Now that we’ve talked about the healing qualities of onion and just how easy it is to cook with onions while on the road, it would hardly be fair if we didn’t also mention its fun-loving cousin, garlic. Garlic is loved around the world for its ability to add fantastic flavor to soups, sauces, stir fry dishes and a plethora of other meals. But it has also received much love through the ages for its curative properties. In fact, throughout the centuries, garlic has been considered a cure for just about everything at one time or another.
While some of the old wives’ tales about the healing properties of garlic lack even the smallest morsel of truth, plenty of modern studies have proven that garlic truly is a powerhouse when it comes to good health. For starters, garlic is a source of a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B1. In addition, garlic is well known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that regular garlic consumption can lead to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and that garlic appears to play a role in fending off cardiovascular disease and a variety of cancers.
The most convenient way to take garlic with you on the road and have it ready to go at a moment’s notice is to purchase a jar of minced garlic, which can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store. However, it is important to remember that garlic is one of those foods that offer the most health benefits when fresh; therefore, it is worth the small addition of prep time to chop or crush fresh garlic cloves while you are cooking.
Like onions, garlic is easy to store and will keep well while on the road. If stored in a dark, dry, cool, ventilated space, you will find that garlic can last up to about a month. Of course, garlic is a very common find in any grocery store and at produce stands or farmers markets, so you will have no trouble picking some up while on the road as well.
Many of garlic’s healthful benefits are credited to its sulfur-containing compounds, of which the most studied is allicin, which is a compound that is produced through an enzymatic process that occurs when fresh garlic is finely chopped or crushed – and that quickly begins to degrade if immediately cooked. To harness these healing benefits most effectively, chop or crush your garlic, and then allow it to sit for five to 10 minutes before introducing heat or acidic ingredients.