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GARLIC BENEFITS, USES AND COOKING

My Project 257-001“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.” ~Alice May Brock

April is National Garlic Month and we love garlic in anything!  Garlic is a close relative to the onion, leek, shallot and chive.  It has been used by humans for over 7,000 years for numerous reasons such as human consumption and medicinal purposes.  Garlic can be grown in mild climates year round or in cold climates planted in autumn and harvested before frost. China is the largest producer of garlic today.  Garlic is widely used in cooking for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment.

Garlic has long been the subject of folk beliefs and thought to ward off or guard against demons, vampires and werewolves.

Health Benefits of Garlic:

Cholesterol and triglyceride reduction. lower blood pressure. helps prevent heart disease, anti-inflammatory properties, anti-cancer properties, hardening of the arteries. Research suggests that eating garlic may reduce the risk of having colon, rectal cancer or stomach cancer.

Garlic is believed by some to ward off mosquitoes, treat hair loss and athlete’s foot, soothe psoriasis and treat colds.

Tips on Choosing and Cooking with Garlic:

1.  Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip right off!

2.  The smaller you chop or the more you mash garlic cloves, the stronger the flavor.

3.  Put a knife blade against chopped garlic and press down hard for a finer consistency or put in a plastic bag and pound it with a meat mallet.

4.  Choose garlic bulbs that are firm to the touch when buying in the grocery.

5.  You can buy peeled or minced garlic in oil in the store but to get the best flavor in cooking always use fresh garlic.

6.  Do not refrigerate fresh, unpeeled garlic bulbs but store in a cool, dry place.

7.  Garlic bulbs should keep from 3 to 4 months.

8.  One clove of garlic has 4 calories.

9.  One medium garlic clove is equal to one teaspoon of minced garlic or one-fourth teaspoon of garlic powder.

10.Baking soda or lemon juice will remove the smell of garlic from your hands.

The recipe below is a great way to use garlic!

Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts - TSLC - Copy

Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts

1 lb fresh or frozen brussels sprouts, trimmed

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons melted butter, Optional

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Kosher or regular salt

Pinch of cayenne or dash or hot sauce, Optional

Whisk together the garlic,  olive oil, butter, black pepper, salt and hot sauce.  Place brussels sprouts in a bowl and toss with the garlic mixture.  Put sprouts on a baking pan and roast in preheated 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, turning once.  Makes 4 servings.

Note:  You can add bacon or bacon bits.  You can also sprinkle with fresh shredded parmesan cheese.

Try this healthy little addition to any recipe and Enjoy!

Check out these great articles, too:

A LIST OF TEN INTERESTING FOOD FACTS

I AM A HONEY LOVER!

I’M JUST CRAZY ABOUT NUTS

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SOME TIPS ON MAKING HOMEMADE CANDY

Candy Making TipsDo you like making gifts at home for your friends and family or just enjoy homemade better than store bought anytime?  Here are a few handy tips on making candy you might find useful.  If you are an accomplished candy maker, pass this on to a friend or family member that could use the information.

Candy making can be simple with just a few tips on how to get started and the process in general.  First of all, read your entire recipe and assemble all your ingredients and equipment. This is important because candy making requires constant attention and you may not have time during the cooking process.

Make sure you are using pure cane sugar and not something with an additive. 

Invest in a good candy thermometer.  If you already have a candy thermometer you can test it for accuracy by bringing a pan of water to a boil and checking the reading on your thermometer. It should read 212 degrees F.  If your thermometer is off remember how many degrees it was off when testing your recipe.  Attach your thermometer to the side of the pan and do not let the bulb touch the bottom or sides for an accurate reading.

If you do not have a candy thermometer you can test candy by using the cold water method.  This method requires dropping about a half teaspoon of liquid from your cooking pot into a bowl of cold water (not ice water) to see if it makes a soft ball or hard ball. Some recipes will say cook to soft ball stage, hard ball stage or until syrup forms a thin thread, etc.  The following is a list of the different stages, what each stage means and the temperature for each stage.

