Garlic

Last two weeks, I harvested garlic and now it cures. This is garlic planted last October. I’d planted eight varieties so there’s porcelain white, pink and purple garlic hanging in bundles from every knob in my home. It smells great. I can’t wait to cook with it. Some of this garlic I will use for seed in October when I plant the garlic harvest of July 2012.

Les Blank three decades ago lauded garlic in his film, Garlic is as good as ten mothers. Garlic is well known as a cure for many ailments from dysentery to cancer and qualifies as a superfood.

Garlic is related to onions and has its ancient roots in central Asia. From there it spread to the east (Asian garlic) and west to Europe. Garlic has two basic types, hardneck and softneck, names that describe the stalk around which the garlic cloves form. Softneck seems to be the cultivated from the older hardneck and can have a more refined, less savory flavor.

Each garlic clove planted is essentially remembering and recreating the original mother garlic. Garlic reproduces two ancient ways: cloves clone themselves into bulbs of garlic and hardneck garlic produces flowers and seed pods called bulbils. Cloves produce bulbs in one growing year while bulbils require two years for the garlic to mature.

There’s much to do with garlic. Roasting it, and then spreading the soft cloves on fresh French bread is a real treat. Garlic appears in many recipes: garlic soup, garlic chicken, garlic bread. It adds flavor to eggs, salads, roasts and pasta.

What’s your favorite recipe using garlic?

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