 8 cups water
- 4 sage leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tb chicken bouillon or cube (or substitute vegetable bouillon)
- sea salt and white pepper to taste
- Place beans, 6 cloves of the garlic, water and a few sage leaves in the crock pot; cover and set to HIGH for 4 hours, or until beans are soft. Don’t add salt.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°. Place remaining garlic cloves in the center of a 7×7 inch square of aluminum foil. Cover garlic with olive oil and a little salt. Seal aluminum tightly and place in the oven 25-30 minutes, until garlic is soft and golden. Remove from oven and set aside until the beans are done.
- When the beans are soft, add the bouillon and mix well until dissolved.
- Carefully transfer some of the beans and liquid along with the roasted garlic to the blender.
- Blend until smooth and pour it back into the crock pot. Repeat with the remaining beans until you get the texture you desire. You can also use an immersion blender if you have one.
- Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
- Serve with fresh sage and white pepper. Add some whole roasted garlic cloves on top (optional).