The ancient Egyptians credited it with magical medicinal powers, and Roman legionnaires attributed their strength and stamina to the “stinking rose.” Garlic is one of my favourite garden crops.. quick to plant and very easy to grow, it stays buried in the ground just waiting to be pulled, dried and cooked with!
I grew garlic for the first time last year and it is one of the easiest crops I know of! I have several troughs about 3 ft long and put 7 or 8 cloves of garlic in each in around October and basically just ignore them for the next 8 or 9 months! They sit in their little homes all green and lush looking and are seemingly indestructible! It was a horrible winter last year and I lost several plants in my garden, but the garlic just kept going.
We all know how great it tastes either as a flavouring or roasted whole as an accompaniment but it is also very good for us providing allyl sulfur compounds which some scientists believe have an ability to slow or prevent the growth of some cancerous cells.
It’s worth mentioning that the smaller you chop your garlic, the stronger the flavour and the more pungent it becomes. Garlic cloves which are cooked whole are generally quite mild so can be eaten whole, whereas garlic which has been pushed through a garlic press is 10 times stronger than garlic which has been chopped with a knife! Crushing also bruises the garlic so if you want a purer flavour, chopping is by far the best option. Therefore, if you want a milder tasting dish, either add whole cloves or lightly crush with the flat of a knife. I am adding some great garlic recipes shortly as I am in the process of drying my first crop of garlic, harvested about a week ago so ready to cook with next month.
I have to say I also love the whole process of pulling the garlic and drying it.. There is something really special about garlic bulbs hung up with the long leaves just draped and drying.. the faint garlicky smell permeating the room/shed. I have learnt this year how to make a garlic plait and it’s not as hard as it sounds if you take it step by step, and is really satisfying!