Arguably, the rich, pungent, and enticing smell of garlic in the air is unmatched when it comes to bringing butts to the table. And when the flavor hits your palate, you’ll immediately forget the stink that’ll emanate from your pores once you’ve indulged.
Humans have been enjoying garlic for more than 7,000 years, and in that time we’ve learned quite a bit. But here are seven things you probably didn’t know.
1. Garlic helped build the pyramids of Egypt.
Along with beer and bread, Egyptian workers building the pyramids were also given raw garlic, said to help ward off illness and keep up their strength. When workers nearly rioted, the Pharaoh was forced to supply them with more garlic to keep them happy.
2. Garlic is a natural bug repellent.
We’ve all heard garlic keeps vampires away, but part of that folklore stems from garlic’s ability to keep mosquitos at bay. You can either eat a lot of it or purchase some over the counter garlic rubs as a natural repellent.
And if your garden is under attack by aphids, mix some crushed garlic with water and spray your plants.
3. Stainless steel wards off the smell of garlic.
If you’ve been peeling a bulb and your hands stink of garlic, rub them under cold water with stainless steel. Now sniff your fingers. They should be garlic free.
4. The Windy City owes its name to garlic.
Beyond being culinarily known for deep-dish pizza and Jeppson’s Malört, the name Chicago itself is thanks to the Native American word for a wild garlic that grows by Lake Michigan – chicagaoua.
5. Some people are deathly afraid of garlic.
If, for some reason, you find the idea of garlic altogether terrifying, you may have alliumphobia.
6. Before Gatorade, garlic was the go-to performance enhancing food.
Greek soldiers and Olympic athletes were both given copious amounts of garlic before their battle or match in the belief that it would improve performance and ward off sickness.
7. Garlic is best in the raw.
While garlic has a reputation for lowering blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and possibly reducing the likelihood of some cancers, many of those benefits are diminished once garlic gets cooked.
To help preserve the healing properties, let garlic stand for about ten minutes after it’s been crushed or minced.