“ Garlic, allium sativum L., is a species in the onion family Alliaceae. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, and leek. Garlic has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It has a characteristic pungent, 'hot', flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. A 'head' of garlic, the most commonly used plant part, comprises numerous discrete 'cloves'. The leaves and stems are sometimes eaten, particularly while immature and tender. Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavour, as a seasoning or condiment or to enhance other flavours. Depending on the form of cooking and the desired result, the flavor is either mellow or intense. It is often paired with onion, tomato, and/or ginger. It is very widely used in Lebanese cuisine: many Lebanese salads contain a garlic sauce. The parchment-like skin is relatively inedible, much like the skin of an onion. The skin is typically removed before cooking, though sometimes alternative approaches are used, such as slice garlic head crosswise, coat in olive oil, roast until the garlic is well cooked, and then the roasted garlic separates quite easily from the skins (by pulling it out, shaking it out, and/or squeezing it out). The term 'clove' is sometimes misinterpreted to mean the whole garlic bulb (head). „
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Garlic; One of the main weapons in the battle against vampires, one of the main ingredients in Italian cooking (in fact in any cooking really). What is it about this vegetable that makes it so special? I use garlic in most of my every day dishes, cut me and I'll bleed garlic puree, I consume so much of the stuff. I am sure there is garlic in my cat and dog repellent, because it stinks of the stuff.
== What is it? ==
Garlic is a bulb vegetable and is part of the onion family, it can grow up to 4ft in height, but the tastiest part of the vegetable is the bulb, which is underground. The bulb is often white, with a skin like that of an onion. Once you break open the bulb there are two layers of cloves; Larger cloves on the outside and smaller cloves on the inside layer. It is these cloves that you can chop up, puree, and slice, to add them into cooking or medicines. Garlic is really good for the blood and the heart and contains lots of vitamins and essentials to your body's needs e.g. Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Fibre, Zinc, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Manganese etc. Garlic has a really pungent smell and taste, similar to that of an onion, but stronger, eating too much garlic at one time can cause it to seep out of your pores (I had a dish called North Indian Garlic Chicken with Green Chillies on a Friday once, it had quite a lot of garlic in this dish, and I had showered every day, and on the Monday I went to work and my boss asked me if I had just eaten garlic).
== Growing ==
Growing this stuff is relatively easy, my garlic hasn't fully grown yet, but it is well underway. First of all you will need 1 bulb of garlic and some soil or compost. Break open the bulb and use the outer larger cloves to plant, each one of these cloves is going to yield you one bulb of garlic, so for example; say there are 12 cloves in one bulb of garlic, that's 12 bulbs of garlic that you are going to yield for the price you paid for one bulb. Plant the cloves in the soil with the pointed side facing upwards, the flat side is where the roots are going to sprout from, don't plant too deep, they only need to be a few centimeters below the surface. If you plant them in the Autumn, you should have a nice bulb ready for harvesting in around June or July. When the leaves have started to wilt, dig them out of the ground with a fork and leave to dry in the sun for a week or so, then bring them inside. They will last about 6-8 months in the house. The beauty of growing your own, is you know exactly how they are grown, you know they haven't been treated with chemicals and you have the satisfaction that you have grown your own vegetables.
== Uses ==
Garlic has many uses, warding off vampires, you can slice garlic finely and put it in stir frys, casseroles, bolognese, soups, garlic bread, pizza, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes....too many uses to mention. I like to cut the base off the bulb of garlic, wrap it in tin foil and pop it in the oven on a low heat for a couple of hours, for tasty roasted garlic. When the garlic has been roasted you can pop it in a container with some oil, and it will keep for ages....fresh roasted garlic mmmmmm.
== Price ==
Garlic is a relatively cheap vegetable, you can pick up a net of three for around about the £1 mark in most supermarkets, it won't be much over a £1 and it won't be much under either.
== Verdict ==
I use garlic everyday, so I couldn't live without this vegetable. It has a lovely aroma, and I love it, especially if I open the oven while roasting some. It is one of those smells, that you either love or hate, it is a smell that will either make you feel really ravenous or will make you lose your appetite (this all depends on how much you love garlic of course). Cheap as chips and full of health benefits, what more could your body ask for?
Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive and rakkyo. With a history of human use of over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
The ancestry of cultivated garlic is not definitively established. According to Zohary and Hopf, "A difficulty in the identification of its wild progenitor is the sterility of the cultivars", though it is thought to be descendent from the species Allium longicuspis, which grows wild in central and southwestern Asia. Allium sativum grows in the wild in areas where it has become naturalised. The "wild garlic", "crow garlic", and "field garlic" of Britain are members of the species Allium ursinum, Allium vineale, and Allium oleraceum, respectively. In North America, Allium vineale (known as "wild garlic" or "crow garlic") and Allium canadense, known as "meadow garlic" or "wild garlic" and "wild onion", are common weeds in fields. One of the best-known "garlics", the so-called elephant garlic, is actually a wild leek (Allium ampeloprasum), and not a true garlic. Single clove garlic (also called pearl or solo garlic) originated in the Yunnan province of China.
Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates. While sexual propagation of garlic is indeed possible, nearly all of the garlic in cultivation is propagated asexually, by planting individual cloves in the ground. In cold climates, cloves are planted in the fall, about six weeks before the soil freezes, and harvested in late spring. Garlic plants are usually very hardy, and are not attacked by many pests or diseases. Garlic plants are said to repel rabbits and moles. Two of the major pathogens that attack garlic are nematodes and white rot disease, which remain in the soil indefinitely after the ground has become infected. Garlic also can suffer from pink root, a typically nonfatal disease that stunts the roots and turns them pink or red.
