Garlic

Purple garlic 2

Garlic gets its name from the old English ‘gar’ meaning spear (referring to it’s spear shaped leaves) and leac from leek. So spear-leek would be the rough translation from the old English.

Botanically garlic is in the allium family making sense of the second syllable of its name, leek (leac), which along with the onion also belong to this group of pungent plants.

History

Garlic is thought not to have evolved in the wild but from cultivated Allium longicupis or Wild Garlic, which does grow naturally in central Asia.

Cultivated garlic was used in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt from at least 2000 BC.

It has been found in Egyptian tombs as an ingredient used in embalming and as an offering to the gods. The Greeks and Romans saw garlic as a food that would give strength and workmen and soldiers would use it. A documented Roman hangover cure includes 16 bulbs (not cloves) of garlic boiled in a bucket of wine, mmm lovely.

Nutrition

Garlic has been known to, ‘thin the blood’, much in the same way as fish oils. It can help in lowering blood pressure and evidence is building in its use in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Protein 8%

Starch 15%

Potassium 620mg/100g

Vitamin C 17mg /100g 

Growing

Garlic is one of my favourite herbs and has to be one of the easiest things that I have grown.
• Buy a garlic bulb (also know as head) from the supermarket, greengrocers or market and plant each individual clove about 5cm (2inches) down and 15cm (6 inches) apart.
• Garlic grows best in hot wet conditions, but try it all year round. (I have only tried in the spring digging up in the summer, but am told that it can grow all year round. 
• Ensure that the growing area is weed free.
• Garlic likes water, so if you live in a hot climate you may need to water it a fair amount. Just don’t let it dry out is the common sense approach.
• After about four months you should have some lovely strong garlic, you can tell it is ready when the foliage dies down
• Dig up with a fork to avoid damaging the bulbs..
• Does best when the soil pH is in the 6.2 to 6.8 range.

A note on growing Garlic indoors or in containers

I have tried on two occasions to grow garlic in pots indoors. On both occasions I was unsuccessful. However, I now know what I was doign wrong. The roots on a garlic plant are very fine and the plant will not grow if these are disturbed. On both occasions the containers were too small. James a good friend of mine grows his garlic purely for the shoots so this does not affect him. The shoots can be used in salads for a slightly subtle garlic flavour. I would suggest using a large (30cm. 1ft deep at least) container if you wish to grow garlic bulbs in containers. Good luck.

Drying out Garlic

After you have dug up your garlic you will need to dry it out, I find that it works best to leave it hanging up in a well ventilated room or shed for about 2 weeks. I have used garlic that has only been left to dry for a few days, it is very moist and the flavour is strong. I don’t think that it is poisonous or anything at this stage, but you do loose some of the garlic when you take the skin off.

Soya beans - Introduction Originating in Southeast Asia, these beans are an excellent source of protein and can harvested and dried, or the hairy pods boiled or steamed [...]
Rocket - Introduction Rocket is an easy-to-grow crop which adds a lovely peppery flavour to salads. The younger leaves are milder, more tender and palatable. Older leaves [...]
Parsnips - Introduction A roast dinner isn’t complete without roast parsnips – and they add a whole new dimension to stews and casseroles too. The good news [...]
Lettuce - Introduction Choose the right varieties and you can have lettuce almost all year round. There are so many types of lettuce to choose from – [...]
Patatas Bravas - Print Patatas Bravas A classic tapas dish - cubes of potato in a spicy, tomato sauce Ingredients For the sauce 3 tbsp olive oil 1 [...]
Walnut and Roasted Garlic Chickpea Pâté - Print Walnut and Roasted Garlic Chickpea Pâté Ingredients 3 cloves roasted garlic 60 g walnuts 120 g cooked chickpeas 1 tbsp lemon juice 2 tbsp [...]
Traditional piccalilli - Print Traditional Piccalilli Pot up this perfect piccalilli for presents or just save it for deli lunches of cold meats and cheeses. Ingredients 700 ml [...]
Basic tarka dhal recipe - Print Basic tarka dhal recipe Ingredients Absolutely essential ingredients 400 g red lentils 2 tsps turmeric 2 knobs unsalted butter 2 tsps cumin seeds 1 [...]
Beautiful veggie moussaka - Print Beautiful veggie moussaka “I’ve taken a classic moussaka recipe and transformed it into a veggie delight. This is hearty and delicious – you’ll love [...]
Spiced Aubergine Chutney - Print Spiced Aubergine Chutney A great aubergine chutney recipe that works well with any Indian dish as well as cold lamb, grilled chicken or smoked [...]

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.