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Sprouty Garlic

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We all know what has happened to the poor old garlic bulb forgotten at the back of your pantry. You find it with bright green shoots sprouting from its cloves. Usually it is the last bulb you need, as you haven’t picked up more from the shops. So you toss it into the garbage bin without a second thought. Why do we do this? It is commonly thought that it is past its prime and may even be toxic. Sprouted garlic won’t make you sick, it is perfectly safe.

A rather impressive study funded by Korea’s Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology was recently published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food. The study indicates garlic that has been sprouted for five days has significantly higher antioxidant levels than fresher garlic. A growing number of food companies and restaurants are now offering sprouted grains, nuts, and legumes because the sprouting actually improves their food’s nutrient composition.

The study author Jong-Sang Kim, PhD explains: “Plants are very susceptible to attack from bacteria, viruses, and insects during sprouting. This causes them to produce a variety of chemicals called phytoalexins to defend themselves. Most of these are toxic to microorganisms and insects, but beneficial to human health.”

These sprouts however can be bitter and will impart their bitter flavour to whatever you are cooking. If the sprouts are smaller than a quarter-inch pull out the shoot in the middle to reduce the bitter flavour. If the sprouts are longer than that you can actually plant them and they may grow.

Sprouted or not, garlic is always a good choice. Both have health benefits that include anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Studies suggest that its sulfur-containing compounds, like allicin, slow atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), lower blood pressure, and is effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites without toxic side effects.

Come and grab a few locally and domestically grown organic garlic bulbs from our shelves at Organic Energy. Next time, don’t worry if they sprout in your pantry. It will only enhance their antioxidant properties.