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Botanical name: Allium sativum Linn.
Indian names are as follows:
Hindi:Lasum, Lassan, Lahsun
Garlic or Lassan needs no introduction since it has long been recognized all over the world as a valuable condiment for foods, and a popular remedy or medicine for various ailments and physiological disorders. Surprisingly the Hindus of India and elsewhere consider it as a non-vegetarian food.
The spice was popular in India since epic era. So much so it has a place in Hindu mythology. It is believed that the gods and the demons, using earth as the axis and divine snake Basuki as the rope, once churned the sea. Due to churning many materials came out such as the divine horse Uchhasriba, the divine elephant Airavat, goddess of wealth Lakshmi and so on. Also came out a pot of nectar that had capacity to make one immortal if consumed. The gods and demons fought for this pot and ultimately, the gods took possession of the pot by trickery. While fight was in progress, a drop of nectar fell on the earth out of which a tree emerged which is the ancestor of neem tree. It gives bitter fruits because of earthly influence. The King of gods, Indra took the pot to heaven for distributing to gods. But before it was distributed, he offered it to his wife Sachi. Sachi after consuming it could not digest and thus vomited. A drop of this vomit fell from heaven on the earth, from which a small plant emerged, which is garlic. It is foul smelling because it had emerged from vomit and it has a lot of medicinal virtues because it had emerged from heavenly nectar.
Besides being popular in India garlic bulbs, dehydrated garlic, garlic powder and garlic oil is exported from India to several countries. Harvest Season: Dec to Jan. Marketing Season: Feb to Mar. India exports garlic to Sri Lanka, USA, UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Garlic powder, dehydrated flakes oils and oleoresins with all constituents intact but without its pungent odor are exported.
It is a hardy bulbous perennial with narrow flat leaves and bears small white flowers and bulbils. The bulb consists of 6 to 30 smaller bulblets called `cloves` and is surrounded by a thin white or pinkish papery sheath. Garlic has a stronger flavor than onion or its other allies.
Garlic grows under much the same conditions as the onion, except that it favors a richer soil and a higher elevation (900 to 1200 meters). A well-drained, moderately clayey loam is best suited for its cultivation. It requires a cool moist period during growth and a relatively dry period during the maturing of crop. It takes longer (4 to 5 months) than onion to mature, and is consequently grown as a late season irrigated crop.
The crop is ready for harvesting when the tops turn yellowish or brownish, and show signs of drying up, usually about a month or so after the emergence of seed stalks. The bulbs are lifted, freed from the earth and leaves tied to the top. The bulbs are cured for three to four days in the shade before storing them in an ordinary room. Tops are removed before marketing the produce. Thoroughly cured garlic bulbs keep fairly well in ordinary well-ventilated room.
Fresh peeled garlic cloves have the following composition:
Total ash:1.0 %
Vitamin C:13 mg/100 g
Nicotinic acid:0.4 mg/100 g
Calorific value:142 calories/100 g.
Garlic powder or the dehydrated garlic has the following composition:
Total ash:3.2 %
Vitamin B1:0.68 mg/100g.
Vitamin B2:0.08 mg/100 g
Niacin:0.7 mg/100 g
Vitamin C:2.0 mg/100 g
Vitamin A:75 I.U./100 g
Calorific value (food energy):80 calories/100 g.
In spite of knowing its virtues many persons avoid garlic even for medicinal purposes due to its repulsive odor. It is possible to prepare odorless garlic powder by inactivating the enzyme allinase. It has almost the same composition as that of garlic powder except in respect of allicin, the pungent principle, which could be regenerated at will by either incorporation of fresh enzyme or fresh crushed garlic in small quantity.
Garlic salt is prepared by mixing rapidly garlic powder : 20 parts; refined pulverized salt : 78 parts; and anti-caking agent (usually Calcium stearate) : 2 parts. This product has great demand in trade of commerce due to various reasons, though method of manufacture is simple.
