Garlic has been cultivated for its peculiar pungent flavor and health benefits for over 5000 years and it is still valued today not only for its ability to kick up the flavor a couple of notches but also for its ability lower blood pressure and fight off bacteria and viruses. When it comes to health benefits, it is often recommended that people use raw pressed or chopped garlic because this is when garlic is in its most potent form.
While unleashing a number of pungent oils and leading to a more pleasant taste, cooked garlic loses much of its health benefits. By crushing raw garlic, you release the all potent alliinase which has been known to fight off everything from fungus to cancer. The only problem with consuming garlic in the raw is that it can cause an upset stomach and give someone that unwanted garlic breathe that no amount of toothpaste is going to be able to get rid of.
Eating Pickled Garlic is another way to get a lot of the healthful benefits of garlic while at the same time mot having to put up with a rumbling belly or that pungent garlic breath. Pickling garlic is achieved through soaking the garlic in vinegar or lemon juice. The acid in these solutions will go to work on the garlic, neutralizing the alliinase while at the same time, breaking down the cloves into water soluble compounds known as S-allyl cysteine or SAC. While not the greatest antimicrobial agent, SAC is known to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar levels. It is believed that SAC also has some anti-tour properties as well.
The longer you let your garlic cloves pickle, the more SAC will form. Pickled garlic also is easier on the stomach and is less likely to give you that stinky garlic breath. It is easy to pickle garlic right at home, allowing you to enjoy the wonderful benefits of garlic in yet another form.