Garlic plants can be grown closely together, leaving enough space for the bulbs to mature, and are easily grown in containers of sufficient depth. When selecting garlic for planting, it is important to pick large heads from which to separate cloves. Large cloves, along with proper spacing in the planting bed, will also improve head size. Garlic plants prefer to grow in a soil with a high organic material content, but are capable of growing in a wide range of soil conditions and pH levels.
I have recently started growing garlic myself, as I seem to use it in practically every dish I make, I got a bulb and spilt it up and put them into pots, 3 bulbs per pot, and hey presto a few weeks later the garlic sprouted, I am very pleased that my first attempt at growing garlic was a success.
I keep my garlic in a special shaped garlic terracotta pot, that has a few holes in it to allow it to breathe. I have also recently discover roasted garlic that adds a great roasted flavour to dishes such as cauliflower cheese, or home made garlic bread. It does tend to smell quite pungent though and every time I open my kitchen cupboard I am greeted with the smell.
I have a number of recipes that I use garlic in, some where the garlic is used as a subtle flavour to enhance or compliment other flavours and some where it is the star of the show. It seems to go with just about most things. The simplest recipe I use garlic in is to boil up some pasta, any sort, and then once the pasta has been drained I add a few cloves of garlic, some fresh red chilli and some parsley or coriander, with a glug of good quality olive oil, mix it altogether and serve warm with a crispy green salad.
I could go on and on about garlic, it is supposed to be good for keeping your heart healthy, which is a good thing and even though it makes you have garlic breath, I will not stop eating it, my husband and 2 year old son also love garlic, with my son particularly fond of garlic bread and the simple pasta supper, he is also quite intrigued by the garlic crusher. As I said I use garlic a lot, I also tend to mainly crush it, though I sometimes chop it into small slithers or just rub it on toast.
Overall I would recommend using and growing garlic to others, it easy to cultivate, very versatile and wards off vampires, so what's not to like unless you are one.
Both of my daughters reel back in revulsion when I suggest to them that I'm going to use garlic in a recipe, and I can feel their terrified eyes following my every move when I'm cooking. They are horrified by the idea of eating garlic - yet don't actually know what it is as I've done the classic parent thing of lying to my kids (for their own good of course, dad knows best!) and have asked them on many occasions to pass me the "baby onions". Of course, one day I will be found out and will pay for my sins but until then I can justify it by the knowledge that they are getting to eat a food that is packed full of goodness and flavour, and which has many benefits to their growing bodies. Here's some information about how I grow garlic, and what those health benefits are.
I buy a bulb of garlic from a garden centre and break this (carefully) into individual cloves. You can use a garlic bulb from a supermarket, but you don't know what variety you are getting and can't guarantee that whatever variety you have will be a successful grower. The individual cloves are then pushed an inch under the soil, root side down (that's the fat flattened off end) about 10 centimetres apart in October and then basically left until roughly 9 months later into next summer (depending on where you live, they could be ready as early as late June or if you live in Lancashire, well, we're still waiting since 2007 for summer to arrive.) Similar to onions, you'll need to pinch off the flower spikes as they appear because the bulb won't swell if the flowers are allowed to form. Leave all the other foliage in place though - this is how the plant breathes and also a good cover of foliage will help keep weeds down. If you do see weeds growing between your planted cloves, pick them out by hand so as not to disturb the roots of the growing garlic. When the garlic is nice and swollen, leave them in the soil until the foliage dies off and dries out. The bulbs can then be lifted, further dried out - we do the classic French thing of plaiting them along a string and hanging this up in our kitchen. Don't store the bulbs in a fridge - remember that we planted the garlic out in October when it starts to get cold, well this is because garlic is activated by the cold and the fridge will make the individual cloves start to sprout as you've just put the garlic into its ideal growing environment. Garlic will store for months if kept dry and at room temperature.
CARING FOR GARLIC
I've found them to be pretty robust and they don't seem to attract any pests or be prone to disease. They are a useful companion plant around carrots - the smell of the garlic leaves (and also other allium family members like onions and chives) puts off the carrot fly which can ruin a carrot crop. Just try to keep them weed free when growing and don't let them dry out in the warmer months as the bulb is making it's final attempt to swell before the plant dies.
Try not feed them with lots of nitrogen as this will just produce a lot of green leaves and not much in the way a nice fat and juicy bulb. Garlic does well with a high potash feed, but I just use plenty of homemade compost dug into the soil which is a good all round feed.
PROPERTIES OF GARLIC
Garlic can reduce blood pressure, is thought to help reduce cholesterol, reduce the chances of stomach related cancers, and keeps the blood nice and thin. Having dodgy breath the day after is, in my opinion, a small price to pay!
Feared by children and vampires, garlic can pretty much be planted and then forgotten about for 9 months when it will give us a fantastically useful and tasty reward. I'd recommend trying to grow some even if you don't have a garden - try popping a clove into a pot of compost in October and see what happens. Five stars from me, thanks for reading.
Those who know a lot about garlic will know that the bigger the bulb the weaker the flavour and this is the same for Elephant garlic. It is much bigger than regular garlic but has a much softer flavour. I love Garlic and I love growing my own, I grow both regular garlic and elephant garlic and enjoy cooking with them. Garlic has some amazing health benefits and it has been show to help cure colds and flu and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Garlic contains antioxidants that help the body fight off free radicals. You can take garlic as a supplement tablet or you can eat it. It tastes wonderful in a Bolognese or in rich pasta dish. It also tastes great pickled! Garlic has a really strong powerful scent and the flavour is oniony and potent. Most people think that elephant garlic it is going to really strong smell and in flavour as they are bigger than regular garlic bulbs, but they are very wrong. Elephant garlic is more closely related to the leak family. It is much sweeter and less pungent and I much prefer to cook with it than regular garlic as it complements flavours rather than takes over.
