It was the second lesson of my Hot & Spicy cookery this evening. It was a roaring success and we are all full and content now. One of the things I notice is that almost every dish contains garlic. Here in the Northern Hemisphere garlic should have been planted by now. Plant on the longest day and harvest on the shortest day goes the old wives tale. We haven’t planted yet though as the ground is so wet I am expecting it to rot as soon as it is in the ground. We will eave it a couple more weeks and then it must go in or we miss our chance for this year.
Last year the garlic was one of our most successful crops. Whilst the blight killed everything from the potatoes family, including the expected massive crop of tomatoes, the peppers, aubergine and chillies, the garlic, and the red onions, went from strength to strength.
When we harvested in the summer we had sufficient to have fresh garlic for both of our families to last up until Christmas. We then went on the using the peeled garlic cloves which I had preserved in Olive Oil (from my friends farm in Crete – thank you Sue) and we are using that still. I just peeled the cloves and removed any bits which didn’t look 100% perfect. Packed them into glass jars which could be sealed. Topped them up with the organic extra virgin olive oil from Sue and they were ready. The pieces can now be crushed, or more like squashed, for use in stir frys, soups and stews.
A few things I have found odd when growing garlic. I don’t seem to be able to grow from the prior year crop. I have to buy seed garlic each year. Maybe they are bred to be produce infertile cloves from the first clove. The cloves were planted last year were all from the isle of Wight. This isn’t far from us and is quite famous for its garlic now. They have an annual festival with garlic fudge and garlic ice cream (just as bad as it sounds, in my opinion) as well as garlicky stir frys, sweet corn and various other street foods for sale. Worth a visit if you are can get there in August. Mungo Jerry & The Brotherhood of Man provided the entertainment last year!
On the health front Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer.
In 2007 a BBC news story reported that Allium sativum may have beneficial properties, such as preventing and fighting the common cold. This assertion has the backing of long tradition. Traditional British herbalism used garlic for hoarseness and coughs.
In 1858, Louis Pasteur observed garlic's antibacterial activity, and it was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II.
The primary compound of interest from this reaction, allicin, is generally deactivated during cooking due to its instability, and may be more beneficial consumed raw. When crushed, Garlic yields allicin, a powerful antibiotic and anti-fungal compound .
I will publish some of the recipes which our teacher has given over the coming weeks. There are all simple,delicious and healthy. Hope you enjoy them.