Great Garlic Recipes

| September/October 2007

Garlic. The word alone stirs the senses with memories of powerful aromas, zesty flavors and memorable, savory meals. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't enjoy this punchy allium, and you might be surprised at the range of dishes that are improved by it. Breads, sauces, appetizers and entrees ? just about everything short of cheesecake takes on a bold, flavorful taste with this versatile kitchen staple.

But garlic does more than add flavor: It's been used for food and medicinal purposes since at least 3000 B.C., renowned for its powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties. As the realm of holistic health has grown, it's now also recommended to help prevent heart disease (it can lower cholesterol and blood pressure) and even cancer. In The Green Pharmacy, James A. Duke, Ph.D., suggests garlic to treat allergies, athlete's foot, diabetes, colds, the flu and more.

You can easily enjoy the numerous benefits of garlic, for the palate and body, by growing your own this season. Fall is a terrific time to plant garlic, and come summer you'll be rewarded with large, flavor-packed heads ready for nibbling, cooking and preserving.

Garlic is simple to grow. Good soil, full sun and watering every few days are its main requirements, and garlic doesn't attract many insects ? it can even deter them from other crops! If the plant begins to flower, snip the stalk to keep growth energy directed to the bulb instead. You'll know it's time to harvest when the tops of the stalks start to brown.

Served as an appetizer, spread on bread, or mixed in mashed potatoes, one of the simplest, most useful garlic preparations is roasted garlic. These basic recipes are adapted from Growing and Using Garlic, by Glenn Andrews.

Roasted Garlic

Alicia Kelso
10/2/2007 12:00:00 AM

Re: EOlson looking for Garlic seeds/How to grow your own garlicYou don't need, or really want garlic seed, unless the stores near you don't have the kind of garlic you want. You can order online by searching on "grow garlic" to find resources.Just go to the store and get several whole, ripe heads of garlic, especially grab some that show a little green tip trying to poke through the dried skin.Break off the cloves that are sprouting, leaving the base intact where it broke from the head. Put the cloves in moist planting soil deep enough to cover the top by about a 1/4 inch, so approximately 1 inch deep. Water gently so as not to uncover the tops of the cloves when you water.These will sprout when they're ready to start a new head, sometimes in a week or two, other times in a few months -- it depends on the season and weather in your area. Planting 20 or more cloves is wise. It takes about a year for my garlic to become a full head, I noticed. If I get impatient and pick it early, it's one giant clove instead of 13-15 attached cloves.COOL NOTE: Garlic is great to plant around your garden to prevent aphids. So, I put 2 or three cloves next to each rose bush, around basil and pepper plants and I get natural protection. So, anywhere aphids are eating your bounty, put cloves 4 inches apart, surround the plant, make a border (as garlic is decorative all by itself), et cetera. It's the most inexpensive and eco-friendly way to protect your garden from bugs, gophers, maybe rabbits and possums, as well. Oh, and plant new sprouting cloves as you harvest the full grown heads, alternating so that you always have garlic at full maturity and new to maintain the protection at all times.

Elizabeth Olson
9/25/2007 12:00:00 AM

You say that garlic is easy to grow. What kinds do you recommend for baking? Where can I get some -- most of the seed companies are out of stock or are running out of stock on anything that they recommend for baking. Thanks. EOlson

D Williams
9/24/2007 12:00:00 AM

Hummus is also good with a wee bit of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil mixed in....mmmmm....

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