==Elephant garlic - history ==
Elephant garlic was discovered in 1941 by an American who found it growing wild in the gardens of an abandoned settlement called Scio in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Nicholls collected some and bred selectively from the larger bulbs. Within twelve years he established a large, very hardy, disease free strain which he started selling commercially in 1953, having registered the name 'Elephant Garlic'.
==Cultivating Garlic and Elephant Garlic==
Garlic is easy to grow but it not the most attractive of plants. Any flower buds that do grow need snipping off so that all the energy and goodness goes into the cloves underground rather than above the surface. I have mine in a small vegetable patch at the back of my garden and all you need to do is plant the cloves in good soil leaving them 1 -2 inches from the surface. They will sprout up on top and spread out underneath. All garlic is best planted by the end of November so that it forms a good root system before the winter. It will then stand at least 10 degrees of frost! Perfect for horrid English Winters! You can also plant it up to the end of February however as long it will have over an month of cold weather (less than 10 degrees C) If it does not have this cold spell, it will not form cloves and look more like an onion. The cloves are ready after the summer.
I'm not a professional gardener but I do like to experiment. Elephant garlic is quite expensive and I really enjoy the flavour so I will continue to grow it. My second ever crop will be ready in the summer and I am excited to see how they have got on!
Garlic (Allium sativum) is renowned for its health benefits, it has been found to contain strong antibiotic and antifungal properties as well as selenium and vitamin C. It is believed to benefit the heart, help treat viral infections, purify the blood, strengthen the immune system and even reduce cholesterol. An important and delicious ingredient in many savoury recipes, it is very useful to add flavour to pasta dishes and has an affinity with tomatoes and cheese. The most loved garlic recipes in my house are bolognese sauce, hummus and garlic bread.
There are two types of garlic. Hardneck bulbs are very hardy, send up central stalks called scapes in the summer (these are delicious lightly steamed) have small cloves and are best eaten fresh or within a couple of months after lifting from the ground. They are considered to have more distinctive and variable flavours. Softneck bulbs are the ones mainly used for storing, they have larger cloves, are strongly flavoured and also grow faster.
We find garlic bulbs in the supermarkets mostly packaged into bags of 3 or 4. They will usually be softneck garlic, but how long they have been stored for is not stated and the variety another mystery. It was when I first started to grow garlic I realised there are many different varieties and sub-varieties such as Rocambole, German Red, Tuscany White, Blanak and Purple Wight. They can vary in size, colour, strength and emphasis of flavour. Elephant garlic is actually a perennial leek, which is why it has a much milder flavour and an extra large bulb.
Garlic is so very easy to grow. Bulbs for planting can be obtained from garden stores or gardening websites during the spring and early autumn. Planting times differ around the country, here in Wales I usually plant mid October. Firstly I dig over my chosen plot and incorporate a good amount of wood ash. I've found garlic really benefits from potash or wood ash added to the soil at planting and again in early spring. I grow garlic mostly in open plots in my vegetable garden but have successfully grown it in pots, narrow tubs and amongst perennials in small borders. The tall and thin plants take up very little space, planting distance is roughly 15cm apart. I plant each clove (root downwards) 7cm into the soil and lightly cover. Frost and harsh winter weather conditions are not a problem to garlic, but plants do like plenty of sun during the spring and summer.
In February shoots appear and from spring onwards the plot needs occasional weeding. I have been growing garlic plants for several years now and rarely have to worry about them, they seem untroubled by viruses and pests. During June flower buds appear amongst the tall leaves, these need to be removed as they reduce the size of the bulb. A few weeks later when the leaves begin to die down I start lifting bulbs to use when required.
Fresh garlic (also called wet garlic) is loved by everyone in our family, it has a milder and sweeter taste and not something you can buy in the shops, at least I have never seen it. At the end of the summer I pull up the remaining bulbs and dry for storing in an airy and warmish place, we then continue to use it through the winter. From my experience, garlic is extremely straightforward to grow and the result is a good supply for many months.
On the downside there is, of course, the pungent smell which can linger on your breath for hours after eating it. I've found that fresh and recently stored garlic has much less effect this way and is gentler on the stomach too. Food containing garlic can create problems when stored near other food in the fridge so I place any leftovers in a tightly sealed container. Bulbs are stored in an open pot on the side in my kitchen as it is not a good idea to keep garlic cloves in the fridge because they tend to sprout. The inner sprouting part of a clove can taste bitter but this can easily be removed before crushing or chopping.
In my view garlic is worth its pungent drawback, it is a very useful cooking ingredient, full of health benefits and requires little effort or space to grow. If you don't already grow it and have a spare sunny spot in your garden or outside, I highly recommend you consider it.
Thank you for reading my review!
© Lunaria 2012
Garlic can be something of an acquired taste. It has a strong flavour, not dissimilar to onion. It has been widely used in continental cookery for centuries but has been a more recent introduction in the English diet. Eating it can result in the breath becoming smell. The smell can also be released in sweat. Some people believe that parsley will counteract the effect of that smell.
It is believed to have a great many health benefits. One of these is lowering cholesterol. It is also know to have antiseptic qualities and could possibly act as an expectorant.
Garlic is widely available and relatively cheap to purchase. It cost around 30p for one bulb which will keep for many months in the correct conditions.
If you have a garden it is also very simple to grow. There is no need to purchase anything special, just split a bulb you bought in the supermarket and plant the cloves, pointy end up just below the surface of the soil. You can plant and harvest it throughout the year and ensure yourself an endless supply.
