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National Garlic Day

19th April is national Garlic Day Whether you love it or hate it, the health benefits of eating garlic are now universally hailed. Although native to Asia, itís been used in various parts of the world for thousands of years both for culinary and medicinal purposes such as treating wounds, infections and intestinal parasites and is even mentioned in Egyptian hieroglyphs. In fact, surgeons in World War I even used it when they ran out of antiseptics in the field. Today many scientists have concluded from the results of numerous clinical trials, that garlic not only has anti-bacterial properties but also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Garlic also contains allyl sulfur compounds which are currently being studied by the National Cancer Institute for their ability to slow or prevent the growth of tumour cells which may prove effective in fighting certain cancers. Try not to overdo it though, as excessive intake can have harmful side effects from diarrhoea to a decrease in calcium levels, so limit your intake to 1 to 2 cloves a day.

If the above hasnít convinced you to eat garlic, at least on National Garlic Day, below are some other reasons to encourage you which have been recognised throughout the ages, although it should be noted that they havenít yet been conclusively proved:-

Repels Vampires
Cures warts
Grows hair
Wards off the evil eye
Prevents catching the Plague

No vampires or plague in your district? Then why not just eat it for the wonderful flavour. A word of caution. Itís worth noting that the smaller you chop garlic, the more pungent it becomes. Garlic cloves which are cooked whole are generally quite mild, whereas garlic which has been pushed through a garlic press is 10 times stronger than garlic which has been chopped with a knife. So, if you want a milder tasting dish, either add whole cloves or lightly crush with the flat surface of a knife.

Why stop there? If youíve never grown garlic, try growing a couple of plants in pots or containers - thereís nothing better than picking your own fresh garlic which tends to be much sweeter than the dried garlic you buy in the shops. Itís really simple and thereís still time to get them in before the end of April. Simply buy a bulb from your supermarket or greengrocer and divide it into cloves, making sure you leave the skin on the individual segments. Fill 13cm/5-inch pots with ordinary potting compost and plant one clove per pot, pointed end upwards, in an upright position about 5cm/2-inches deep. There should be 2.5cm/1-inch of compost covering the tip. Water the container well and place in the sunniest position available.

From early-June, feed with a general plant food every two weeks until mid August. Stop feeding and watering in late August and by mid/late September you should have a fully formed bulb waiting to be harvestedÖ.and eaten!

In the meantime, celebrate National Garlic day on 19th April by cooking the fabulous recipe below.  If this one doesnít take your fancy, you can find hundreds more recipes using garlic on this site. Use the Search form to find them all

Garlic Linguine with Mushrooms

Vegetarian Main Course

Serves 4      Prep and cooking time 20 minutes


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450g/1lb Linguine
25g/1oz Butter
90ml/3fl.oz. Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
450g/1lb Mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp freshly chopped Parsley
Black Pepper


1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. 2. Add plenty of salt and the linguine and cook for 8-10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil and garlic in a saucepan then add the mushrooms and sautť gently until golden, stirring from time to time.

4. Add the parsley, salt and pepper to the mushroom mixture and mix well.

5. Drain the cooked pasta well, return to the rinsed out pan and stir in the oil and garlic mixture, tossing to coat well. Serve immediately.



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