Thread Stage – 230 -235 F – Syrup forms a thin thread

Soft Ball Stage- 235 – 240 F – Syrup forms a soft ball in cold water

Firm Ball Stage – 245 – 250 F  Syrup forms a ball that holds its shape but is still sticky

Hard Ball Stage – 250 – 265 F Syrup holds shape

Soft Crack Stage – 270 – 290 F Can be stretched between your fingers and separates into hard threads

Hard Crack Stage – 300 to 310 F Syrup will solidify but will separate into hard brittle threads

Caramel Stage – 320 – 335 F Syrup will become a light golden color when you drop it onto a plate

Use a wooden spoon when making candy because it won’t get hot during the cooking process

Clear, cool days are best for making candy. Rain and humidity can prevent candy from setting up.

Unsalted butter is better than margarine to use in candy making.

Doubling candy recipes can cause failure, especially fudge recipes.

Store candy in an airtight container in a dry, cool place.  Do not store different types of candy in the same container. This will cause the flavors to combine. Do not store hard candy and soft candy together.  Moisture from the soft candy will cause your hard candy to soften and get sticky.  Most candy will keep in an airtight container up to 3 weeks and will freeze for up to 1 year.

When making fudge, stir continuously over medium high heat until reaches boiling stage.  Once boiling do not stir until reaches done time. Remove fudge from heat and let cool to 110 degrees before beating to prevent candy from becoming grainy.  Score fudge while still warm with a sharp knife to make it easier to cut once cooled.

Easy recipe for dipping chocolate:

1 tablespoon shortening (not butter)

8 ounces solid chocolate

Melt together either on stove or in microwave. Use for dipping.

I hope you found something here to help you with your candy making.  Good luck and Enjoy!

Click for some great candy recipes from The Southern Lady Cooks.

Check out a list of other food tips on this site.

Check out our new cookbook, Sweet Things, for all kinds of goodies. Makes a great gift for the cook in your family.

Feel free to “share” with your friends by clicking on the Facebook, Pinterest or E-mail buttons at the bottom of each post. You can print by clicking on the printer icon below. 

Just a reminder to look on the right hand side of this page and type in your e-mail address so you don’t miss new posts when they come out! Your e-mail will not be shared with anyone. We have more than 20,000 e-mail subscribers and they are always the first to know about any new posts.  

© The Southern Lady Cooks photos and text – All rights reserved. No copying, posting on other sites, or other uses allowed without written permission of the copyright holder

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HANDY FOOD TIP – HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SELF-RISING CORNMEAL MIX

This food tip on how to make your own self-rising cornmeal mix comes from the Aunt Jemima website.  So many of you have told me you cannot find self-rising cornmeal mix where you live and a lot of recipes call for this ingredient. 

Make your own sr cornmeal mix.

Find other food tips by clicking this link:  Handy Food Tips!

You can also look on the left hand side of any page on the website and click the red box that says food tips. You will find all the tips posted there for your convenience.

You will be able to “share” these by looking under the photo and clicking on Facebook, E-Mail, Twitter or Pinterest to share with your friends. Click on the picture of the little printer if you want to print the tip or save it.

Just a reminder to look on the right hand side of this page and type in your e-mail address so you don’t miss new posts when they come out! Your e-mail will not be shared with anyone. We have over 21,000 e-mail subscribers and they are always the first to know about any new posts.

© The Southern Lady Cooks photos and text – All rights reserved. No copying, posting on other sites, or other uses allowed without written permission of the copyright holder.

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HANDY FOOD TIP – MAKE YOUR OWN CAKE FLOUR

Did you ever get ready to make a recipe that calls for cake flour to find that you don’t have any on hand?   Here is a handy tip on how to make a substitute for cake flour in a recipe. Many of you probably already know this but we can always share with others that may not. Cake flour is good for pie crusts, pancakes, cookies and cakes where you want a light, fluffy texture.

Make your own Cake Flour

Find other food tips by clicking this link:  Handy Food Tips!

Don’t forget to check out our new cookbook, Sweet Things and get your copy!

You can also look on the left hand side of any page on the website and click the red box that says food tips. You will find all the tips posted there for your convenience.

You will be able to “share” these by looking under the photo and clicking on Facebook, E-Mail, Twitter or Pinterest to share with your friends. Click on the picture of the little printer if you want to print the tip or save it.

Just a reminder to look on the right hand side of this page and type in your e-mail address so you don’t miss new posts when they come out! Your e-mail will not be shared with anyone. We have over 20,000 e-mail subscribers and they are always the first to know about any new posts.

© The Southern Lady Cooks photos and text – All rights reserved. No copying, posting on other sites, or other uses allowed without written permission of the copyright holder.

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