It can be used in a wide variety of savoury dishes and will compliment almost any meat or vegetable. It is easily preserved either by drying, freezing, or storing in oil.
In short it is an extremely versatile and useful herb.
Garlic is undoubtedly the base ingredient to many meals, simply for its lovely flavour and versatility. You dont even have to buy garlic bulbs specifically for planting - at a push you can use the bog standard ones you find in the supermarket. All you do it take each clove and place it upright, in a hole, about 2 cm down. After a couple of weeks you should see a sprout appearing above ground. It grows much like an onion, and when the green top dies back and turns sort of brown its time to harvest. By this point the clove will have grown and seperated into a whole bulb, and will keep for months in your fridge. You don't need much space at all, they are to be planted about 15 cm apart, and since they are fairly shallow rooted, they can be grown in pots. It goes without saying that the more you water it, and the longer you leave it in the ground, the bigger your clove will be.
What to say about something so "regular", something so "casual", something that we take for granted... It's garlic, it's a thing we use for seasoning...
Well first thing that has to be said is that I feel that as we, as a civilization prosper we take to many things for granted and use them because they are used by others or because it's the legacy of our mothers not really knowing what else, except the obvious culinary uses things have... Garlic in that aspect is one of the most "over-looked", underrated plants there are. I do not mean that everybody didn't do their homework on garlic, but as I have talked to many friends most didn't have a clue.
But let's take things one step at a time...
As you probably know, garlic is a close relative to the onion. If you are lucky enough and have a chance to plant it, you will know that doing that is easy and that garlic is far from a demanding plant. You have to plant the cloves and water them here and there. Pests will stay away from garlic so you don't have to worry about that. Once the plant is fully grown you pluck it out of the ground, clean it and store it in a dry area - it won't rot and you will be able to use it for a long time.
If you can't plant it you can naturally get it in the stores, good thing about garlic is that it is relatively cheap.
It's main purpose these days is in cooking, you can add to almost every dish possible. It does not only add a strong taste to dishes it also enhances all other tastes in dish, one clove of garlic can change a dish from bland to delicious. I can't imagine my green salads without garlic.
Fish tastes the best with some garlic and parsley sauce.
There is a downside to garlic, especially raw, in dishes though... You will really have a bad breath. I personally do not think garlic really has that strong of a stench but OK. I remember prime minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to ban garlic use in Italy because of the bad breath... Can you imagine Italian food without it (pizza does not count)? This stench can be a nuisance for sure, especially if you are on a date but there is a trick to it. If you eat garlic all you have to do is eat some parsley after it, it neutralizes the smell.
The smell... Things to eat that have a great smell to them usually are not the most healthy ones (candy, candy, candy), food that is not pleasant to the eye or nose usually is healthy. Garlic fits that perfectly. There are many "mights" when it comes with garlic but there is also a lot of facts. Fact is, that garlic is a natural antibiotic, antiviral and anti fungal. It has been used as medicine for centuries. Eating it in normal quantities will keep you healthier, it will take care of milder infections and keep your immune system fit and ready. Whenever I have a cold I tend to eat a bit more of garlic and it does make me feel better.
Fact is, that garlic is good with heart diseases since it lowers blood pressure. I can confirm that it lowers it... I have a low blood pressure. Whenever I "overdose" with garlic (which I can do easily since I love it), I am lightheaded and loose even the little pressure I have.
It is supposed to help you get rid of intestinal parasites (tapeworm and such), gladly I can't confirm that, since I never had such problems.
It is supposed to help lower cholesterol levels in blood... I had elevated cholesterol at some stressful period and I did eat garlic, the cholesterol levels have dropped but they also could have dropped because I was not stressed anymore.
Some say it also regulates blood sugar.
I have recently read that there are indications that it can prevent, or better put lessen the chance, of some cancers.
It will most certainly make you feel better, it will help with the digestion.
This little plant is under "surveillance" by the scientists constantly and new and new studies come out frequently to show that garlic is helpful in many diseases and conditions. If you will go to the store and check the food supplements department, you will see that apart from cranberry (which is also one amazing plant) garlic probably dominates.
Garlic should not be taken for granted, it is a marvelous plant for you... Well unless you are garlic intolerant, then thank you for the read anyway.
Garlic such an interesting herb (yes it really is a herb despite belonging to the onion family), that I've even got a book that's just about garlic and how wonderful it is.
Garlic is such a useful thing to have around and it tastes fantastic too. It's incredibly good for you and has lots of medicinal purposes, has been around forever (known to have been in existence and in use by us since we were living in caves!).
~*~A Brief History of Garlic~*~
I'm not going to describe how it came to be or anything boring like that, but did you know that it was given to Slaves in Egypt to help boost their strength when they were building the famous pyramids? It was. The Romans and Greeks used it medicinally as a way to ward off all sorts of things from colds and ear infections to cancer, leprosy and heart attacks, and in some cases they also used it decoratively as charms against things too.
Strangely despite its popularity way back in history, it then hit a period where it was seen as something that the upper echelons wouldn't touch as it was smelly and only fit for the lower classes to eat - that was, unless they were ill or had an infection when it was considered ok to use it still.
~*~Growing it or buying it?~*~
If you pick the right sort of garlic it's not too hard to grow in the garden at home. You can find it for sale in most garden centres, but it's no different really from what you buy in the supermarket and you need to separate each bulb into individual cloves and then plant these. It has a long growing season so you can plant it anywhere between late autumn and early spring, and in the spring you'll have garlic growing. Keep the soil moist but don't let it get too soggy, and weed it, but other than this you don't really have to do too much to garlic. When it starts to die back, dig it up, and let it finish drying in the sun. Plait the leaves together for a traditional way of keeping this, and you'll have a ready supply of garlic for a few months at least.
