April is national garlic month

(CNN) -- Everything's coming up stinking roses - April is National Garlic Month!

It's a pity that garlic has a such a reputation for bad breath as it's an incredible herb. Not only does it scare vampires away, it has amazing medicinal qualities too. Plus, it's darn tasty.

There are a couple of different types of garlic available in most grocery stores. Other than the regular-sized bulbs, you might also find green, black or elephant garlic. Green garlic is garlic that was harvested before it had time to mature and form cloves. Black garlic is fermented garlic that is sweet and savory at the same time. Elephant garlic is actually a leek that produces large cloves. It's also milder in flavor which is ideal if you're just starting to experiment with garlic or are going on a date. Then again, if both of you eat garlic, the smell and taste could be canceled out... (That is, if the date goes well.)

Speaking of bad breath, if brushing your teeth doesn't get rid of garlic breath, try drinking milk. The fat content in milk helps neutralize the awful odors. You could also add parsley, lemon or fennel to your garlicky dish, which have a similar effect.

Another thing about cooking garlic, it burns really quickly and becomes really bitter when it does. There's nothing worse than a whole sauce being ruined by one tiny ingredient, so keep an eye on it. An easy and delicious way to prepare garlic is to roast it: Cut the top off a garlic head so all the bulbs are exposed, add a little olive oil, wrap it in foil and roast it until the cloves have softened - about 30-45 minutes. Roasted garlic goes great in sauces, on pizza, or on anything for that matter - it's just that delicious.

Of course, garlic does have benefits other than making food taste great. The key compound in garlic that gives it its distinctive smell is called allicin. Allicin has also been shown to help with high blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing some diseases such as colon and stomach cancers. Have athlete's foot? Garlic gel can even help clear that right up.

 

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