There are few smells that I like as much as the smell of garlic sauteing in my home. Until a few years ago, I would have simply minced up garlic as a recipe called for it and thrown in on the stove right away. I have since learned some of the amazing health benefits of garlic and how to unleash them.
You see, garlic has a very high sulfur content. Although this sulfuric property gives garlic a somewhat a bad reputation for the bad breath it can leave you with, it actually is extremely beneficial for your health.
Fresh garlic has 2 separate compounds held within it- allinase and alliin. These two bioactive components in garlic combine when crushed or chopped to form the sulfuric compound, Allicin. Allicin is a very powerful compound known to both help prevent numerous types of cancer (such as breast, colon, esophageal, stomach, and pancreatic to name a few). Amazing, right?
The point? Garlic is good for much more than just adding flavor to a dish or aroma to a home. So what’s the problem? Most dishes that call for garlic ask you to heat it by baking, sautéing, etc. Forming allicin takes a few minutes after crushing it, and heat can actually stop this process leaving you with the same garlic flavor but without the amazing health benefit.
The solution: it’s simple. The next time you are cooking a dish that calls for garlic, chop the garlic first and let it sit for about 5 -10 minutes. This will give the garlic enough time to do it’s thing.
And to celebrate this cancer fighting vegetable, I plan to enjoy a big bowl of marinara sauce tonight… after chopping the garlic and letting it sit first, of course.