Green Garlic Anyone?
Green Garlic is a delicacy of springtime. One of the first fresh foods we are able to pluck from the ground after the winter months, green garlic is the immature version of the familiar bulb. The small rounded root has not yet divided into cloves, and its tall green stalks are still tender and fresh. In its youth, garlic resembles green onions, has only a hint of garlicky spunk and radiates an amiable sweetness throughout.
In this stage, the entirety of the garlic plant can be consumed, and likely enjoyed. Unlike the often-overbearing pungency of mature garlic, green garlic is mild and flavorful: perfect in fresh salads, dressings, sandwiches, pastas and grilled vegetable platters. No need to cook it to death or make sure your friends and family eat it too, because green garlic does not have the bite and lingering smell that mature garlic does. Enjoy it fresh dipped in your favorite dressing or hummus!
The healthy perks of green garlic are just icing on the cake. Finally, the warmer weather, backyard BBQ’s and outdoor adventures have arrived, and enjoying this seasonally fresh food can help keep your body healthy and your immune system strong so you can take advantage of it all. Both the mature garlic clove and green garlic are potent anti-microbial, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral foods, but the strength of these benefits is increased when consumed raw, as green garlic often is.
What many have reduced to a mere cooking accoutrement, can actually help your body fight off or recover from a cold, combat yeast in your digestive system, ward off asthma and hay fever and promote the growth of healthy intestinal flora. Eliminate the harmful invaders that can cause digestive upset, colds, flu and degenerative diseases while providing a significant immune system boost with this naturally healing plant.
Garlic’s natural heat promotes warmth throughout the body, enhancing circulation, toxin elimination and digestion. Garlic, and other members of the onion family are rich in sulfur, which helps improve the digestion of protein/amino acids and has warming and purifying qualities. The pulp of garlic can also be applied topically to reduce swelling and prevent infection.
However, whether you are adding green garlic to soups, salads or sandwiches or enjoying it plain and simple, the health benefits will likely be secondary to the simple pleasure of a fresh spring food that signifies the official start of warmer weather and a bounty of produce. Knowing, in the back of your mind, that you are giving your body a natural boost may just make each bite a bit more delicious.
I am adding 2 bunches of green garlic to my Green Grocery order this week and looking forward to when the garlic shoots in my own garden are ready for spring harvest. One bunch will be tossed lightly in olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and thrown on the grill beside a fresh piece of salmon with a hazelnut pesto crust. With the other, I am going to try a few new recipes and have a sampling ready for you to check out on Thursday.
In the meantime, if you are feeling like you need an energizing, immune system, circulatory or just an all-around boost, try making a fresh pesto with the stalks and bulbs of green garlic, a fresh herb of your choice, a handful of toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese and a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Green garlic pesto will give both your body and your taste buds the vigor they have been looking for!