Vegetable Spotlight: Garlic

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Cloves and Bulbs of the Garlic

The bulbs and cloves of garlic.

December is time for cold weather, and the end of a growing season for many crops. However, there is one crop that grows through low temperatures, and it happens to be our last vegetable spotlight of the year. That vegetable is the flavorful garlic, a great seasoning for food and a beneficial vegetable with a lot of nutrients. Garlic belongs to the Allium family along with its distant cousin, the onion. According to Michigan State University extension, garlic boasts several important nutrients like Selenium, Manganese, Vitamin B6, and sulfur. The minerals Selenium, Manganese, and Sulfur are said to play an important part in antioxidant functions. Garlic may also help to make Iron in our body readily available for use.

Scapes of Garlic Plant

Scapes of Garlic Plant.

 Normally we consume the cloves of the bulb of a garlic plant. However, with University of Maryland Extension, the flower stems or scapes, may also be consumed in the same manner as scallions in cooking. The garlic that you may see in grocery stores has a long storage life and is known for its pungent flavor. But, did you know there are several different varieties of garlic that different in pungent flavor, odor and sweetness? These special varieties are more likely to be found at farmers markets or specialty grocers. Below is a Delicious recipe for Mediterranean Garlic Chicken, provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to try a few cloves. Whether you’re eating the common or special varieties, roasted a whole bulbs of garlic, or mincing it up to sauté into your favorite dish, make sure to enjoy some garlic this month!

Mediterranean Garlic Chicken

Ingredients

Chicken and Vegetables

4 Medium boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
3 Bell peppers (Red, Yellow, and Orange Varieties)
1 Large Onion
1/2 teaspoon Dried Marjoram
Feta Cheese
Fresh Parsley
1/3 Cup pitted Kalamata Olives
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Marinade

2-3 Lemons, juiced
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Teaspoon Dried Marjoram
1/8 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

  1. Combine W cup lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. olive oil,1 tsp. marjoram,1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper and minced garlic in a bowl. Whisk for one minute.
  2. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness between two sheets of wax paper.
  3. Place chicken breasts in a plastic bag or sealable container and pour the marinade over the chicken. Let chicken marinate for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. Never marinate on the counter.
  4. Wash and slice the peppers and onions into half-inch strips. Keep separate from raw chicken.
  5. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan. Pour in cut onions and peppers.
  6. Sprinkle with V tsp. marjoram. Sauté on medium heat until onions caramelize and peppers brown slightly, stirring often. Set aside.
  7. Add olive oil to sauté pan. Brown marinated chicken.
  8. Spread onion and pepper mixture onto a large, lightly greased roasting pan. Top mixture with 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, drained.
  9. Place each chicken breast on top of pepper & onion mixture in the roasting pan, leaving space between each breast.
  10. Drizzle contents of the entire pan with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice.
  11. Place pan into a preheated, 400°F oven covered tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  12. Use a food thermometer to make sure chicken is 165°F.
  13. Remove and sprinkle with feta cheese and chopped fresh parsley before serving. Serve over whole-wheat pasta, brown rice or whole-wheat couscous.

References:

“Garlic” – Home & Garden Information Center – The University of Maryland Extension

“Eat Garlic for your Health” – Michigan State University Extension – Michigan State University

 “Mediterranean Garlic Chicken” – Eatright.org – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics