WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF GARLIC?
The main ingredient, Allicin provides the following benefits.
- Anti-oxidant properties
Nutrients in this spice include:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
It really is like a vitamin pill in a spice. However, the best way to reap the benefits is to eat it raw. Especially if you are using it as a medicine. I find garlic tasty raw but I also love to cook with gourmet garlic.
To make your garlic experience even better why not experiment with growing your own? It is very easy to grow and the taste of home grown is awesome. Furthermore, you have the assurance of no nasty chemicals in the growing process and that’s always a plus.
It is also good to know that your garlic is the freshest possible. Along with having the choice of variety that best suits your taste.
For the more adventurous growers who want to grow to sell, it is often dubbed the “mortgage lifter.”
WHAT IS THE ISSUE WITH COMMERCIAL GARLIC?
On the negative side buying commercial produce you will find about half of this product comes from China where their farming rules (and oversight) are less stringent than our own. Europe does not, as of this writing, accept imported Chinese Garlic but the U.S., Canada, and Australia do. Potential problems with foreign garlic include bleaching with chlorine, sanitizing with Methyl Bromide, food irradiation, etc.
The three main types of gourmet garlic
They are all in the hardneck category:
Elephant garlic is reported to not be a garlic. It is more from the leek family but has a mild garlic flavor. I have included this one as it tolerates a wide range of soil and weather conditions. It is often considered a hard to lose crop if planted in good soil.
The superior flavor of all these types will enhance your cooking and cause you to never want to go back to ordinary garlic again.
All the hardneck has a shorter storage life than softneck. Softneck varieties are sold in the supermarkets due to their longer storage and mild flavor.
Hardneck garlic will provide scapes that are a tasty addition to stir fries in particular. The scapes will be ready to pick early summer.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE DIFFERENT TYPES
Rocambole will produce a deep, rich sweet flavor. It is hot to taste but not overbearing. Each crop will produce a different flavor and this is a guide only as to the flavor. The gloves are both blunt tipped and plump. An easy to peel garlic. The bulb itself is an off white with a few purple stripes with a thin skin. They have a storage life of 2-4 months.
The scapes on Rocambole are a distinct double loop.
In general, Purplestripe tends to be vividly striped with purplish vertical stripes decorating the bulb wrappers. Further, between the purple stripes, their bulb wrappers are generally very white and thick. Often the color is affected by growing conditions and weather conditions. They tend to be rich in flavor and not overly hot, though some are milder, and store fairly well.
Standard Purple Stripe makes the sweetest baking of all.
All Purple Stripe have greatly elongated clove tips and that can be very helpful in identifying Purple Stripes.
In particular all Purple Stripe have extremely long clove cover tips that stick up three inches or more above and up the hardneck. No other variety has such clove cover tips. Another way to identify is the scapes. The scapes that Purplestripe form are 3/4 loop.
With bulb wrappers that tend to be very thick and parchment-like that cover tightly their few but very large cloves, makes these very attractive. As a result, they can often look more like a sculpting than something you eat.
In general, porcelains produce four to eight large, fat cloves per bulb. As a result, it is especially favored by the foodies. In addition, this type is very richly flavored garlic with an earthy muskiness.
Porcelain is the best for medicinal growing, especially the hotter ones.
The scapes that they produce in the spring coil in all sorts of ways before the scapes straighten and become vertical.
HOW TO GROW THIS FABULOUS PLANT
It grows well in beds or containers and this makes it a very easy plant to find a place to grow. Generally speaking, it is only a matter of using some good organic soil and a sunny spot.
Please check with your local organic nursery for the best-suited garlic for growing in your particular area. Some are not partial to mild winters.
WHAT TO PLANT WITH GARLIC?
This plant is not particular when it comes to other plants around. In fact, it helps the plants listed below grow better. Consequently, you are safe to plant with any of the plants on the list below.
- Fruit trees (all)
Worst Companion Plants
Avoid planting garlic near the vegetables listed below.