Garlic is encased in a bulb protected by layers of skin. Garlic is often referred to as the "stinking rose" and can actually be used in the garden as insect repellent. GIlroy, California is known as the commercial garlic capital of the world. Garlic has been used in a variety of cultures, and has even been found in king tutankhamen's tomb. Garlic can be used cooked or raw, though raw garlic has a stronger flavor. Crushing the garlic bring out the assertive flavor of garlic even more. Roasting garlic will enhance the subtle sweetness that garlic has.
- Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
- Manganese contributes to healthy bones
How to Shop
Seasonal garlic can be bought from mid-summer through early fall. You can pick up the bulb and give it a light squeeze. if the outside cloves seem to dry or soft then it is not fresh. it should feel firm and not hollow or dehydrated. If the garlic is sprouting as well, it means that it is old.
How to Grow
Garlic is most often planted in the fall between September and November. Garlic roots develop during the fall and winter before the ground freezes and start producing foliage by early spring. An area that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight a day is ideal. By getting cloves from a mail order or from a local nursery, not from the grocery store. This ensures the correct kind for planting. Select large healthy cloves free of disease. the larger the clove, the bigger the bulb will get the following summer. Break apart cloves from the bulb a few days before planting, but keeping a husk on each clove. place cloves 2-4 inches apart and 2 inches deep in an upright position. Plant in rows spaced 10-14 inches apart.
Harvest: Look for yellow foliage. Harvest when the tops just begin to yellow and fall over but before they are completely dry. carefully dig up the bulbs using a garden fork. Avoid damaging the roots. Carefully brush off surplus soil and do not remove any foliage or roots before putting them to dry thoroughly. Let them cure in an airy, shady, dry spot for two weeks. Then it should be totally dry and ready to store.
How to Store
Garlic bulbs are ready to store when the wrappers are dry and papery and the roots are dry. The root crown should be hard and the cloves can be cracked apart easily. Trim off any roots or leaves, and keep the wrappers on. Remove the tops and roots. Bulbs should be stored in a cool dark and dry place and can be kept for several months. The flavor will increase as the bulbs are dried.