There are many reasons to eat garlic. And while many love the taste, garlic also provides an array of health benefits. So it makes sense to eat and enjoy garlic in a way that will maximize its nutritive potential. Chopping garlic helps increase the healthy, potentially disease fighting nutrient called allicin. Storing garlic correctly then helps maintain allicin’s healing potential. Follow these tips, and your garlic will become an immunity boosting, anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
1. Should you let garlic sit out before using? One of the health promoting components found in garlic is this enzyme that allows the formation of allicin. The trick is that chopping your garlic is needed for allicin to form. This process takes up to 10 minutes. For this reason, you must chop garlic 5 to 10 minutes before using. Consume or cook with garlic right away and your garlic won’t live up to its full protective, disease fighting potential. I first learned this one from George Mateljan’s fabulous book The Worlds Healthiest Foods. This is a great book and you can learn more from him about preparing and cooking healthy foods here.
Maximize the health value and the allicin formed by chopping the garlic into tiny pieces. This allows more allicin to form. A great way to achieve this is with a good garlic press. Check out some of these great press options below. All of these would do a great job at maximizing your garlic’s allicin formation:
2. Raw garlic versus cooked garlic? Including raw garlic in your daily regimen is considered advantageous. Many of the cancer fighting, cardiovascular supporting enzymes found in garlic are destroyed by the cooking process. A better way to maintain the nutrients when using garlic for a cooked recipe is to first chop it. Once the allicin has formed, add the garlic in the last few minutes of cooking. This will protect the garlic from getting burnt. The reduced cooking time will also mean that fewer of the developed enzymes will be destroyed.
3. How long can you refrigerate chopped garlic? While letting garlic sit for a few minutes increases its health potential, letting it sit too long does quite the opposite. While chopped garlic will stay edible and fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week, the enzymes begin to lose their potency in just a few hours. A general recommendation is to store chopped garlic for a maximum of 12 hours. The garlic will taste fine once this window passes, but your cells will be missing out on much of what garlic can provide.
4. What about garlic in olive oil storage? This is an important one. Storing homemade chopped garlic and olive oil at room temperature can actually lead to botulism. This is a very real threat and it increases the longer that the product is stored. Pretty scary stuff. If you make more than you can use, always refrigerate leftovers and discard after a week. Additionally, be careful when cooking with garlic olive oil not to use high heat. Both garlic and olive oil are meant for low to medium heat at most and the mixture will be at high risk to become burnt and rancid.
Enjoy garlic. It is one of the healthiest foods out there. It has many healing powers from cancer prevention to immunity support to cardiovascular protection. Consuming garlic is one of the best ways to use food to fight the common cold. Just make sure that you are getting everything you can out of your garlic. Follow these tips for chopping and storing garlic to maximize allicin and get the most out of its health potential.