Buying garlic is fine if you don't have a garden or green fingers, and because garlic keeps so well it doesn't lose lots of nutrients in the process of being stored prior to being sold so you don't need to worry about this.
~*~Cooking with Garlic~*~
My very favourite way to eat garlic is roasted in a little olive oil in the oven with lots of other veggies. It doesn't have a strong flavour like it does raw, and goes all soft and delicious to eat.
I use garlic in most of my cooking as I think it helps add flavour to a lot of things. Stuffed into the breast of a chicken to roast is good, as is chopped into many dishes from chilli to bolognaise to all sorts of chicken and beef dishes.
I even like my garlic raw in salads, but you do need to use other salad veggies with a strong flavour if you do this as delicate flavours will tend to be overpowered by the strength of garlic.
~*~Drying & Other storage methods~*~
I own a dehydrator, and so along with a variety of other fruits, veggies and herbs, I sometimes dry my garlic. I slice it thinly first and then dry it, and either leave it as flakes or powder it. It keeps virtually forever this way too and is always on hand for use in cooking.
Garlic can be pickled and smoked, and also stored in oil too. The oil stored garlic is still good to use, and the oil also develops a lovely garlicky flavour which is great for a subtle hint in some more delicate dishes.
Garlic has a lot of really useful health properties. It can be mixed with honey as a cough mixture, and eaten in any format it's great to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It works best when it's crushed or chopped so sadly eaten whole and roasted in my favourite way it doesn't do as much good.
Garlic contains Allicin which is a natural antioxidant, and can help slow the ageing process. It is mildly anti-bacterial (about 1% of the potency of penicillin), but can help ward off all sorts of things and the body doesn't develop a resistance to the properties of garlic as it does with some things.
One clove a day is ideal for overall general health, but if someone in the house has a cold, then increasing to 2-3 cloves a day will help prevent you from catching it. The less you cook it the more useful to your body garlic is, and you should always be careful of taking garlic supplements as they can interact with certain prescribed drugs.
~*~My Final Thoughts~*~
With garlic being so easy to grow, easy to buy in the shops, and easy to use I do wonder why so many people are put off using it. Many people worry about getting garlic breath, but if you want to share an evening with your partner and still enjoy garlic, just serve it up for both of you and then they'll never even notice ;)
Growing up my mum was always very health conscience and drummed into us all the qualities and health benefits of fresh foods. She is a huge fan of vegetables especially chilli, garlic & onions aswell as spices anything pungent and strong tasting she couldn't help herself. Being brought up in such an environment made me very conscious and interested in food and it would come as no surprise that I love garlic.
It's not just the taste of garlic but also the health benefits that makes me love this vegetable. It's great for keeping your heart and cardiovascular system healthy and also helps to strengthen your immune system.
The reason garlic is so healthy for your heart is because it contains the amino acid arginine. Arginine is a powerful antioxidant that improves blood circulation, it does so by helping to relax blood vessels. Anyone suffering from varicose veins or hypertension should seriously look into ways of improving there blood circulation through such means but please don't forget before taking garlic or any other supplement consult your doctor first!
Another component to garlic that makes it so great for your health is because it contains sulphides; these elements help lower blood lipids (insoluble fats) and blood pressure as it stops the platelets from clumping together like an aspirin does, helping to thin the blood. Meaning it can help lower levels of bad cholesterol, the type that deposits in your arteries as fat, in the blood.
If you enjoy garlic like me but are put off eating it because of the dreaded garlic breath don't worry there are ways you can help combat it. You can try eating fresh parsley to deaden the smell in the mouth but it won't be a permanent solution for the garlic smell as it goes into your bloodstream a few hours later. When you're sensing the garlic's return you can either have a hot shower and sweat out the garlic smell or sit in a sauna, the saunas abit drastic but at least you'll have clean pores at the end of it! If no parsley is at hand after eating garlic and you're eating out with friends carry mints for the easiest masking, as it can help to alter the smell of the sulfides causing the bad breath. If you really are experiencing the worst case scenario and have no mints or parsley then after eating the meal order a cold dessert or drink anything even cold water as warmer temperatures only bring out the worse in a garlic breath. Hope this helps and thanks for reading!
Garlic is one of the herbs that you will always find in my kitchen. I always keep a few cloves next to the onions and potatoes in a wicker basket under the sink.
~~~What I use it for~~~
One of my favourite recipes that involves this precious herb is a simple pasta sauce...
In a juicer/smoothy maker wisk the following:
1 tin of (400gm) plum or chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion chopped
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oragano
I used to use the Dolmio's sauce, but since I discoved this, I've stopped buying it and save so much as this only costs a fraction of the price and tastes to much better!
Here's another firm favourite:
take two large dollops of maragarine and mix into it the following:
1 tsp oragano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic paste (
spead the mixture onto any type of bread you like and toast for a delicious result every time!
Don't forger to freshen your breath after...
okay, now the nitty gritty part...
There are two obvious ways to obtain garlic, you can either purchase it or grow your own. The method I prefer is to just buy it. I can't really be bothered with the hassle of growing and maintaing it, it would defeat the purpose of convienient cooking. Anyway I usually buy it from an indian grocery store rather then the supermarket as I find it to be much cheaper. It comes in a long, netted sock-shaped package, at a price of aproximately £1.10 for 12 bulbs. If you don't need so such, you can also buy it loose.