Garlic is used practically all over the world for flavoring various dishes. In India and other Asian countries, it is already being used in several food preparations notably in chutneys, pickles, curry powders, curried vegetables, meat preparations, tomato ketchup etc. Recent trend shows even garlic powder gaining popularity. Almost all-Italian dishes garlic is commonly used since many centuries. In America, about 50 % of the entire out put of fresh garlic is dehydrated and sold to food processors for use in mayonnaise products, salad dressings, tomato products and in several meat preparations. Further, raw garlic can be used in the manufacture of garlic powder, garlic salt, garlic vinegar, garlic cheese croutons, garlicked potato chips, garlic bread etc. Recently, spray dried garlic products have also been put in the market, though liquid garlic preparations have also been available for some years.
Garlic has since long been recognized all over the world as a valuable condiment for foods, and a popular remedy for various ailments and physiological disorders. According to the Unani and Ayurvedic systems as practiced in India, garlic is carminative and is a gastric stimulant, and thus aids in digestion and absorption of food. It is also given in flatulence.
In modern allopathy, it is being used in a number of patented medicines and other preparations. Besides, garlic is also anthelmintic and antiseptic. The active principle in garlic is an antibiotic - allicin, which is an enzymatic clevage product from its precursor, `allin`, naturally present in garlic.
The anti-bacterial action of garlic had been noticed from early days, its healing capacity and effectiveness against cholera having been recorded as early as 1758 A.D. Besides, its anti-bacterial action against Eberthella typhosa, Escherichiacoli, acid fast bacilli, Aerobacter aerogenes, Staphylococcus aureus etc. is well known.
Oil of garlic has lately come to be appreciated as a valuable flavoring agent, for use in all kinds of meat preparations, soups, canned foods and sauces.
According to an American patent, the residue of garlic, obtained by alcoholic extraction and distillation, contains a bacteriostatic and bactericidal substance identified as `allyl disulfide oxide`.
On steam distillation of crushed garlic at atmospheric pressure, the major odor producing principle allicin is decomposed down to diallyl disulphide and other disulphides. That explains why the volatile oil of garlic consists chiefly of disulphides.
The inhalation of garlic oil or garlic juice has been recommended in cases of pulmonary tuberculosis, rheumatism and impotence.
Garlic juice is used for various ailments of stomach, as a rubefacient in skin diseases, and eardrop in ear aches. The juice diluted with water can be used against duodenal ulcers.
The leaves are cooked and eaten in India. In Cambodia, the leaves are used in the treatment of asthma. It can be used as an ingredient for packed or fast food.
Under above background garlic can be utilized for production of various types of products such as garlic oil, garlic powder, garlic juice, garlic flakes extending to further value addition for production of food items and medicinal preparations. Thus garlic can be an effective tool for effective rural industrialization programme. Technology being well known and schemes are in place implementation may not be very difficult.
Pushing Garlic`s Powers
Most at-home cooks have figured out their personal favorite techniques for peeling and using garlic to perfect the taste of a dish. But there are still a few tricks to preparing the herb to enhance its health benefits.
Garlic`s compounds are particularly volatile. Like an expensive wine, its fickle personality shifts depending on age, storage, handling, and preparation. Raw garlic will exhibit different properties than cloves cooked in last night`s stir-fry. Only when garlic cloves are sliced, diced, mashed, or broken in some method do they release those powerful enzymes that combine to make the antioxidants responsible for its purported health benefits.
It takes time for garlic`s disease fighters to arm themselves. One study showed that the sulfur compounds in the herb need 10 minutes to kick in once a clove is crushed or chopped. So, the next time you use garlic, keep this in mind and be sure to plan accordingly.
Recipe to make Garlic Bread
1 medium/long French loaf
3 ozs. (85 grams) butter
2 cloves garlic
Peel cloves, chop finely, and crush with a knife, or put through a garlic press. Cream with the butter.
Cut the loaf into diagonal slices and spread each slice with some of the butter. Put loaf slices together again and wrap in foil to retain the loaf shape. Heat in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Serve while still warm with salad.
If you are committed to taking the herb, fresh is best: Garlic in its natural state is the most potent and complete version of the herb. If you are someone who is ultra sensitive to the herb, though - it gives you gas, heartburn, or even a rash - you may want to skip the fresh stuff and consider taking a supplement instead. There are many brands of odourless garlic oil capsules available in health food shops.
Garlic Side Effects - Precautions
Large amounts of garlic can cause heartburn, especially during pregnancy.
Fresh garlic can cause local irritation and ulceration if left in contact with skin of mucous membranes.