Food column: If you love garlic, it loves you back so here are some fall ideas

Bill St. John
The Denver Post
(Getty Images)

In its way, I think of garlic as the most human of the vegetables.

It certainly has a distinct, if incautious, personality. But no other vegetable responds as well — or changes as much — to the combination of time and discipline as garlic. Intense and pungent peeled and out of its bulb, given long and slow heat it matures into a soft, deliciously aromatic, almost sweet sort of butter, a seasoning like nothing else in the pantry.

If you love garlic, it loves you back. For millennia, scientists and doctors have esteemed its healthful benefits over any other fruit or vegetable, as far as I know. Among other compounds in garlic, one of its primary, alliin, lays claim to being antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial, antithrombotic, anti-carcinogenic and is an expectorant, a diuretic and a treatment for hypertension. They’ll be an even longer list in the supplements section at any Sprouts or Natural Grocers.

Yes, its odor puts off (many, not all) who have noses, as well as all who do things in the shadows. In 1330 A.D., King Alfonso XI of Castile banned from court any knight who had eaten garlic; furthermore, he forbad the knight from speaking to any other courtier for four weeks. Indeed, the first half of its biological name, Allium sativum, derives from the Greek for “to avoid.”

It is a member of the onion, hence lily, family and undoubtedly its strongest-flavored and -scented. Perforce, it sports more sulfur compounds than any of the other alliums; it is also richer in more minerals. Such a powerful little thing—the original “nutraceutical.”

To read more on this story and full recipes including ‘Lamb Stew with Four Heads of Garlic’ and ‘Beets Glazed with Orange and Honey’, go to

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