Stinking Rose

I’ve always loved all things garlic. Pickled garlic, baked garlic, raw garlic. Garlic as seasoning, garlic mixed with olive oil spread on freshly-baked sourdough bread and yes, even garlic as desert in the form of garlic ice cream, annually featured at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, one of our favorite events.

Last week, I roasted over 100 heads of “The Stinking Rose”. I popped them out of their skins into canning jars, adding various pickling spices along with whey, salt and water. In yet another combination, I simply added a gorgeous roasted dried jalapeno to the mix, giving them a nice slow burn. After screwing on the lids, they rested on the counter for 3 days, fermenting into some of the best “pickled” garlic we’ve ever eaten.

Of all the foods we ferment and eat, I’m most fascinated by the chemical complexity of garlic, and how easily it is modified and enhanced through preparation methods. The type of water, fluoridated or filtered, how long it is allowed to sit and “stew” within itself after being crushed (increases chemical compounds within itself, while others are neutralized), whether it is soaked in milk and gently heated, baked, roasted, or simplest of all, used in its whole raw form all change the clove’s function for what it will attack or heal.

It used to be that I’d pick a garlic method which best suited my final dish. Most stir-frys demand freshly crushed garlic tossed in during the last minute of heat. And what is American-Italian cuisine without chopped, diced, sliced garlic in every mouthful. Where once my purpose was to see how many times my creative cooking would make my husband moan with approval. No moans? Never gets made again; One or two moans? Move the recipe into the “If Nothing Better Comes Along….” category; three or more moans? “Moaner” is notated on the recipe. Now, there’s a more pressing purpose than palate satisfaction.

There are great reasons to use raw, with just as many other reasons to use heated and yet as many for soaking garlic in water or milk. It all depends on what you’re trying to do – what bacteria, yeast, fungus, virus, or cancer you’re trying to prevent or fight, or what preventive measure you’d like to wage against arterial sclerosis (stop drinking homogenized milk and eating homogenized dairy products, by the way – it’s a great beginning to healing).

It’s long been known through research that garlic contains great anti-inflammatory properties as well as “healing”, attacking bacteria that cause stomach ulcers as well as what is thought to be the bacteria which may be causing Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Now, getting down to the food science aspect of garlic –

The S-allylcysteine (SAC) has been shown to INCREASE in pickled garlic. And when they say pickled, they mean vinegar, so one can assume it may also do very well in whey. The pickled garlic benefit is that the SAC increases over time – up to 5 years!!

SAC benefit is:

“In previous studies, Milner and his colleagues reported that two other compounds in garlic—S-allylcysteine or SAC, and diallyl disulfide or DADS—have anti-carcinogenic properties as well. They found that SAC interfered with the formation of breast tumor cells in rats, while DADS inhibited the growth of human cancer cells (colon, skin, and lung) grown in lab cultures. The new study is especially promising because it found DATS to be 10 times as effective as DADS.” Entire article here

Some of the most reader-friendly articles I’ve found on garlic are:

In-depth Look at the Chemistry of Garlic – health benefits as well as interesting information on topical use of garlic as a way to get it into the system faster, as well as infusing wine, as another means of speeding it up into the system (since allicin, the key component is usually neutralized or greatly reduced by saliva and the stomach’s digestive enzymes, not necessarily making it into the digestive tract, etc.)

What Happens when Allicin Breaks Down in the System – more in-depth on what happens with allicin breaks down in the system, and what other components are delivered due to that breakdown…

Yet one more interesting article on how heat affects garlics ability to inhibit yeast

What happens when garlic is bruised or crushed: “The antimicrobial activity of Allium is due to volatile sulfur compounds derived from S-alk(en)yl-L-cysteine sulfoxides, nonprotein amino acids found in garlic. The main sulfonxides are alliin (s-allyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide is degraded into allicin (allyl 2-propenethiosulfinate. Alliin (substrate) and alliinase (enzyme) are located in different cells in garlic cloves and therefore the thiosulfinates are generated only after the garlic tissues are injured.

What happens, or doesn’t happen to allicin, when garlic is heated: Garlic heated to 121C was found to strongly inhibit the growth of yeasts, but not that of bacteria. The potency and stability of the antiyeast activity of heated garlic were compared with those of fresh garlic, garlic oil, and allyl isothiocyanate. The inhibitory activity of heated garlic was stable, and the minimum inhibitory concentration did not change for up to 30 d at 37C. The antiyeast activity of heataed garlic was not influenced by pH. Alliin heated in distilled water showed an antiyeast activity pattern similar to that of heated garlic, suggesting that the compound(s) thermally generated from alliin are the principal antiyeast compound (s) of heated garlic. The antiyeast activity was increased as time of heating increased up to 45 min at 121C, and the activity did not change when garlic was further heated for up to 120 min.”

What I need is a $15 million dollar research grant to study all the properties and interactions of garlic…..until then, there’s always yet another abstract to uncover…

  Textile help