What?! You haven’t ever heard of National Garlic Day? On April 19th, people from all over the world celebrate this pungently perfect vegetable’s history. Referred to as the “stinking rose,“ garlic can be traced back to around 5000 years ago, when it was discovered in Middle Asia. So, how should you celebrate the occasion? By cooking a delicious garlicky dish of course! In this article, we will share delicious recipes, a general history of garlic, its health benefits, the origins and development of National Garlic Day, and how Spice World came to be. So, continue reading to gain a better understanding and appreciation for this widely utilized spice.
In garlic’s humble beginnings, Old World, Egyptian, and Indian cultures were the first to use garlic in their food. Following closely behind, the Babylonians began incorporating garlic into their diets 4,500 years ago. Hopping onto the best-smelling bandwagon, 2,500 years after the Babylonians, the Chinese started using garlic. While these areas of the world have been using garlic for thousands of years, it did not reach the Americas until the 1700s. It is believed that garlic first arrived in North America with Polish, German, and Italian settlers. While this may have been the introduction of garlic to America, it did not become wildly popular in the United States until 1989, when the Soviet Union fell. Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and around two pounds of garlic are consumed each year by the average American!
Of course, garlic is used in a variety of dishes, but some people also use it for more superstitious traditions. If you are familiar at all with the vampire, you may be aware of its weakness: garlic. European folklore passed down from generation to generation shares the story that garlic is a powerful tool against demonic and evil spirits such as vampires. The tradition is practiced by wearing garlic around one’s neck, placing it around windows, or rubbing it on open household structures such as doors and chimneys. The belief is that if you keep garlic on or within these areas, you will repel evil beings from entering your home or causing harm to you. Whether you believe in the power of garlic or not, many people and cultures, especially in the Balkan region of Europe, count on garlic to protect them—just something to keep in mind next Halloween.
Garlic has numerous health benefits supported by scientific studies, including immune system support, reductions in high blood pressure, fewer blood clots, aid in cognitive function, and many other wellness advantages that have been seen to occur. For a more extensive list of the health benefits of garlic, visit Spice World’s “Top 8 Health Benefits of Garlic” blog post.
While we may not know when the first National Garlic Day was celebrated, it acts as a day to promote the history of garlic and its strong impact on the world. On this day, people are also reminded of its incredible nutritional benefits and the delicious flavor it adds to any and all dishes. The way this holiday is celebrated varies from person to person and geographic region. Some people like to ring in National Garlic Day by cooking a traditional garlic dish, while others go all out by attending garlic festivals. Thankfully, this yearly tradition is for all garlic lovers, and there is no wrong way to celebrate!
Spice World is a major celebrator of National Garlic Day! In fact, coincidence or not, our founder, Andy Caneza, or “Pops”, was born on National Garlic Day! For a spice lover, there is no better holiday to share your birthday with than one celebrating garlic! Pops started Spice World over 70 years ago after he tasted the bold and delicious flavor of garlic while he was overseas during WW2. When he returned, he started selling garlic to a grocer, which led to him establishing an entire company dedicated to sharing the taste of garlic and other spices! Now, we share fresh garlic and other powerful products with people everywhere!
Is it really National Garlic Day if you don’t cook with garlic? To celebrate accordingly, try one of these delicious garlicky dishes for dinner. Not only will they taste great, but they are the perfect way to commemorate this special occasion.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a traditional Italian dish that originates from Naples. Its few simple ingredients allow you to taste the deep and strong flavor of garlic while not overpowering the dish. If you try cooking this meal for National Garlic Day, you may like to know that the name “Aglio e Olio” translates to “garlic and oil’ in Italian.
Bagna Cauda is another popular Italian dish with origins in the Piedmont region of Italy. It is commonly served with an assortment of vegetables that are used for a healthy and versatile meal. The three main ingredients in this recipe are garlic, olive oil, and anchovies, which make it a relatively quick and simple recipe to make on National Garlic Day.
Whether this is the first time you’ve heard of National Garlic Day or you’re a yearly celebrator, you now know all about garlic history and the best ways to take part in this incredible holiday. For more unique and flavorful garlic recipes, visit the Spice World website.
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