Garlic lends its pungent deliciousness to some of Ibiza’s most iconic foods from bread dipped in aioli to seared meat drizzled in garlic sauce. The scent and flavour of garlic is great at any season, but it is especially good in cool weather foods like soups, stews, and stir-fries. Here are a dozen fun facts about garlic, plus how to make perfect roast garlic.
- Garlic comes from the same plant family as lilies.
- Garlic is thought to have originated in central Asia and humans have eaten it for millennia.
- Garlic has long been used as medicine. Texts from ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India all attest to its healing properties.
- Garlic is known to be antioxidant, antiviral, antimicrobial, and have anticancer properties.
- Garlic also has blood-thinning effects, like aspirin.
- Garlic’s unmistakeable smell comes from a chemical reaction that occurs when the plant cells are broken. This means the flavour is strongest when it is freshly cut.
- Garlic is believed to ward off vampires.
- Garlic is definitely toxic to dogs and cats, so keep your pets away from its bulbs.
- Garlic has many beneficial vitamins and minerals, including manganese, selenium, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
- Garlic is a natural pest repellent — you can treat your garden for aphids by spraying it with water infused with garlic.
- Garlic flavour grows more intense the longer it is stored.
- Garlic juice can be used as glue. The clear, sticky liquid you get from crushed cloves is actually strong enough to use as an adhesive for delicate projects.
How to… make perfect roast garlic
Roasted garlic has a distinctive flavour and texture compared to raw. Perfect roast garlic has a soft texture and sweet, smokey flavour that lends extra depth to dips like hummus, soups, stews, and more. It is also incredibly easy. For perfect roast garlic…
Start with a whole large head.
Peel off the excess papery white skin but leave the head intact.
Slice just the top off using a sharp serrated knife.
Get a large sheet of foil and fold it to triple thickness.
Place the garlic in the centre, cut top up.
Fold the foil up around the garlic.
Pour 2-3 tbsp of olive oil over the head, letting it soak into the cloves.
Wrap the head so it is completely covered in foil.
Roast in a hot over (180-200C) for 40-45 minutes.
Remove and leave wrapped till cool.
Individual cloves will pop easily from the skin.
Use in recipes or simply spread over toasted rustic bread along with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Ibiza sea salt.
Share your favourite garlic recipe or food idea in the comments!