Garlic is one of the most popular herbs all over the world. You might be surprised to know that, despite its strong flavor and scent, garlic is actually a member of the lily family — its cousins include onions, shallots and leeks.
Garlic is also good for your heart. Although studies aren’t final, there is some evidence that garlic can cause small reductions in cholesterol over short periods of time (four to 12 weeks). Scientists are continuing to study whether garlic may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol.
Types of Garlic
Besides the well-known, white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic, you might want to try Italian and Mexican varieties — both of which are purplish in color and milder tasting.
Then there’s green garlic, which is young garlic before it forms cloves. With its long, green top and tiny white bulb, green garlic looks like a baby leek.
Fresh garlic offers the strongest flavor, but the herb comes in several convenient-to-use forms:
Dried garlic — dehydrated garlic flakes
Garlic powder — ground dehydrated garlic flakes
Garlic salt — garlic powder blended with salt
Garlic extract — juice that comes from pressed garlic cloves
Garlic in a jar — minced garlic packed in oil
The amount of garlic you cook with depends on the kind you have on hand. Here’s a guide to measuring garlic: