The first time I ate some raw garlic I didn’t know any better; I grabbed a big clove, peeled it, stuck it in my mouth and chomped down on it. Then I started chewing. Here is an actual photo of me thirty seconds later:
Well, I learned a lesson, didn’t I? This stuff is really, really potent in its raw form. That’s what makes it such a good (and interesting) addition to your medicine chest because it works on bacteria that you don’t want in your system, even including viruses, and that’s something that antibiotics can’t do. For me, that last bit of information was a real eye opener.
The first time I heard about using raw garlic from what I would consider to be a credible source was when my naturopath told me she had stopped a sinus infection with it. This got my attention, because I have a history of these, or I should say I had a history of sinus infections when I was still eating wheat; I haven’t had one in the three years since I stopped. So I did some reading and found that people claim it cures just about anything. Immediately, my skepticism kicked in because you find the same thing about everything from vitamin E to Kombucha. I like Kombucha and I make my own, and I even see some health benefits to it, but come on – some of the claims are preposterous and it’s hard not to feel the same way about garlic. But garlic has a lot going on for it.
First, there’s that interesting notion that it can kill viruses, something that antibiotics cannot do. And fascinatingly, it even acts on resistant strains of bacteria that have developed in response to the use of antibiotics and the bacteria are not able to develop resistance to the garlic because it does not operate the same way biochemically that the antibiotics do (apparently it even kills MRSA, the resistant staph bacterium you may have heard about); this is cool, indeed, even if they are only speaking of direct application to the bacteria, which is unclear to me in the reference.
Hence my experience above. I had felt like I was starting to get a sore throat, so I gave the garlic a try. It really did feel like the cure was worse than the disease, what with all the steam coming out of my ears, the flashing purple light I saw, the bells ringing in my ears, just kidding – but it was too strong for me to do on a regular basis. But then I noticed that the sore throat never progressed. Right, it’s just anecdotal evidence but I found it intriguing. (If I say “I broke my leg” it’s just anecdotal evidence, too, but the leg is still broken. You have to start somewhere.)
The Linus Pauling Institute has considerable information on garlic and I appreciate that they show you when the data doesn’t bear something out. For a good rundown on the nuts and bolts of garlic’s properties and how to work with it, try this site.
Finally, this ancient article in the Chicago Tribune can point you in all sorts of directions if you are interested in the plant.
There is an immense amount of material available on garlic so I won’t load this post down with more links when you can probably Google sites tailored to your specific interest – I am more interested in trying to figure out how to eat the stuff raw. It doesn’t do you any good medicinally if you cook it, but in its raw form it’s pretty corrosive when you try to just eat it. So further experiments were necessary.
While a lot of people like to eat it in salsa I find that the easiest way for me to take it is mixed with fat, and in my case that would be mayonnaise. We make our own mayonnaise because all of the commercial products we have access to are made with soy, a “food” that I want nothing to do with. While I wrote of my frustration with trying to make mayo using MCT oil we don’t seem to have such problems with olive oil and if you use very light olive oil the result tastes a lot better than the bitter mayonnaise you get with extra virgin oil. And since I love aïoli using garlic with mayo is a no-brainer indeed. For me, the best way to eat raw garlic is to mash a good sized clove in the press, let it sit for 15 minutes (this step increases the production of allicin, one of the Good Guys in the story
and without a doubt the inspiration for Elvis Costello’s song) and then mix it with a tablespoon or so of mayonnaise and some salt. Then I eat it with a meal. For me, raw garlic on an empty stomach is not a good thing, so I always eat it with some food.
A blob of mayo with garlic in its natural habitat:
Clockwise from the mayo: Tri-colored carrots and chopped red onion simmered in butter with mixed herbs; pastured beef shanks braised with port and root vegetables; romano beans sauteed in butter, salt and pepper. -Mrs. Tyrannocaster
It was so hot last evening that I had a rather small meal, which explains the mingy quantities of food for a dinner. 🙂 I could have also just mixed the crushed garlic with some of the bone marrow you can see next to the shank in back and added a bit of salt but I didn’t think of it in time. That’s delicious, though, and I’ll do that tonight since dinner’s going to be the same entrée.
Important note (besides the mention of fermenting garlic, which is in the comments): use only garlic that you know has not been irradiated. All garlic that comes to us from outside the USA has been nuked. That’s one tangible benefit to buying organic; radiation not allowed.
Stay young and monstrous.
Also…Välkommen till alla mina nya besökare från Sverige! Mina farföräldrar kom från Sverige i slutet av 1800-talet, men tyvärr talar jag inte svenska. Jag hoppas att du tycker om min webbplats. (Thanks to Risto of Rikstone Amps for translating that for me.)