Garlic delivers savory taste, sweet benefits

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Don’t turn up your nose at garlic, which is extremely low in calories and packed with vitamins and nutrients!

Historically, garlic has been sought after for its health and medicinal benefits. It’s a member of the allium family, which includes onions, shallots and leeks. It grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its aroma and taste.

The entire “head” is called a garlic bulb, while each segment is called a clove. There are about 10 to 20 cloves in a single bulb.

April is National Garlic Month and an ideal time to incorporate garlic into some of your favorite meals. Virginia Cooperative Extension provided two opportunities.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4 large cloves garlic 
8 medium potatoes
⅓ cup skim milk 
¼ cup light sour cream 
½ teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 

Place garlic cloves on a cutting board, and lay the flat part of a knife on top. Use the heel of your hand to slap the knife and break the tough skin of the cloves. Peel off the skin, and set garlic cloves aside.

Wash the potatoes, and cut into uniform-size large pieces. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes and garlic with cool water. Bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover loosely and boil gently for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes break apart easily when pierced with a fork. Drain well.

Add milk and sour cream to the saucepan, and mash the potatoes and garlic until no large lumps remain. Add salt and pepper, and continue mashing until potatoes are smooth.

Tasty Greens 

1 pound collard, chard, kale or mustard greens 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 
¼ teaspoon pepper 
¼ teaspoon salt

Wash and chop, slice, or tear greens as you prefer. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil for about 1 minute. Add greens to the pan, cover and cook until the greens are slightly wilted. If needed, add a tablespoon of water or broth. Toss the mixture with balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper and serve. 

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