My mother, on the other hand grows her own. She has a nice sunny patch of soil in her garden that faces direct sunlight but it's too dry. There's nothing too complicated to it, she just presses in a few left-over coves of garlic with the skin still on and lets nature get on with it. a few weeks later, greenish stalks start to sprout all over the soil and when they turn yellowish, you can remove some soil and find full bulbs of garlic.
A more sophisticated method of growing your own garlic, would probably be buying speciality bulbs from garden centres and watering them with all kinds of treatments. and giving your plants lots of care and attention.
However if I ever do decide to grow my own garlic, I would probably, choose my mums way of doing it. I only hope I be as lucky with finding the right spot in my garden.
~~~A few things I've heard about garlic~~~
The second oldest medicine in the world.
Believed to cure heart disease and maybe even cancer.
Medicinal prescriptions, involving garlic, were found chiseled into a clay Sumerian tablet that was more than 3,000 years old.
~~~My thoughts on garlic~~~
I love this herb and one day hope to grow it myself at home. In the meantime I'll stick to buying it from my local indian grocerers.
Garlic is a bulbous perennial or biennial herb known to contain anti-bacterial properties. You either love it or hate it but whichever way we sway there is no denying that it is the most widely used herb in the world. Did you know that the Brits now use more garlic than the French? And most of our garlic is produced in the Isle of White.
A garlic bulb, or head of garlic, consists of between 9 and 20 cloves; it is native to central Asia where it grows wild in abundance. Garlic also grows wild in the UK but these bulbs are too small to be used in cookery. Garlic is a member of the lily family and is a relative of chives and onions too. Garlic bulbs grow below the ground in well drained rich soil, the leaves can grow to between 1 and 3 foot tall. Clumps of densely packed white flowers appear in July and are followed by small bulbs; these can also be used in cookery. Garlic should be stored in a cool dark place ideally as it sprouts quite easily.
There are many folk tales associated with garlic; Dracula knew only too well that it was his only protection. One poor chap with a vampire phobia died in 1973 after inhaling a clove of garlic in his sleep, he slept surrounded by garlic to ironically save himself from being attacked by vampires in the night.
It was believed that if you held a clove of garlic in your hand it cured toothache.
It was also believed that by putting a necklace of garlic around children's necks it would get rid of worms.
Garlic does without doubt help many ailments and is particularly good for reducing blood sugar levels.
Garlic is an expectorant and therefore is said to be excellent at treating catarrh, bronchitis and asthma. I would however find it extremely difficult to swallow the garlic syrup recommended, which is probably why it's a not so common cure for the cold.
It is a carminative which helps release air in the body, handy if you're feeling bloated.
It is also a diuretic; it's also supposed to be good for the thyroid gland it's said to increases energy levels.
It is a well-known fact that Garlic has anti-bacterial agents. In World War 1, with a seriously deficient supply of antiseptics, many operations were performed using garlic juice on moss swabs to stop infections occurring.
I have always grown garlic along side my roses as it makes the roses smell stronger probably a reaction triggered by their reeking competitors! Garlic will also make blackspots disappear on the leaves and acts as a repellent to black and greenfly. Garlic is a wonderful addition to a vegetable plot and will make your carrots and other root vegetables thrive.
If you crush garlic and soak in water it also makes a wonderful natural pesticide against onion-fly, anyone who grows raspberries or grapes will appreciate this. It also kills mosquitoes, flies and aphids that is, if you can tolerate the smell. I wouldn't fancy garlicky raspberries. If you do fancy trying this, take 2 to 3 large cloves of garlic, crush and heat gently for 10 minutes in a pint of water, do not boil, cool then use to spray your plants.
I remember reading, about 20 years ago, that a farmer in Japan had produced a strain of Garlic that was odourless. I was quite excited at the time, no more smelly breath, but nothing else seems to have come out of it. It was going to revolutionise the garlic market. If you are a garlic lover and live with a hater, may I suggest a so called remedy to make your partner happy? Apparently if you chew parsley before a meal it stops you smelling afterwards. I have tried this but even though I was told my breath smelt OK the garlic found its way out through my pores and I ended up smelling garlicky all over. Another way to alleviate your bad breath is to swallow a whole clove before your food, I haven't tried this one funny enough.
A favourite of our family is garlic beans. It is very quick, delicious and livens up a simple meal.
Cook some fine green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes. Whilst they are cooking take 3 or 4 garlic cloves, slice finely and gently fry in butter until they are a light golden colour. Strain the beans and toss in the garlic butter, Heaven.
And I leave you in the words of Shakespeare
'And, most dear actors, eat no onions or garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath.'
Having just converted a segment of lawn to veg bed late last spring, in a moment of grow-your-own enthusiasm we stuck in some garlic to see what would happen. I wasn't expecting much as we planted shop-bought garlic intended for culinary purposes, using individual cloves separated out from a bulb we purchased at Tescos' that we had in our fridge .
Apparently, as I now know, you should plant garlic in the autumn, as all accepted wisdom states that the plants require to be subjected to the cold temperatures of winter to 'activate' them into growth the following spring. I didn't know this, but fortunately our spring-planted garlic was kick-started into growth anyway - probably by having spent a couple of weeks in the veg crisper in our refridgerator.
The first green shoots appeared within a week of planting, and the plants were soon sprouting more leaves and had grown to a foot and a half tall. By the end of July most of the plants had started putting up flower stalks, which is apparently the time when the garlic should be harvested. As our garlic had had such a short growing time, I was doubtful that we would get much retun on our 'crop' but each clove, even in the short time it'd been in the ground, had divided into a small, but perfectly formed individual garlic bulb!
