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BONNIE'S GARDEN--Grow Your Own Garlic

I’m one of those people who believe that almost anything tastes better with garlic.  Well, maybe not dessert, but almost anything else.  If I try a recipe that calls for two cloves, I’ll put in three or four—I figure it’ll be twice as good then.

Allium sativum, related to onions, shallots, chives, and leeks, has a history going back 7000 years.  Garlic is native to central Asia and was widely used by ancient Egyptians, both culinarily and medicinally.  It was placed in the tombs of the pharaohs and give to the slaves who built the pyramids for stamina.

Besides being tasty, garlic is good for you.  It has been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and a good source of vitamin C, selenium, and manganese.

Garlic is easy to grow—needing only well-draining soil and sun.  To grow your own garlic, choose heads from a garden center.  Garlic from the grocery store may have been treated with sprouting inhibitors and may not be a suitable variety for our area.  Separate the head into individual cloves and plant, pointed end up, two inches deep and four inches apart in early to mid-October.

After planting, mulch well for the winter.  Remove the mulch as soon as new growth begins in the spring.  When any bloom stalks begin to show, cut them back immediately so energy will go back to the bulbs.  Garlic is ready to harvest when the tops begin to brown—but have not completely died back.  After harvesting, hang bulbs in small bunches to dry or lay on screens.  Do not wash dirt off.  After six weeks or so of curing, tops and roots can be trimmed back and dirty outer-skins removed.

Oven roasting changes the flavor of garlic dramatically--from crisp, strong and pungent to buttery soft, mild and sweet.  Try one of my favorite ways to do garlic.


Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut off ¼ to ½ inch off the top to expose the tips of the cloves.  Drizzle with olive oil and seal in foil.  Roast for 45 minutes and check to see if they are fork-tender.  Squeeze onto bread or toast or mash and mix into salad dressings.
Posted: 9/22/2014 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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