Our home-grown garlic cloves are admittedly quite small but are definitely worthwhile - we haven't enough of a crop to need to dry the bulbs out for long-term storage, and at present each clove is covered in a very pretty, rosy-pink skin. They are nice and juicy and the taste is exactly like 'normal' garlic.
Some grow-your-own experts on the internet tell you that for planting, you have to buy garlic intended for cultivation from a garden centre - but in my limited experience, supermarket-bought culinary garlic works quite well as well. Even with a short growing period we got a perhaps five to six fold 'return' - in terms of individual garlic cloves multiplying into bulbs - and I think with autumn-planted garlic this would be even better. The plants themselves take up very little space and don't seem vulnerable to attack by garden pests (namely, in our plot, slugs and snails), so if you like eating garlic and have even a small amount of space available to grow it, this is an excellent plant to have in your garden!
You either love or hate the smell and taste of this wonderful white bulb.
Having lived two years in Italy garlic was part of my daily diet, be it in home made tomato sauce, as garlic and herb focaccia or the delicious garlic chicken that still hunts me in my dreams. I could probably eat pure garlic and have to agree with Jamie Oliver 'the more the better'!
Garlic is part of the same family as onions, chives and leeks. A native to central Asia and was used in China and Egypt as a spice and medicine long before it was known in Europe.
The bulb grows underground and consists of around 20 cloves. The cloves must be peeled and can than be used to cook the most diverse dishes - a cuisine without garlic is no cuisine!
Garlic is the nature's aspirin. The oil allicin which can be found in any garlic type works as an anti-coagulant - meaning that it helps the blood flow and reducing high blood pressure.
Allicin is also an antibacterial and garlic i soften used to colds, that's something my grandma told me over and over again when I was young.
Garlic is also said to have a positive influence on the rate at which the body expels cholesterol thus being good for you if you suffer from high cholesterol levels or any circulatory problems and heart diseases.
To receive these benefits you can either eat raw garlic, take garlic supplements or do what I do, use garlic as often as possible when cooking!
Please note that these are the health benefits that you can experience when using garlic, however garlic is not a substitute for your normal medicine!
How to grow your own garlic
I normally kill everything that is green and has the unlucky fate to end up on my window sill; basil lasts for 3 days, stronger plants like rosemary maybe survive for two weeks but that's normally the maximum. I never planted anything till my cooking god Jamie Oliver told me (unfortunately not in person but via TV) that everyone, very everyone can grow garlic.
Chose a nice and sunny place in your garden, the soil shouldn't be too moist. Plant the single cloves roughly 10 inch apart from each other - plant them 1 inch under the surface. Don't try to plant a whole bulb (I'm not speaking from experience here :-) ) but the single cloves. From one clove you'll get a new bulb with 15 to 12 cloves - do the maths and you'll see that you can end up with a garden full of garlic withing a few years time if you want.
The best time when to plant garlic is in late autumn or early winter. In warmer regions garlic can be planted in spring as well but let's face it, the UK will never be considered a 'warm' region.
Plant your garlic before the first big frost. If it's a very harsh winter and if you don't want to take any chances cover the patch where you planted the garlic with straw throughout the winter.
You should see the first results in early spring; I could see the first tiny shoots in late march and you cannot imagine how happy I was!
You know that you can finally harvest your own garlic when its leaves start to get brown. I always find this description a bit random but that seems to bet he only help you get. After harvesting your garlic store them in a dry place to dry. After 2 weeks it should be dry and you can brush the remaining dirt of - don't wash!
My favourite garlic recipes
Garlic can be eaten raw, chopped to small pieces or thin slices or crushed. I prefer the chopped version as I think it is tastier than crushed. I just like the big garlic bits in my pasta sauce!
Garlic, Tomato & Rocket Pasta
* 600g Pasta of your choice
* 10 garlic cloves, chopped
* 100g dried tomato, chopped
* 150g fresh rocket, cut in small slices
* Olive oil
This recipe is very easy and quick. Good ingredients will make it a light and refreshing pasta dish for summer evenings.
* Cook the pasta al dente
* Chop and slice all the ingredients
* Heat plenty of olive oil - the better the quality the better the taste
* add the garlic and the tomatoes
* simmer for a few seconds - don't fry them!
* add the cooked pasta and the rocket, mix well
* Serve with Parmesan slices on top
Wild Garlic Butter
* 200g of soft butter (room temperature)
* 4 cloves of garlic,
* 10 leaves of wild garlic
* Juice of one lime or 1/2 lemon
* Zest of lime or lemon
* Blend both garlic types with the lemon juice and zests in a blender
* Add butter and blend for a few seconds
* Store in fridge till the butter is chilled
This homemade garlic butter is far better than anything you can buy in a shop and a perfect topping for steaks or baguettes.
The extra is the wild garlic which adds this little special touch to your butter.
The garlic and the onions give a great taste to the normal and boring roasted potatoes and can easily be taken out before serving the potatoes. I'd actually let them stay in the bowl because the whole mix looks so great and tasty.
* 10 big potatoes
* 2 bulbs of garlic
* 3 red onions
* fresh rosemary
* Sea salt
* Olive oil
* balsamic vinegar
* Quarter the potatoes and onion
* Cut the garlic bulbs horizontal in half and crush them a bit
* Mix the potatoes, onions, garlic bulbs and the rosemary twigs in a oven bowl
* add lots of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
* top with the salt
* roast in the oven and stir every 10min till evenly brown
Last night I had some guests over for dinner and for the hundredth time someone complimented on the small home grown dried braid of garlic, thyme and red-chilli I keep hung in my kitchen as a reminder of my last years hard effort at gardening. Not surprisingly they were the only plants that were left untouched by the slugs and snails which ran riot in my vegetable patch when I was away for a few days.. hmm mustn't forget to herb/spice up the garden this year too.
A little bit on the History :
Garlic is native to central Asia, but its use spread across the world more than 5000 years ago. It was worshipped by the Egyptians and fed to workers building the Great Pyramid at Giza, about 2600 BC. Greek athletes ate it to build their strength. Garlic came to the Western Hemisphere with some of the first European explorers, and as we can see it became popular quickly. While I am writing this my mind keeps drifting back to one of the Carry-on series ...lol..
Garlic is a member of Alliacea or the onion familly , with a term Allium sativum, and was named speared leek ' gaerleac ' by the Germans as its shoot has a close resemblance to leek too, a skinnier version perhaps.I think garlic is a modified version of the same name.
China is the world's largest producer of garlic.
Tips on planting:
~~Getting the soil ready~~
Garlic loves loads of organic material in the soil , so a rich mixture of loam is ideal for garlic. The soil shouldn't be too heavy as is true for most bulbs, so its best to add a bit of grit to any heavy soil before planting for easy drainage. Garlic doesn't like standing in puddles so good drained soil is an important criteria while preparing the area, waterlogging also rots the bulb over winter.
The area chosen should receive full sun for most part of the day. I often add a top coat of wood mulching once the cloves are in..its looks really nice.
~~Planting and harvesting time~~
There is a saying that garlic are best planted on the years shortest day and harvested in the longest. So roughly its best to plant just before the grown starts to freeze thereby giving the root-system ample time to develop properly before the ground freezes, say uptill November beginning . Again you can harvest whenever the summer heat kills of the green shoots, roughly from June end to early august.
The easiest way to go about obtaining garlic seeds in the UK is to just break up a healthy large garlic bulb into its cloves making sure that the base(stem disc ) is free of any fungus(green powdery coating) , you could also dust it with a brushing of Sulphur powder to be extra sure . This is the cheapest source to seed-garlic.. Garden centers and nurseries do sell quality seed garlic with their winter/spring bulbs too. The third way would be is to use the seeds produced at the tip of the plants of the last years crop , if you grew and stored any. The fatter the cloves the better the end product you will harvest, so just stick to cloves over 1cm in thickness .
Plant in well prepared area about 2 inches deep and leaving a gap of 6 inches from the next clove on all sides. Care should be taken that the pointed tip is towards the top while planting. Water the area just after planting and withhold any more watering unless it is very hot and the land gets parched , till the shoots start poking out of the ground.
Can be grown in containers. Plant one clove each in a 9cm large pot containing a reliable compost mix , water lightly and place it on a sunny window sill.
~~Pest and diseases ~~
Aha !! bye bye slugs and green flies. Only pulled up occasionally by curious pesky birds once they have started growing. Sometimes attacked by white onion rot, causing the stems to wilt prematurely and the symptom appears in the form of white fluff. Its best to dig up and incinerate the affected plants.
~~ Care ~~
Garlic needs very little after care , just a bit of watering in long dry spells , arduous weeding and a little initial feeding with general purspose fertilizers particulary around spring (march through may ) .The greener your plants the fatter your bulbs is your motto here.
Like I have mentioned above , in the height of summer when the tops start to yellow just lift up the fully formed bulbs gently with a fork . The they should be left in a dry place(possibly in the shed ) out of moisture/sudden rain to dry up completely . The cloves can be eaten in dishes or left braided in bundles.
If the summer is a damp/wet one and the plants have strted yellowing but haven't fully browned..it would be necessary to pull out a bulb and assess if the bulbs are ready to harvest. At tis stage if the outer papery sheath on the bulb are three-layered the bulbs are ready to harvest and should be pulled out without delay... if the crop is not harvested at this time , the bulbs tend to get diseased quickly in the damp soil.
** Garlic like other bulbs tend to spring up again in the same spot the nest year(as a sentiment I have left a little patch in my garden where my mum first planted some garlic some 3 years back) , but like with most crops its best to change the place where you want to grow them every year(sort of crop rotation) otherwise those minerals that garlic use from the soil alone will get depleted otherwise.
Eaten for strength and vitality . Is a well known aphrodisiac... be sure to fore warn your partner .
Shots can be eaten as onion greens in stir-fries.
Widely used to flavour curries and other dishes .
The oil obtained by broiling crushed garlic cloves in hot oil , when rubbed on the feet and chest of people with cheasty cough ..serves as a powerful expectorant ... provided one can live with the pong, I have often used this on my little one who often suffers from cold and coughs.
There are endless uses really , but these were the only 4 I could think of.
Advantages of growing garlic:
Even if you are a beginner you simply can't go wrong with this as garlic is a very easy plant to grow.
When planted interspersed between roses and other shrubs that are likely to be attacked by green/black flies(which further lead to fungal infection) ... they deter these pests.
They tend to grow back in the same spot every year from damaged/broken bits of those cloves that remain in the soil .
They take up very little space in the garden , the arial bit being an upright and neat single shoot with slim leaves.
You get a very smart looking patch of plants.
They are not attacked by slugs and snails.
It requires very little care or even watering.
Wet garlic, ie that has come straight out of the soil and the outer sheaths are yet to dry are not only sweeter but less pungent than the dry ones so you can enjoy these.
You could just poke cloves that start getting green shoots into the soil and have new plants from it.
As they are one of the crops that grow in winter it is a good way of using garden/allotment space when nothing else much would be growing, thus adding the much needed green to the otherwise brown and grey.
Though perishable their shelf life is about a year long..well how many other plant produce can you keep stored that long. They look so pretty braided alone or with dried chilies and herbs.
You get around 15-20 cloves by growing just one clove.